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Uncomfortable on my own campus

(Shannon Broderick /Flickr)

(Shannon Broderick /Flickr)

The Million Student March was a movement that took place on campuses across the country on Thursday, Nov. 12 where unified students and graduates demanded “tuition-free public college, cancellation of all student debt and a $15 minimum wage for all campus workers.” Participants at the University of Massachusetts also decided to incorporate its own local demands, which were introduced by the Resident Student Organizations involved in the march. Two demands specific to the campus were the implementation of the Survivor Bill of Rights and mandatory adherence to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which were introduced by the Coalition to End Rape Culture and Students for Justice in Palestine, respectively.

After seeing these RSOs’ demands on the Facebook event, I began contemplating my own attendance of the event. I really wasn’t sure until the morning of the event if I was going to go, but I decided to attend to show support for the specific causes that I did believe in. I was a little bit nervous when deciding to attend because I did not know what I might hear from the speakers. I also didn’t know how I would feel about hearing BDS being demanded on my campus, but I felt it was important to be there first hand to see and hear it.

At the event, I participated in the group chanting and clapping for most speakers, as their passion and purpose was to create a better and more accessible campus for all types of students. The moment SJP took control of the megaphone, I felt as though I was forced into silence. Watching overhead from the second floor of the student union allowed me to see people’s faces and watch them be influenced by the words of the speakers. I watched these speakers try to convince the student body that boycotting Israel is right for our campus, and that numbed me. It was honestly one of the most unsettling things I hope I ever have to endure. Going from an issue such as rape culture and the problems associated with it at UMass and bettering our accommodations for transgender students, I just couldn’t understand how BDS fell into the same category.

If BDS were to be implemented at UMass it would call for public knowledge of where UMass is privately invested, the end of all sales of Sabra products on campus, and divestment from all companies that profit off Israel’s alleged “illegal occupation of Palestine.”  The overall goal of BDS is to eliminate Israel as the state of the Jewish people. BDS also often condemns groups that promote having a healthy, open dialogue and the idea of coexistence.

Attending the Million Student March was the first time I’ve ever personally felt uncomfortable being somewhere because of my identity. As a pro-Israel student on campus, I have always accepted the fact that some of my friends might not be on my side, and I am aware that I’m not going to sway everyone to share my beliefs. However, last Thursday was the first time I felt that I should have to hide the fact that I am a strong believer and supporter of the state of Israel.

Hearing students at the march chant, “No more pennies no more dimes, no more funding Israel’s crimes” made me want to leave the march because the feeling that gave me was far worse than the good feeling I got from supporting my peers in other groups and standing up fro my right for free education. Overall, I think the purpose of the nationwide movement was incredible and I hope administration does hear the students. I just hope something like BDS is something I never have to face on my campus, because it targets me, a pro-Israel UMass student, and that defeats the purpose of the goals of the Million Student March.

 

Carly Korman is a Collegian contributor. She can be reached at CKorman@umass.edu.

Comments
34 Responses to “Uncomfortable on my own campus”
  1. David Hunt 1990 says:

    They don’t complain about Turkey’s illegal occupation of Cyprus. They don’t complain about China’s occupation of Tibet. Or of myriad other places around the world.

    No, they complain about Israel – the one democracy in the Middle East. Their end goal is the destruction of Israel – for what else can “From the river to the sea…” mean? In parallel with that is the desire for another Holocaust.

    SJP is nothing more than the New Nazi movement, dedicated to the “special handling” of the Jewish Problem.

    And to those Jews who are a part of it – you’re kapos.

  2. David Hunt 1990 says:

    BTW, BDSers. please feel free to TRULY boycott Israeli technology. Especially all the medical advances coming out of Israel. Like this one.

    http://www.thetower.org/2581oc-israeli-neuroscience-startup-raises-28-million-in-financing/

  3. Zac Bears says:

    The goal of BDS is not to eliminate Israel as the Jewish state. There are many Jews in Israel who want to end the occupation.

  4. David Hunt 1990 says:

    The stated goal of BDS is “from the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free”. It’s chanted at meeting after meeting.

    From the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea. Hmm. Why, any thinking person looking at a map would then – were they logical – ask “So, where’s Israel?”

    There are Jews in Israel who want to end the Occupation… arising from a war that was started BY THE ARABS. Which Israel had the bad grace to WIN in 1967.

    Still waiting for the condemnation of Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. Or Chinas occupation of Tibet. And the boycott of THEIR products.

