On Dec. 4, the Daily Titan published an opinion piece in response to the mock Apartheid Wall presented by Students for Justice in Palestine. Unfortunately, misinformation and myths that the wall event intends to debunk, riddled this article. 

The first of which is equating Zionism and Judaism. Zionism is a political ideology that seeks to create a Jewish only ethnostate. Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism, described it as a colonial endeavor and is understood as such by Israeli academics like Ilan Pappé. Judaism, on the other hand, is a religion. 

Many Jewish individuals describe themselves as “anti-zionist” as well as some organizations, one of which is Jewish Voice for Peace. 

Palestinians live as second-class citizens, and selection committees segregate them based on immutable characteristics. Ethnostates, by their very nature, are racist; they systematically treat one group better than any other. Israel considers Palestinians’ mere presence as a threat, or as Ilan Pappé said in “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” as “a demographic problem.” 

Israel is an apartheid state, and not only meets the definition of apartheid in its occupied territories but within its interior land as well. Palestinians endured an ethnic cleansing of their homeland during the Nakba or catastrophe. At least 750,000  Palestinians were displaced, and at least 70 massacres occurred, many of which were mass executions. Those who remained were held under martial law and had their land stolen from them through Absentee Property Laws. 

Selection committees systematically segregate Palestinians, and the integration of Zionist organizations such as the World Zionist Organization, Jewish National Fund, and Jewish Agency into the Israeli state help to create even more discriminatory practices. Within the occupied territory, Palestinians are also subject to imprisonment without charge, collective punishment, police brutality, house searches without warrants and are under constant surveillance from physical watchtowers protruding from the wall. This apartheid is described in great detail by Israeli academics such as Uri Davis, whose book, “Israel: An Apartheid State,” is available at the Pollak Library. As prior Student Justice for Palestine President, Noor Salameh, has stated, “the violation of 28 U.N. Security Resolutions and almost 100 U.N. General Assembly resolutions doesn’t exactly scream democracy.”

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is related to the election of Hamas, but not in the way described in the piece. After Hamas’s election, Israel imposed a blockade described as collective punishment and illegal under international law in an Amnesty International report cosigned by 24 other human rights institutions. The citizens of Gaza lack food, clean water, electricity, adequate medical services, and freedom of movement according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees because of this blockade, which has left Gaza as an open-air prison. 

Defenders of the wall exclude that the Second Intifada was a reaction to illegal policies enacted by Israel in the occupied territories such as the expansion of settlements, transfer of population, denial of the right to return, torture, and land confiscation. They also include a military system that fails to deliver fair trials, the denial of freedom of movement and travel, and various discriminatory laws that align with the United Nations definition of apartheid. The Apartheid Wall is illegal under international law, as found by the International Court of Justice and elaborated on by other political scientists such as Norman Finkelstein. However, even if the wall were legal, it would not be created for security purposes. If it were, then it would be built on the border of the West Bank; however, most of the wall lies within the West Bank and is continually used to annex more territory from Palestinians illegally.  

Even more frightening, is the disconnect that the article had with the Jewish community and Hillel. It fell into the age-old fallacy of painting a group with a broad brush. The Jewish community is not monolithic and is instead a diverse group that holds many different ideas and opinions. We were able to communicate with several Jewish students who were extremely excited that the wall was up and even eagerly took videos to share on social media. Everyone is welcome to come to the wall, and we encourage discussion. Several pro-Israel students came up to the wall and had constructive dialogues with our members, who were able to break a few of the myths they had internalized. Regrettably, the writer of this article did not participate in our event and was unable to witness these discussions. Still, human rights and international law organizations are quite clear: Palestinians die daily because of the illegal actions committed by Israel.

In solidarity,

Joshua Fatahi

Student for Justice Palestine President

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