‘UC Intifada’: Anti-Zionism Is Not Racism
By Alaa Alomar
Alex Chazen, president of Hillel:The Jewish Student Union, was clever to assume in his article “MSU Hypocritical, Not Educational,” featured in last week’s New University, that someone would write a counter-article to respond to his false claims as well as those of many others. So if you are courageous enough to hear the point of view of a “racist” group that does more than give out free cupcakes to promote its causes, then keep reading this article.
The bigger and better Muslim Student Union’s anti-Zionist weeks become, the more Hillel and Anteaters for Israel try to convince everyone that MSU is anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish. To begin with, the accusation that MSU is a racist group is illegitimate. Racism is defined as the belief that due to differences in human character a particular race is superior to others, and Zionism (a movement that arose in the late 19th century which sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine) is not a race. The speakers Amir Abdel Malik Ali, Rabbi Dovid Weiss, Lenni Brenner and Imam Mohammad Al-Asi all came to speak against Zionism, which as I have stated above is a movement and not a race, and this makes none of them racist.
The scaled representation of the apartheid wall featured facts and statistics – almost all of which came from the United Nations – about the oppression of the Palestinian people and the devastation that they live with, which again is not racist.
Having said this, let me continue by discussing an analogy used by Chazen, in his article which equates Christians with Jews and an imaginary “Christianland” to Israel. Chazen says, “Let’s say … my club puts on a week of events that I claim aren’t anti-Christian, but demonize the population and government of Christianland, saying that they don’t have the right to exist as a nation and they must be destroyed by any means necessary. … I doubt that many of you would say that I wasn’t being anti-Christian.”
The problem here is that MSU does not claim that Israel does not have the right to exist as a nation; MSU only claims that Israel does not have the right to steal the Palestinian people’s land to create a nation of their own, massacre the existing Palestinian population and then claim that “it was a land without people.” If it was “a land without people,” then who were the Israelis fighting against during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 over this piece of land that created about 726,000 Palestinian refugees? Themselves? I don’t think so.
Of course, many other false accusations were made about the MSU’s anti-Zionist week. One such accusation made by Reut Cohen in her article “UC Intifada Circus Demonizes Israel” (New Univeristy, May 28, 2007) featured in last week’s paper was that the wall featured propaganda and false information. Cohen claims that the story of Muhammad Al-Durra, a 12-year-old boy who was shot by the Israel Defense Forces and died in his father’s arms, adding fuel to the events of the Second Intifada, never happened and was staged. The Israeli army destroyed most of the physical evidence at the site soon after the incident, including the wall that contained bullet holes indicating that the boy and his father had been fired upon. Why would the Israeli army find any need to do this if the evidence proved their innocence? Furthermore, Talal Abu Rachmeh, the cameraman for France 2 Television who got the incident on tape, said that the boy and his father were shot at during a sustained half-hour bombardment from the Israeli side, which means that the bullets were not from the Palestinians. I would appreciate it, as I’m sure many others would, if claims like Cohen’s could be supported with real evidence.
Cohen also mentions that speaker Amir Abdel Malik Ali said, “And we will not stop until we are either victorious or until we are martyred,” which she found sickening. Let me begin with some definitions. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, victorious is defined as “being the winner in a contest or struggle” and a martyr is “one who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause or principle.” I don’t see what is sickening about wanting to win a war – people do not fight to lose – nor do I see what is so horrible about fighting and struggling for a cause you believe in. There is a war going on between the Palestinians and Israelis. It is reasonable to assume that there are killings on both sides. However, it is not reasonable to ask the Palestinians to sit in their homes and do nothing while F-16s from the Israeli side drop bombs on Palestinian cities like rain.
Lastly, Chazen states in his article that Hillel promoted Israel by giving out free food and T-shirts while MSU brought racist speakers. Of course, if you look at it from another perspective, one could say that while MSU dedicated an entire week to informing students about the oppression of the Palestinian people, a supporter of Hillel and AFI brought a clown to pass out balloons during the middle of the lecture, disturbing the audience.
Alaa Alomar is a first-year psychology major.