  5. T says:

    I agree that this march was not the time or the place, but I’m not sure where safety comes in here. They aren’t spewing anti-semitic rhetoric, they don’t want to eliminate Israel as the Jewish state, and they aren’t attacking your right to have your opinion. They aren’t inherently anti Israelis, but anti things that the Israel GOVERNMENT has done. I am American, and I certainly don’t agree with many foreign policy and other actions that my government has taken a part in and I can understand why other countries might feel this way to. I’m sure there are plenty of foreigners that think our drone strikes are criminal and would say that the US is committing crimes. I don’t take that to mean that I am a criminal. That is not an attack on me. Same thing applies here. Attacking a governmental system does not equate to attacking people. You have just as much right to protest as them, and I know plenty of people on this campus who agree with you. I take more of the J Street approach on this issue, but I believe all sides should have the right to protest, including you and including BDS. Having another opinion does not equate to silencing yours.

  6. Rob says:

    I never understood went Jewish people vote for Democrats almost without exception, and the Democrats would love to see Israel destroyed.

  7. The occupation is not alleged! It exists! It’s real! There are many Jews in Israel and America who want to end the occupation. Whether BDS is the right way to do that or not, ignoring the fact that their is an occupation will not lead to any sort of productive or healthy dialogue about this issue! Conflating support of Israeli settlement policies and support of Israel is wrong and alienates people from being supportive of Israel at all!

    As a Jewish student who attended the Million Student March it was really really hard for me to interrogate my values around social justice and the political climate of my campus. I was deeply uncomfortable and upset by the BDS demand, but I also understand that feeling uncomfortable makes a lot of sense in this situation. Understanding that the Israeli government actively supports the settlement enterprise through military and civilian occupation is more painful and uncomfortable than almost anything I contend with on this campus.

    Israel remains a huge part of my Jewish identity, maybe the most significant part of it, and I want to work towards an Israeli future that does not include the oppression of Palestinians. I want to raise my children in a Jewish and democratic Israel that is not built on fear and racism. I want Jewish people on this campus to feel pride in their Jewish identity and feel proud of Israel. Right now I am not proud of Israel.

  8. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Aliza: So, with whom is Israel to negotiate?

    With Hamas, whose charter says that the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable?

    With the PA, who says the entirety of Isreal is to be reclaimed?

    When the opposite side says their end goal is the destruction of your state and the genocide of your people… just what do you compromise on? “Hey, ok, you can kill half of us and we’ll call it good. We know and trust you to stop there.”

  9. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @T: Question. Just what do you think “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” means if NOT the destruction of Israel?

  10. Elise Decker says:

    I agree with this article completely. As a pro-Israel student on campus, I do find it unsettling to notice such malice towards a cause I believe in. I feel that there is not an equal representation of both sides of the argument, which is necessary for people to be able to make informed decisions. Without presenting both sides equally, I see this issue as pure propaganda.
    Living in the 21st century, I am appalled at the fact that I have to feel oppressed by an organization. The world is a two way street, but when one side of the argument is calling for the administration to place aggressive sanctions while the other side simply sits silent and submissive on this campus, I feel misunderstood and helpless.
    I want more than anything to live in a peaceful world and exist peacefully on this campus, but I can’t see how to do so when both sides are not equally heard. They say that if leaders of all nations let their children play with each other, there would be peace. I believe that we need to address this issue at the root of it all, and simple try to live in a world free of aggression and hatred. But first, there must be equality and the ability for both sides to actively listen to each other and try to understand.

  11. Harrison Shecter says:

    The official position of the Palestinian government is that they reject Israel’s existence and consider the entirety of its land to be “occupied”, not just the 1967 territories. You can see this if you watch PA TV for five minutes.

    The goal of BDS is to shift public opinion in favor of the Palestinian state so that they do not have to recognize Israel or live in peaceful coexistence and can continue murdering Israelis on a daily basis. The only position our campus should be able to take is pro-peace.

  12. Arafat says:

    SJP claims to stand for human rights, specifically the rights of the Palestinian people; and consistently portrays itself as an advocate for a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and solidarity with the oppressed.
    But a closer look at the group’s rhetoric and actions tells a different story.
    Instead of promoting justice, SJP and/or its members spend almost all of their energy demonizing Israel, advocating for its eventual destruction, showing an unfortunate affinity for pro-terrorist figures, bullying and intimidating pro-Israel and Jewish students with vicious and sometimes anti-Semitic rhetoric, and even at times engaging in physical violence.

  13. Arafat says:

    Trying to demonize, delegitimize and apply double standards against a pluralistic, tolerant and democratic state such as Israel, by siding with genocidal groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, has nothing to do with human rights. It is just raw, undisguised anti-Semitism.

