Information wall

The wall put up by SUPER UW in Red Square last year, with information about the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Israel. A similar wall will be put up again this year. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is first and foremost an event preview, not a policy profile or an attempt at breaking down a political issue. The event organizers were spoken to in order to highlight their reasons for putting on the event.

The UW chapter of Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER) have organized Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), beginning Monday, April 18. The week is part of an international campaign that aims to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies over the Palestinian people and build support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Daniel Oron, UW junior and member of SUPER, identified the BDS movement’s main goals as ending the Israeli occupation, recognizing the rights of Arab-Palestinians (including the right of return), and educating others about the Palestinian struggle. 

Oron said SUPER hopes to dedicate the week to making the UW community aware of not only the conflict, but also of its victims.

“In general, a lot of people abstain from becoming involved with this issue because of controversy,” Oron said. “This results in the normalization of an occupation of people and the dehumanization of those people.”

The first planned event is an intersectional panel on racism, oppression, and solidarity Monday at 5 p.m. in Gowen 201. The panel is entitled “Racism, State Repression, and Empire: Palestinian International Solidarity.”

Amani, a member of SUPER UW who preferred to be mentioned by first name, explained there are a lot of parallels between the Palestinian resistance and other anti-racism movements, including Black Lives Matter here in the United States.

“A government using excessive force without penalty and restricting opportunity contributes to the idea that deaths of a certain group of people don’t matter,” Amani said. “When resistance forces don’t stand in solidarity against the oppression, it just doesn’t make sense.”

Brianna Birkel, a member of SUPER and organizer of the panel, agreed that standing in solidarity is a huge part of the movement.

“When one of us is oppressed, we’re all oppressed,” Birkel said.

The panel will feature students from various groups on campus, including the UW chapters of Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán and the National Society of Black Engineers.

In addition to the panel, a wall will be put up by SUPER in Red Square with information about the ongoing oppression of Palestinians in Israel.

Amani explained that speaking out against oppressors always comes with backlash, and the BDS movement is often labeled as anti-Semitic. SUPER makes it clear on its website that it is an anti-racist organization that condemns all forms of hatred and discrimination, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim bigotry. 

Many pro-Israel advocates resort to smearing critics instead of defending the country’s policies, Oron said.

“As Israel turns further and further to the right, more and more Americans, including American Jews, are shocked by the growing racism in Israeli society,” Oron said. “I and many people in my Jewish community were shocked by Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2014, when 1,486 people, including 532 children, were killed in indiscriminate attacks on crowded urban areas in one of the most densely populated areas in the world.”

This mislabeling is a deliberate attempt to discredit and undermine a movement that has seen an increasing rate of success, Oron explained. Part of this success can be attributed to the resilience of the Palestinian identity and culture.

Part of IAW is dedicated to recognizing the beauty and intelligence of Palestinian culture that many have tried hard to erase. On Thursday, April 21, SUPER is hosting a Palestine Cultural Festival at 5:30 p.m. in the Social Work Building.

“It is important to recognize that the culture has been flourishing,” Amani said. “Even the wall has art on it; when you dehumanize a people, they will throw culture right back.”

Celebrating Palestinian culture not only shows resilience, but also resistance to its oppressors, Amani explained. The event will include dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance, as well as food, art, poetry, and a guest speaker.

“It’s important to do this kind of education on campus because it gives us a chance to reach out to students who might not be aware of the power they hold,” Birkel said. “Currently, the UW is invested in and directly profits from human rights violations.”

Amani said what the UW is doing with the Race & Equity Initiative and discussions on issues like microaggressions is great, but there needs to be some accountability from the administration and the fact that they have an impact on a much higher level.

“We need to put our money where our mouth is,” Amani said. “We just can’t pretend to be supportive of equality, we need to take action.”

 

Reach reporter Susana Machado at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @smacha1995

(13) comments

This is a horribly written article. There is a way of covering this event and sharing the perspectives of the people who support it without accepting and amplifying the extremely one-sided narrative that SUPER UW puts out, namely that the entire conflict is the fault of one party. They use the word "apartheid' because it is a strong emotional trigger, but rather than putting that word in quotes, or attributing it, the writer simply parrots it as truth.

There is also zero mention of an opposing viewpoint.

The way this article was written does a disservice to anyone who wishes to gain a non-biased understanding of the issue.

For a clear analysis of why Israel is not an apartheid state, view https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdCAmbN4E7E. This is not to minimize the impact of the dispute, but words matter, and the word apartheid simply does not apply.

This is a full barreled attack on the nation state of a persecuted people that is masquerading as a news article. Mr. Oron is given a platform to spew all sorts of libels against the Jewish state, but not one person was sought out by the reporter to provide a balanced perspective? Don't we still offer Journalism 101?

Thanks for writing the great article. We rarely see Palestinain events get covered in any sort of media. Keep it up!

Thanks for the article, Susana! As someone who's been negatively affected by Israel's policies, I look forward to these events!

Powerful article! Thank you!

Very powerful, insightful, and objective journalism from Ms. Machado. You don't typically hear Palestinian and minority voices in the media. The overlooked human rights of Palestinians should be an important and regularly discussed issue for all of us. Can't wait for these events! Thank you, UW-Daily, for the wonderful preview!

The BDS movement of which Super UW is affiliated, is quite open in their desire for the replacement of the Jewish state and in their support for "armed resistance". This is not a mere 'event preview' for a 'find the cure" fund raiser; SUPER UW and BDS is a marginal, extremist organization. Don't tell me you wouldn't provide some balance if there was a 'Trump for President' series on campus or a bake sale for some anti-Women's rights organization. Super UW's fixation and demonization of the one Jewish state warrants balance and perspective. You provided neither.

University of Chicago and University of Minnesota student governments and the Graduate Student Union of UMass Amherst voted to endorse divestment from corporations that profit from Israeli occupation all just within the PAST THREE DAYS. The student governments of almost every single campus in the University of California has endorsed Divestment from occupation profiteers.

Funny definition of "marginal" you got there . . .

I’d like to thank the author of this article for helping to raise awareness on campus of the Palestinian struggle for justice, and of ongoing Palestinian solidarity work at UW. This piece demonstrates courage and journalistic integrity, in stark contrast to the distortion and indifference to Palestinian human rights that one usually encounters in reporting on this topic.

To respond to the accusation of lack of balance by other commenters: these posters are invoking the same operational definition of “balance” used in the corporate media, where to be “objective” means to report within propagandistic confines dictated by the American political establishment. Israel is a favored client state of the United States: therefore the fact that it operates an illegal military occupation and a brutal settler-colonial regime goes unmentioned in mainstream political discourse, as well as in the mendacious coverage that passes for journalism in the corporate media.

Today, CUNY Doctoral Student Council just endorsed BDS. Add that to UMN, UChicago, UMass-Amherst, all since April 12th.

Four BDS victories in four days.

This is why pro-Israel advocates are freaking out: they are losing the public debate. Turns out war crimes are a hard sell.

The Daily has clearly given up on attempting objective journalism. UW is a diverse campus with diverse views, and yet the campus paper insists on alienating students who do not share their beliefs. Again, reporting on this event is fine, but taking a clear stance on the political beliefs of the group is not a good practice. This event is supported by an organization that supports BDS, which at its course supports violence and terrorism against Israelis.

Thank you so much for writing this important article. Hopefully UW will continue to be a place where students can openly advocate for justice and human rights!!

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