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Letter to the Editor

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>The virtue of any organization is demonstrated in what it advocates.

49ers for Israel at California State University, Long Beach advocates for peace, love and life. Interest in the club has increased dramatically this semester as more events are held and positive word of mouth starts to spread.

At weekly Monday meetings members enjoy each other’s company while chowing down on free food and newcomers are greeted warmly. The group focuses on pro-Israel education and advocacy discussions. Most conversations, even on serious matters, remain civil and positive.

Most importantly, 49ers for Israel take the high road in the face of hate and negativity.

At the beginning of the semester, hostile individuals gave nasty looks, knocked pamphlets off tables, and on one occasion threw trash at a member. Police security has become necessary at times.

The fight against anti-Semitism, especially on college campuses, is ongoing and takes on many forms.

CSULB students, for the most part, are focused on their own personal struggles and are unaware of what is going on in the Middle East. Some groups exploit this lack of information and bombard students with disturbing visuals and false information on their way to class.

In November, 49ers for Israel hosted Gil Cohen-Magen, a prominent Israeli photojournalist whose works have appeared in the New York Times and Reuters, at one of their meetings. Gil showed his incredible collection of photos and described what it was like taking pictures in a war zone under fire.

Another event in November attended by many 49ers for Israel members was a lecture by David Makovsky, a former advisor to Secretary of State John Kerry. He shared his thoughts on the Paris attacks, Israeli-Palestinian relations and Middle East peace to an enthusiastic crowd at the Walter Pyramid. Both speakers gave great lectures and were well received by the audience. 49ers for Israel hopes to hold and promote even more fun events throughout the school year and welcomes all students.

On our campus, a wall of hate is revealed every year denouncing Israel during Palestine Awareness Week. Events such as “Genocide in Gaza” displayed numerous bloody images for all to see. Phrases like “Crimes Against Humanity” and other buzzwords are spelled out in bold red font to catch the attention of people passing by. These emotional appeals have made an impact. Some on campus become less likely to think critically and thus are more likely to accept the narrative they have been given.

A newer tactic being used on many college campuses is to compare the struggles of one minority group, like undocumented Mexican students, to the struggle of the Palestinians. These comparisons are false, misleading, and exploitative in nature. Human rights have been violated and continue to be violated all over the world. Humanitarian disasters, from Syria to Darfur, where thousands have died and millions have been displaced, are not protested on campuses anywhere near as much as Israel. There isn’t a wall for women getting stoned to death in Saudi Arabia or journalists being beheaded by ISIS.

The reality is Israel is a small democratic nation surrounded by much larger authoritarian regimes. It defends itself in response to aggression just like the United States would. It is also the United States’ only ally in the region. Israel is undeniably the Jewish homeland; this is based not just on religious text but on archeological fact. There has always been a Jewish presence in the area for thousands of years.

The Palestinians have been offered their own state on several occasions, but have refused any territorial concessions, have denied Israel’s right to exist, and have waged an almost constant war. Palestinians are indoctrinated by anti-Semitic propaganda from a young age to the point where all they know is hate. After Israeli soldiers completely left the Gaza Strip in 2005, removing longtime Jewish residents from their homes in the process, Palestinians almost immediately began launching rockets towards Jewish cities.

The Jewish people have endured incredible persecution throughout history. They are a true underdog story. It is their resilience as a people, which has kept them going. Following the Holocaust, the UN General Assembly recognized the need for a Jewish state to prevent more massacres from taking place. Israel wants to live in peace; others do not.

Now more than ever our university needs to stand up for Jewish students as anti-Semitism on and off campus grows. Please do not blame Israel for the war being waged by Palestinians. I urge everyone to please take the time to learn the history of Israel and the Middle East conflict before believing false accusations that distort the reality of the situation.

 

—Scott Schultz, public administration and policy graduate student

1 Comment

One Response to “Letter to the Editor

  1. Eleanor Reid on July 22nd, 2016 7:38 pm

    To be or Not to be a Social Worker

    This really hits close to home in the world of Social Workers. As CSULB students Social Work students, we are even more fearful of going to the field. Not only are we fearful of the neighborhoods in which we service, we are now fearful of the police. We don’t know if the police are friend or foe. We go into the field daily to provide services to clients in various neighborhoods; especially low-income environments and it can be a very scary adventure. For this therapist to be shot while hands in the air and lying on the ground is very unjust. We social workers/therapist fight for justice and peace for all mankind, but who will fight for the therapist lying on the ground shot and bleeding, still trying to help a client with autism. The therapist should be commended for his courage to stay with the client to be protective and caring. This makes one doubt the field of social work that is a “helping” profession.

    By CSULB MSW Graduate Students,
    Amanda Hernandez
    Belinda Williams
    Colleen McDuffie
    Eleanor Reid
    Tunisia Nelson

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