  14. Arafat says:

    In order to clarify my concerns, let’s take a look back in history to 1933 when Hitler rose to power and became Chancellor of Germany and the Nazis won a large number of seats in the German parliament. What followed was the notorious nationwide Nazi boycott targeting Jewish businesses and professionals directed by Nazi storm-troopers posting signs everywhere saying “Do not buy from Jews!” Widespread anti-Semitism mounted with the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 depriving Jews of their basic rights as citizens and banning them from all professional jobs in education, politics, academia and industry which escalated in severity ultimately concluding in the “Final Solution.”

  15. Arafat says:

    “In other news, _____ Chapter of Students for Justice in Tibet have insisted that the university cease doing business with any Chinese company.” – Imaginary news report that would never occur because the bigots who attack Israel don’t actually care about “occupation,” they want to destroy the Jewish State.

  16. Mohamad Barham says:

    The point of BDS is to end the Israeli Apartheid. You can’t have peace under Apartheid. Israel has not showed intension in ending Apartheid. For peace to happen, the international community must pressure Israeli to end it’s Apartheid the same way the international community did to end Apartheid in South Africa.

  17. Mohamad Barham says:

    @David the Westbank is touching the Jordan River and Gaza Strip touching is the Mediterranean Sea.

  18. Zuffy says:

    “The only democracy in the Middle East” with the longest military occupation in modern history, so democratic! It’s amazing how the pro-Israel narrative accuses Palestinians of genocide when it’s Israel that mass murders babies with zero hesitancy. David, your claims are laughable. They have no substance.

  19. Jenna says:

    For everyone who says this is anti-Israeli and not antisemitic…

    Local groups of Students for (Just Us) in Palestine definitely toe the line between anti-Israel & antisemitic, but as a national/international organization there is no question that they are antisemitic.

    Completely ignoring human rights for Israelis = antisemitic. Protesting to have Matisyahu (Jewish American, not Israeli) removed from a festival lineup based on his religion = antisemitic. Hating my entire ethnic group for being proud of their heritage & history = antisemitic. Ignoring several other contested occupations, military or otherwise, currently underway in Crimea, Cyprus, Moldova, Romania, etc. because it doesn’t fit their Jew-blaming narrative = antisemitic. Creating a myth that all Jews, or even all Israelis (especially considering that the same pro-Palestine activists preaching divestment are often the same people exclaiming that we can’t blame all Syrians/Muslims/etc. for the actions of a few) are responsible for Netanyahu’s foreign policy, and by some extension that we are all guilty of insidious war crimes against the international community – while ignoring those committed by the PA – is not only antisemitic but fucking Nazi level brainwashed. Further, justifying stabbings, terrorism and bigotry as a natural reaction is not just antisemitic, but at its core anti-Palestinian in that it relegates their capacity to assert themselves to nothing but disorganized, indescriminate violence rather than politically.

  20. Mohamad Barham says:

    @Arafat UMass SJP is only targeting companies that helps or profit from the illegal Israreli occupation. Sabra, for example, it’s parent company funds the Golani Brigade of the Israeli armed force.

  21. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Arafat:

    No BDSer will refuse business with a Chinese company over Tibet. Or Turkey, over Cyprus. You and I know this is ONLY because of Jews.

    So, a challenge to the BDSers. Stop using Israeli-designed/developed technology. Including, please, all the medical advances Israelis have developed.

  22. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Elise:

    Children, absent any other input, WILL play with each other. My children go to a school with many races, religions, and creeds. Wonderful.

    When you get immersed in a culture of hatred FROM BIRTH, a culture that says “KILL JEWS” to the point where a three-year-old girl holds a knife and says she wants to stab Jews… and is PRAISED for that attitude… what can you expect but more violence?

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/10/muslim-preschool-girl-holds-knife-says-i-want-to-stab-a-jew

  23. David Hunt 1990 says:

    BDS supporters – please make sure the pharmaceuticals you use do not make use of this Israeli-developed technology.

    http://www.thetower.org/2585oc-israeli-company-develops-revolutionary-drug-safety-system/

  24. Matt says:

    In what way did you feel unsafe, exactly? Were you afraid someone was going to physically harm you? Or that you would be subject to emotional abuse?

    I ask because it seems like you were afraid because people were vocal about having viewpoints other than your own.

  25. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Matt: I imagine the writer felt unsafe in the same way that a black person would feel unsafe with the KKK marching in a parade on the campus.

