The Ring Road Wall: An Israeli Perspective
Every year at UC Irvine, our beautiful campus receives its annual dose of anti-Semitism and racism from the Muslim Student Union. Year after year, they bring their personal bigotry and false judgment to our very own Ring Road with a structure that breaks many of the requirements from UCI’s Event Services. Why the university allows one club and one club only preferential treatment is a great question, but the questions I will be answering are why I think the MSU brings the wall to campus, what it hopes to achieve and why it is ineffective.
The wall which slanders Israel has a very simple purpose: bring to light what many members of the MSU believe is oppressing their Arab brothers and sisters in the holy land. Many feel Israel is an evil country committing terrible acts, so they feel they should bring their perspective to UCI. The manners with which they do it are disgusting, inaccurate and factually wrong. Take the map of Israel portrayed on the wall: it shows a skewed drawing of Israel proper, which is labeled the “occupied lands,” and “Palestine,” the Gaza Strip and parts of Judea and Samaria. Anyone with any knowledge of the conflict knows that the recreation of Israel in 1948 was in full accordance with international law. The War of Independence, during which Israel defended itself from attacks from Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Syria created the tiny Jewish state named Israel. The term occupation is wrongly applied and never came up in the attempt to delegitimize Israel until the Six Day War in 1967. This blatant distortion of history and slander can easily be explained. If enough false terms, numbers and rhetoric are thrown around, the truth will be lost. As Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister once said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
The title “Resisting Zionism: the Palestinian Narrative” has a very deep meaning. Zionism can be defined as the natural liberation movement of the Jewish people who sought to restore their freedom and independence in their ancestral homeland, Israel. Resisting Zionism means the weak are supposed to actively fight against the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. This attempt aimed at one nation claims other countries are allowed to have a homeland, just not the Jewish people. Indigenous rights are important and must be upheld, unless it is Jews being indigenous to their historical and ancestral homeland. Zionism in Israel has created a pluralistic democracy with freedom of voting, religion and speech in any area Israel controls, and these freedoms apply to citizens of all color, race or religion. Israel is home to Sunnis, Bedouins, Druzim, Baha’is, Jews, Christians and many other religions, and as long as an individual is a citizen and lives where Israel has sovereignty, they live under Israeli law with equality. The MSU should stop portraying Zionists as Islamophobic; rather, they should praise and respect Israel as the only country in the region which provides religious freedom to all religions — in their case, Islam.
This is why this false Palestinian narrative is wrong. Instead of working on state building, many “pro-Palestinian” activists focus on destroying Israel. The only country Palestinians are treated fairly in is Israel, the Jewish state. In the Palestinian-controlled areas, they face the corrupt Palestinian Authority and the oppressive Hamas regime. In Jordan, a country with the overwhelming majority of its demographic being Palestinian, the Queen of Jordan, a Palestinian herself, sees her people living in refugee camps dating back to 1948. Lebanon restricts Palestinians from gaining citizenship and there are institutionalized obstacles preventing Palestinians from traveling or getting jobs. And finally, amongst all the bloodshed in Syria, there are hundreds of thousands Palestinians living in refugee camps. All of these countries are Arab, not one of them treats Palestinians even close to as well as Israel treats Palestinian citizens in Israel, and not one of these countries is the target of MSU delegitimization; instead, the only target is the small Jewish state.
Instead of focusing on Jewish Israel, perhaps the MSU should focus on the slaughter in Syria or fighting Islamophobia in America. Or perhaps the MSU should not mix religion with politics and instead help explain the beautiful religion of Islam which is so misunderstood by many Americans and others around the world. Or finally, maybe the MSU should do some inner reflection, realize the only country in the Middle East which grants true religious freedom to Muslims and other groups is the only Jewish state, and work on recreating this freedom in other countries rather than attempting to destroy it.
Daniel Narvy is a second-year political science major with a focus on Middle Eastern Politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.