Daily 49er

Letter to the Editor

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Mona Ahmed, Senior international studies and Japanese language

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This Letter to the Editor is in response to a Letter to the Editor by Scott Shultz, printed on Dec. 6. Shultz expressed his support for the CSULB organization 49ers for Israel.

“The virtue of any organization is demonstrated in what it advocates,” wrote Scott Shultz.

For this very reason, California State University, Long Beach’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine organizes Palestinian Awareness Week and other events on campus to encourage student involvement. SJP promotes an understanding of a unique culture and society that is constantly under threat.

During PAW, a mock separation wall is put up for students to pass by during their normal school day. Israel began construction on the actual wall separating the West Bank from what is now considered Israel in 2001.

In actuality it serves as a physical manifestation of the Palestinian struggle. When SJP puts up the wall, we are attempting to convey to students the dehumanization and humiliation Palestinians face daily in order to get to work, school or visit family on the other side. This is not about demonizing Israel. It is about spreading the narrative of an underrepresented population forced into a confined space and made to answer a government that is not their own. Students should walk away contemplating their role in the world, and how they are able to contribute to a better livelihood for those in disadvantageous situations.

I could rattle off numbers and statistics about how many people the Israeli Defense Force has killed, or the amount of land appropriation that has occurred since the Six Day War in 1967, but let’s face it—it’s a tired narrative. You and I both know how many human rights violations the institutions that prop the state of Israel up have committed.

If the logic is, “everyone does it so why should I be punished for it?” then let me detail my disdain for this idea of “playground politics.” Israel just like any other nation-state must be held accountable for the atrocities its government and military are committing against a society. While the IDF uses U.S. funded technologies to segregate and persecute Palestinian civilians, Palestinians must resort to throwing rocks at tanks. And you have the gall to call Israel—the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. aid according to a report sent out by the Congressional Research Service at 124.3 billion dollars—the underdog? Habibi, check again.

As an organization that represents a struggling minority group, we stand in solidarity with all of our peers that have similar experiences. If we cannot show empathy for the young man of color shot in the back because he was wearing a hoodie at night, or the young girl who’s mother raised her since birth in the states—then we would not be fighting for human rights in a just manner. These people’s bodies and lives have been politicized by a force that is not their own. They are subject to institutional oppression much the same as Palestinians.

Transnational solidarity promotes collective acceptance, understanding, and activism among various minority groups that have historically been underrepresented and/or oppressed. It is inaccurate to say that any organization necessarily equates their group’s suffering to another. Instead, organizations aim to create a parallel between struggles for the purpose of empowering minorities when standing in solidarity.

Personally, as an Arab-American woman and active student on campus, I am empowered when I see my peers building bridges and coalition building. SJP works to instill a sense of responsibility in our student body to reach out to their community and constantly demand equality.

SJP stands in solidarity with any organization willing to defend human and minority rights. Furthermore, SJP and its members do not tolerate hate speech of any kind and stand against anti-Semitic rhetoric. As a diverse group representing students from various walks on life, if we did not advocate for the rights of every minority, we would be doing a disservice to our community overall. SJP recognizes, accepts, and welcomes students from all walks of life with a variety of political beliefs.

As an organization active on campus and in the community, SJP strives to create a safe space for Palestinians to share their experiences. It is our duty as motivated, young adults with the privilege to participate in higher education to create a world where these violations are mitigated as much as possible.

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