  26. Confused says:

    This whole article is asinine. You’re basically saying you’re uncomfortable with people having other viewpoints. How close minded, your “fear” for your safety reads as prejudice.

  27. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Elise:

    To follow up my prior point, take a look at this article. A TWO YEAR OLD child is singing about wanting a machine gun to kill Israeli Jews.

    Never mind the fact that he doesn’t grasp the actual meaning of the words; he will, sooner or later. The meaning of that song he’s learning will resonate and become a fundamental part of his earliest learning.

    MY children are learning songs of peace, of love. My older child says “I know it’s hard to be good, and easy to be bad. I choose to be good.” THEIR children are learning songs about killing, and murder, and hatred, and envy.

    And then people wonder why there isn’t peace.

  28. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @confused: Would you be so complacent if the Black Panthers, a group that not only advocated and advocates using violence were involved in the rally?

  29. David Hunt 1990 says:

    On, @confused. Not only advocated… but USED violence?

  30. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Abbas confirms: He rejected an Israeli peace proposal that included ALL of Gaza, the vast majority of the West Bank, and a tunnel connecting the two.

    http://www.worldjewishdaily.com/abbas-admission.php

    The Palestinians want peace… the peace of a destroyed Israel and dead Jews.

    And nobody has yet answered my question: “When your negotiation partner demonstrates through written and spoken words, and by deeds, that they want your country destroyed and your people killed… just what is there to negotiate about?”

  31. RMR says:

    @T, @Mohammed, and everyone else who is unsure why the writer felt uncomfortable…
    I will try to explain in my words, although I haven’t quite worked it out for myself. I am also a Jewish student who cares about Israel. I do not believe that everything Israel does is right. That didn’t change the fact that when I walked by the Student Union that day, I was scared to go in, and was scared that they would see me, a fairly clearly religious Jewish girl (I dress and look like one) and would expect me to be against their message, would stare angrily at me. It is instinctive.
    While yes, SJP’s official public beliefs as a group may claim to only be against Israel’s unfair practices in name, not all groups who call themselves SJP have those same beliefs, because each is made up of individuals with biases. Sometimes those biases are understandable. I think my fear of going into an SJP event is a bias. They might welcome me- I don’t know them, so I have no idea. But it doesn’t change my bias, my fear that they will be angry with me. When they lash out at Israel, officially, it is against their policies. Unofficially, however, many may believe that there should be no Jewish state.
    In order to completely answer this confusion, I will pose another question- what do you think having a Jewish state means to different people? Because to me, as unsafe as it may be right now- it is my safe place. It is the place that, if my country’s attitude turned antisemitic, I would run there. I know that a lot of people think that anti-Semitism and racism is a thing of the past- I don’t. Maybe that is unjustified, but I don’t think so. Jews have been around for thousands of years, and every time we think we are safe, that there is no way anyone would attack our character, we turn around and find that it is happening again.
    When I see some of the protests against Israel, that is what I see- that once again Jews are being targeted, looked at under a microscope as everything that is wrong with the world, when we are not the cause of all the world’s ills.
    Israel is not perfect, but it was founded to protect us, to give us one place where our voice is powerful, so that we cannot be hurt. If you are arguing that Israel should be boycotted, if you are arguing for changing policies on behalf of the Palestinians- who of coarse need a voice- what are you arguing should happen to me? To all of my friends and family currently in Israel? Because that is what I think of when I would like to see policies change. Please think in terms of the feelings and rights of EVERYONE involved when you argue for an issue, and not just one group.

  32. Jim says:

    Zac Bears says: “The goal of BDS is not to eliminate Israel as the Jewish state.”

    I wish that I could agree, but I fear that you are a fool. I mean that in a good way. Some BDSer’s may simply be as naive and well-intentioned as you, but the aim of the movement is to further the destruction and illegitimization of Israel.

  33. Paul says:

    The situation in Israel can be summed up neatly. If the people surrounding Israel would put down their weapons, there would be peace. If the people in Israel put down their weapons, the Israelis would be slaughtered.

  34. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Jim and @Paul – spot on correct.

    And you have to believe, given the case history of Israel pulling out of Gaza in 2005 only to have it become a launching site for munitions into Israel, to think the Fakestinians wouldn’t amplify their efforts were they to have an autonomous nation in the West Bank.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2012/11/Gaza%20Rocket%20Range.jpg

    Take a look at this. If Israel were to return to the 1948 armistice lines, virtually every major city in Israel would be within range of missiles. And it takes a special kind of stupid to think that the Fakestinians wouldn’t rush in to start shooting. Unless, of course, your GOAL is another Holocaust.

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