Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter: Students for Justice in Palestine defend Suárez talk

(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

To the Editor,

After reading Joseph Frank’s article regarding the Thomas Suárez talk this past Tuesday, the Students for Justice in Palestine feel that its unfounded accusation of anti-Semitism toward Suárez, as well as the sponsors of the talk, is an issue.

To begin, nowhere in Suárez’s lecture does he himself make comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, nor does he deny Jewish people the right to self-determination. We will not waste our time with this – the talk is available to watch online. However, it is worth mentioning that the question Suárez sets out to answer is not at all one of whether or not Israel has the right to exist, but rather how the settler state of Israel emerged, flourished and continues to occupy the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights fifty years later.

To that end, what Suárez was able to uncover in classified source documents held by Britain’s National Archives was that the Zionist movement, in its inception, was one of settler colonialism and the extra-nationalization of land, and anyone – Jew or non-Jew – who threatened this mission was intimidated, terrorized and eradicated. Zionism, in the words of Suárez, “is to assert implicit ownership over all Jewry,” and thus he concludes by saying that Zionism is not Jewish self-determination, rather it is the theft of Jewish self-identity for the benefit of a settler state.

Regarding Frank’s statement, “Suárez’s message is anti-Semitic if one uses the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism,” it is crucial to point out that the very use of a State definition as the basis for objective truth is a fundamental contradiction. The official language of the United States foreign policy apparatus reflects its own geopolitical agenda and its own national interest concerns.

It is also important to highlight Frank’s following assertion: “[Suárez’s] rhetoric is a detriment to the Jewish student body on campus.” This is a blanket statement designed to confuse anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism. There are many Jewish members of the University of Massachusetts student body – quite a few who are members of UMass Students for Justice in Palestine – who do not believe that the Zionist movement and/or the state of Israel is an accurate representation of Judaism. Those members of our community are silenced with this statement.

Human rights for Palestinians intersect with human rights and social justice for everyone. In fact, they are inseparable from the Movement for Black Lives. They are indivisible from the fact that the U.S. is a country founded on white-settler colonialism, slavery and the genocide of this land’s indigenous peoples. They are united with the struggles of our LGBTQ+ communities, and they are inextricable from justice for Jews who are historical and ongoing victims of vicious anti-Semitism. This is the broader vision of UMass Students for Justice in Palestine, which is embedded in everything that we stand for and do. This is why we co-sponsored to host Thomas Suárez, author of “State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel,” and ally in our irrevocable demand for human rights for all.

Leila Aruri and Joshua Raposa

UMass Students for Justice in Palestine

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  • A

    ArafatOct 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Leave it up the convoluted logic of Leftists to embrace those who would destroy all individual freedoms. What sort of mental gymnastics do Leftist go through to be so stupid.

    There is not one single Islamic country in the world that welcomes non-Muslims. In more than 50% of Islamic countries ethnic cleansing of Hindus, Christians, Animist, Kurds, Buddhists, Copts, Chaldeans, Assyrians, atheists, gays, lesbians, is taking place.

    The Palestinian could not be clearer. Their basic charter calls for the elimination of Israel. Their actions, their school system,their politicians all teach hatred of the Jews. Yet these authors – as is typical of Leftists turn the facts on their head. Unbelievable how Leftists ignore reality in creating their fanciful world.

    Meanwhile the LGTB community thrives in Israel. Palestinians are free in Israel. They vote, go to college, get advanced degrees, become lawyers, doctors, businessmen. Their population in Israel grows apace, but don’t expect these Leftists to inform you of this for that would refute their fanciful lies, their alt-reality.

  • T

    Tom SuárezOct 3, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    My thanks to Leila Aruri and Joshua Raposa for their support and this excellent letter; and to SJP Amherst for their work towards justice and peace in Israel-Palestine, and their solidarity with other struggles against injustice.
    Their letter raises the all-important issue of Zionism’s, and Israel’s, claims in regard to Judaism and Jewry, and the use of the smear of anti-Semitism to silence any honest appraisal of Israel’s actions — and thus to empower its actions. For more on my own views on this, please see my recent piece in The Link (Americans for Middle East Understanding). The relevant section begins on page 8, under the heading “The Surreal World of 2017”.

  • S

    SittingBullOct 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    The final paragraph is where you lost me. If you read between the lines, it contains the tired trope: White people bad = people of color must take over and extinguish them. And you wonder where the Trump electorate came from? 40 years of this crap.

  • H

    Henry TobiasOct 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    LGBTQ+ communities are persecuted to the point of death in the Arab and Islamic world, including Palestine.
    It was the Arabs who initiated terror against the Jews in British Mandated territory of Palestine, killing Jews in Hebron and other cities.The British had no right to be in the Land of Israel, but they also perpetrated terror
    against the Jews, so it was returned in kind.The Land of Israel is the historic home of the Jewish People. Jews have lived in the Land of Israel continuously since Biblical times while the ‘Palestinians’ are recent immigrants
    from what today is Syria who came to Israel seeking employment in the industries set up by Jewish
    entrepreneurs in the early 1900s.

  • N

    NitzakhonOct 3, 2017 at 10:33 am

    SJP is a terrorist-affiliated organization.

    The goal of SJP and its BDS affiliates is the destruction of Israel and another Holocaust.