Israeli Apartheid Week raises student awareness
Students for a Democratic Society will kick off its fourth annual Israeli Apartheid Week starting Monday with a series of events throughout the week in hopes of educating students of the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
Israeli Apartheid Week is an annual international set of events from lectures, film screenings, cultural performances and mock set up of checkpoints that is held in cities and campuses across the globe that hopes to raise awareness about Israel’s apartheid policies toward Palestinians.
“We hope to combat Zionist propaganda and help our peers realize the realities of this inherently unjust oppression toward the Palestinian people through cultural programs and informative teach-ins,” said Fatima Syed, president of SDS.
In the West Bank, there is a separation barrier, also commonly referred to as apartheid wall, built that is 430 miles long and 26 feet tall. According to the September 2011 Fact Sheet, there are currently 522 roadblocks also known as checkpoints in the West Bank restricting movement for Palestinians.
“Students of all ethnic backgrounds should attend IAW not only to experience the life of a Palestinian in this day and age, but to gain knowledge about the $8 million a day that we Americans alone fund Israel. Our tax dollars should be spent here in our country and not to fund an illegal occupation,” said psychology junior Ola El-Mubasher.
SDS has built a mock separation barrier that will be set up Monday and Wednesday afternoon in Butler Plaza along with a mock checkpoint that students will go through in order to get a feel of what a checkpoint really is. At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a discussion with professors and peers about our country’s pivotal role in this issue.
Along with a mock checkpoint, SDS will be screening “Roadmap to Apartheid” at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Oberholtzer Ballroom.
Hungry for Justice Fast-a-thon will conclude the week with many students taking part in a 24 hour fast — they will not eat food for 24 hours but will drink water — to discuss political prisoners with the guest speaker Alison Weir, human rights activist and executive director of ifamericansknew.org.
“The prisoners in Palestine have broken every hunger strike record. The reason it’s important to maintain interest and keep their story in the media is because it’s clear Israel is not ready to negotiate their release. These prisoners have no charges against them; they have been detained entirely for political issues because of who they are; that doesn’t work today. We need to keep Israel accountable to international law, norms and common human decency,” said Dana El-Kurd, UH alumna who is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin.