07 October 2010

So Disappointing. . .

I'm so disappointed right now.  I've been working really hard to get a lecture series going for Students for Peace in Palestine (formally Students for Justice in Palestine), and our first lecture was supposed to be tonight.  However, it appears that our campus Jewish organization, Hillel, was making plans to "derail" the lecture.  I don't know many details yet, but the lecture has been canceled until further notice.

Everyone has a right to free speech, so at blank value I don't mind that Hillel was going to protest our lecture; however, considering we're a brand-new organization that is concerned about violations of Palestinian rights as well as violations of Israeli rights, I think their decision was very much a knee-jerk reaction-- I wish they would have let us have our first lecture so they could see that we're NOT anti-Israel or anti-Jewish.  We're pro-human.  Maybe I can understand their fear, but I wish they hadn't decided to pre-judge us.  Again, I'm sooooo disappointed.

So, if you're a member of the Hillel group or have been watching SPP with a wary eye, please understand that our group just wants to bring awareness that there are people--Jewish, Arab, Christian, and a host of other identities-- in the Israel/Palestinian region who are being denied their basic human rights.  When we DO have our first lecture, I hope that you come, listen with an open mind, and bring your perspective to the discussion.  Please consider joining the conversation we're trying to have on campus rather than stifling it.

Because the only way to promote peace is to promote understanding.

To learn more about Students for Peace in Palestine, read the Daily News article announcing our group.


  1. That is really disappointing that it got canceled.

  2. I know what you mean. They didn't even bother hearing what we had to say. It's not like we wanted to challenge their organization.

  3. [...] still disappointed about the lecture though.  And more determined than ever to find a solution that works. [...]

  4. Ah I actually just learned something in class the other day that might help explain this. Judaism holds the belief that the End of Days, or the coming of the Messiah, will occur when several world events happen that have been prophecized in the Old Testament. One of those events is the return of exiled Jews to their homeland and the resurrection of the Holy Temple (which used to stand in Jerusalem). Therefore, the conflict in Palestine is seen by a segment of the Jewish population as the beginning of the end, and they believe it should occur naturally so that holy events can unfold.

    Another related problem you might run into is that some fundamentalist Christian groups believe this same thing about the Second Coming of Jesus. Therefore, they will not interfere with the Israeli fight to reclaim Jerusalem and land in Palestine because the outcome of the fight will mark the return of Jesus.

    This is according to a discussion my class had based on Karen Armstrong's book "The Battle for God." I'd recommend looking into these different beliefs before you try to really launch your group so that you don't run into protests.

  5. Thanks for your input! I'm glad to hear you're talking about these issues in class. What class was it?

    I actually already knew about the prophesy element of the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, though I'm not sure how many people in my organization know about it (again, we focus on human rights issues instead of political/religious differences). It certainly adds an interesting dynamic to the situation. While you're absolutely right that the prophesy does play a part in the continued struggle, the entire conflict is extremely complicated and covers a whole slew of religious, cultural, historical, political, and racial conflicts and disagreements.

    I love the idea of avoiding protests, but the reality of the climate surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict precludes that there is virtually no middle ground. The conflict is heavily charged with emotional and heated opinions that go back nearly a century-- there are likely to be protests no matter what angle we present the conflict from. It's one of those situations where all parties (including the United States) have done wrong and been wronged.

    If you're interested to learn more, join us at one of our weekly meetings: Thursday evenings at 6:00 in Bracken Library 401.