Encamp, divest and keep your eyes on Gaza

Photo of author

By Creative Media News

  • Student solidarity: Encampments across US universities demand divestment from Israel
  • Diverse participation: Students of varied backgrounds support Palestinian cause
  • Impactful actions: Teach-ins, protests, and dialogue shape pro-Palestine movement

Students established an encampment at the University of Michigan on April 22 to compel the institution to divest entirely and completely from genocidal Israel. As a result, they joined dozens of universities throughout the United States in expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are currently being subjected to genocide by the Israeli army. In the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Israeli forces have murdered nearly 490 Palestinians, including 124 children, for a total of over 34,500 Palestinian casualties, 14,500 of whom were children.

As an encampment participant at Michigan, I have witnessed something truly inspiring.

Students of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, including Jews and Palestinians, individuals of Arab and South Asian descent, and others, have joined the demonstration. Numerous members of the community are present in the camp and its environs to preserve it, disseminate sustenance, and gain knowledge.

Political education, discussion, and mutual aid and support have all taken place within the encampment. Students are developing their organizational skills as they establish revolving timetables for culinary services, medical care, and patrol.

Students have organized teach-ins on a variety of topics over the past week, including environmental colonialism, solidarity with other Indigenous groups such as the Armenians, and poetry readings by Palestinians, in addition to problematic university investments. Screenings of films such as Israelism and The Present serve to raise consciousness regarding contemporary political schemes and the harsh realities of oppression. We established a Palestine library, similar to those found in other universities, where individuals may borrow literature about Palestinian history, political thought, and the liberation movement.

As of now, pro-Israel student disruptions have been minimal, with their counterprotests attracting a mere three to ten participants. They display Israeli flags with pride while confronted by pickets bearing the visages of Palestinians who have been murdered.

Legal observers and police liaisons have been established by the encampment organizers in the belief that “we protect each other.” As a consequence, any confrontations that might have required law enforcement involvement have been averted. So long as it does not “disturb” the commencement ceremony the following week, the administration of Michigan University has permitted the encampment to continue. The homicide of Palestinians does not elicit distress.

As with every other protest action on college campuses across the nation, accusations of anti-Semitism have been leveled against us, despite the nonviolent nature of our encampment and similar ones. However, labeling anti-genocide demonstrations as anti-Semitic is not only irrational but also perilous.

Such a designation conflates the tranquil religion Judaism with the nineteenth-century political ideology Zionism. The perilous nature of the conflation stems from the fallacious assertion that every Jewish individual endorses the actions of the Israeli government and settlers, thereby undermining the community’s diversity and contributing to “dual loyalty” conspiracy theories. Our encampments serve as evidence that this erroneous equivalence is positively not grounded in reality. Jewish organizations have been at the epicenter of pro-Palestinian mobilization on numerous campuses.

Although we, the Palestinian people, did not choose to identify with our oppressors, we are routinely questioned about the possibility that anti-Semitism is on the rise. Do children in Gaza care about the religious affiliations of the Israeli fighter aircraft pilots who drop bombs on them, resulting in the loss of their parents?

Without exception, white supremacy has been and remains the most significant obstacle confronting the Jewish community in the United States and internationally. It remains a straightforward fact that institutions and officials in the United States continue to disregard.

Their response to students protesting genocide was more pronounced than to white supremacists carrying out anti-Semitic chants and “terrorists” murdering defenseless people at the Tree of Life Synagogue or strolling the streets of Charlottesville.

Why? This is because if privileged students are prepared to sacrifice themselves for a Palestinian future at institutions designed to shape the next generation of imperialists, then the colonial stranglehold on Palestine, American youth, and Western society as a whole is failing. This prospect instills fear among those who stand to gain from Palestinian colonization and colonialism throughout the Global South. Students will continue to fight fervently for Palestine if they are willing to do so.

As a consequence, protests have been suppressed on campuses throughout the United States, including Columbia University, New York University, Emory University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Southern California, using physical force.

However, instead of quelling the uprising, the brutality inflicted upon students and faculty has inspired youth not only in the United States but also internationally. The endorsement of the Palestinian cause has been further strengthened by official institutions and university administrations with each arrest, suspension, and attempt to muzzle us.

The situation in Palestine has the potential to become a contemporary human rights crisis, while the United States reaction to pro-Palestinian demonstrations has transformed it into a matter concerning free expression. Every student and demonstrator demonstrates dignity by supporting the cause of Palestinian liberation, denouncing American complicity in Israeli atrocities, and opposing colonialism.

However, it is important to clarify that our current struggle on campus in no way can be likened to the Israeli occupation.

In addition to losing family, friends, professors, and fellow students, our Gaza-based counterparts have also lost their entire universities. We shall mobilize their voices to inform the world about their plight until their universities recommence operations and they regain the liberty to pursue an education. Similar to Palestine, our tents remain steadfast in the face of adversity until we achieve victory: complete divestment from Israel and, ultimately, Palestine’s liberation.

“Unlock your financial potential with free Webull shares in the UK.”

We will continue to face allegations of anti-Semitism and police misconduct in the smear campaign. However, we must remind ourselves and our supporters that all eyes must remain on Gaza despite the attention these receive.

The continuous media attention directed towards the student movement mustn’t detract from the systematic atrocities occurring in Gaza. The emphasis must remain on the ongoing discovery of mass graves throughout the Gaza Strip, including at al-Shifa and Nasser hospitals; the Palestinian people’s forced starvation as Israel continues to use aid as a weapon of war while feigning to “increase” it; the Israeli bombardment that kills children, women, and men at a shocking rate every day; the impending invasion of Rafah and Israeli attempts to conceal the crime.

During this period of gloom, the unfolding events on college campuses throughout the United States instilled within me both inspiration and optimism. An imagined Palestinian future could include Muslims and Jews jointly observing the Passover observance and breaking matzo, individuals of all faiths participating in the collective liberation effort, and a Palestine that predates the British Mandate.

I yearn for my native land, where I can bask in the shade of the trees that my ancestors grew so that I may see and experience liberty. And each day brings this ambition one step closer to being realized.

Whistleblower told no ‘duty’ to report funds misuse

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content