Protestors speak out against aggression

On Tuesday, a group of student protestors stood outside the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, voicing their discontent with the U.S.

Last year, more than 40 cities participated in Israeli Apartheid Week, and this week, Students for a Democratic Society of UH are observing it in Houston.

Israel was established as a sovereign state in 1948, after the holocaust and World War II. As a result, Palestinians were forced to move out of their homes and into the West Bank and Gaza regions. This attracted much international attention, and the conflict is still going on today.

The week-long SDS events have included lectures, demonstrations and film screenings aimed at raising awareness about Israel’s controversial policies toward Palestinians and to gather support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

Lecture attendees said the testimonies of people who have been to the region supplied a lot of insight. This includes stories from Houstonian Sally Tawfik, who shared her experience of traveling to Israel and the Palestinian regions.

“It went pretty well,” political science sophomore Dana El Kurd said. “There was an American perspective because a year ago Sally Tawfik didn’t know anything about Gaza. She didn’t even know where it was, and she went this summer with Palestine Summer Encounter, which is a program with the Middle East fellowship.”

El Kurd said Tawfkin’s offered unique insight, as she is someone who recently witnessed the controversy in Gaza.

“We had both support and obviously opposes there, but I think we had an OK discussion of it,” El Kurd said.

SDS also put together a demonstration in the Butler Plaza in front of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library on Tuesday. Members set up a mock barrier wall, replicating the Israeli government-approved 400-mile wall in Israel that limits Palestinian movements.

The U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s construction of the massive wall through the West Bank.

According to the Democracy Now Web site, before the wall was built, the Israel government argued that the wall is needed for security reasons but Palestinians view it as an apartheid wall.

During the UN reporting period — September 2008 through March 2009 — the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported 634 physical obstacles in Israel. Physical obstacles include checkpoints, roadblocks and the wall barrier.

“Israelis have a couple different kind of checkpoints. They set them up in towns and roads, some are called flying checkpoints,” El Kurd said. “An Israeli Jeep can just drive by and set up a checkpoint wherever.”

History senior Robinson Block said that although people tend to have the perception that the West Bank is run by Palestine, there are military checkpoints run by the Israeli army spread throughout the region.

“It’s just a bad situation. You have folks trying to get places, and it’s basically up to the discretion of the soldiers of what they want to do,” Block said.

He said that at a checkpoint, people must wait in a line and present proper identification. But Israeli soldiers decide who is searched.

“We feel like this is on racial terms and a racial segregation because Palestinians aren’t allowed through, but Internationals and Israelis are…it separates (Palestinians) from their families, from their lands, from their homes and from jobs,” El Kurd said. “It’s a pretty tragic situation. There’s a lot of disrespect that happens at these checkpoints.”

Another complex issue involved in this region is settlements. Many UN resolutions and policies have attempted to resolve this issue, but it still remains a problem.

“The far right in Israel basically thinks that all of Palestine, and even other Arab countries, (are) land that should belong to the Jewish people for religious reasons,” Block said. “That’s extremely controversial, even in Israel. A lot of people in Israel oppose this, but they basically are trying to buy land in the occupied territories and build settlements. And the parties in power have alliances with them and help them fund (the purchase) of land from Arabs.

“They’re basically trying to ethnically cleanse the West Bank — to put enough settlements in there that try to force the Palestinians who live there out.”

Block said that roadblocks and checkpoints are to defend the settlements and there are a lot of Jewish-only roads.

El Kurd said she sees a lot of similarities between Palestine and South Africa. She said both have been involved in racial segregation, and both have had Boycott Divestment and Sanction movements.

“That’s what got rid of Apartheid in South Africa, and that’s what’s going to be a part of the solution in Palestine,” El Kurd said. “Being in the 21st century, we’ve learned from Ireland and we’ve learned from South Africa, and we’re still doing it.”

El Kurd said she hopes Palestine will receive the same benefits as South Africa did from BDS. She also said the media is to blame because they haven’t properly educated people about this situation.

“A majority (of people) don’t know about the realities of the occupation. They have a lot of misconceptions which the media has perpetrated,” El Kurd said. “People don’t understand exactly what’s happening in Palestine and Israel, so that’s why (SDS) is here trying to get the word out. That’s the point of IAW, is to bring attention to Israeli policies of racial segregation,” El Kurd said.

The BDS National Committee has reserved March 30 for a global day of action in solidarity with the Palestinians against Israel.

“The local events help to sort of raise this issue at UH, but are also a part of global week of action,” Block said. “Our voice here is important. But it’s even more important because we’re part of a global movement that’s pushing for justice for the Palestinians.”

The group is hosting a screening of the film To Shoot an Elephant, which is about Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2008, with a discussion led by activist Greta Berlin at 7 p.m. today in the Baltic Room of the University Center.

Members of SDS such as El Kurd said they always encourage alternative perspectives.

“Research more, learn more (and) don’t take our word for it,” El Kurd said. “That’s the first way to know what the truth is, to research by yourself. We’ve given you sources, but you can use any sources — both pro and con — and come to your own conclusion.”

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  • Since the Turkish occupation and ethnic cleansing of Greek Cyprus began in 1974:

    * at least 55 Greek churches have been converted into mosques
    * another 50 Greek churches and monasteries have been converted into stables, stores, hostels, museums, or have been demolished
    * the cemeteries of at least 25 Greek villages have been desecrated and destroyed
    * innumerable icons, religious artifacts and all kinds of archaeological treasures have been stolen and smuggled abroad
    * illegal excavations and smuggling of antiquities is openly taking place all the time with the involvement of the occupying forces
    * all Greek place names contrary to all historical and cultural reason were converted into Turkish ones.

    Why doesn’t anyone howl about the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus? People have been driven out of their homes, churches have been converted into mosques, and the thriving resort of Famagusta transformed into a ghost town. Nobody cares. Instead, academia obsesses over the trumped-up plight of “Palestinians”– an invented nationality, committed to eradicating a sovereign state in the name of Islamo-supremacism.

    VIDEO: Famagusta, The Hostage Ghost City of Europe

  • Thanks to the protesters. They will win, and the SGA will vote for a boycott against Israel.
    The Gaza Massacre was really too much.

    …By the way, that last post, about how Palestinians don’t exist, was very cute.

    But they do exist. 1400 of them were just killed by Israel, in Gaza.

    • Palestinians do NOT exist. That factual assertion isn’t intended to be “cute.” There has NEVER been (nor is there now) any such nationality as “Palestinian.” That term is a fabrication of our Islamo-fascist enemies who hope to deligitimize the nation of Israel and the Israeli people.

      There are Jordanian-Arabs who occupy historical Judea (land of the Jews), which Leftists reflexively misidentify as the “West Bank”; there are Israeli-Arabs who enjoy full Israeli citizenship; and there are Egyptian-Arabs in 99% Muslim (100% Judenfrei) apartheid Gaza (aka, Hamastan).

      But there is no such creature as a “Palestinian.”

      Try to avoid spitting Islamo-fascist propaganda your whole life.

      • Hahah, there you go with Hamastan again — attaching a Farsi suffix to an Arab word. And nevermind the incendiary Judenfrei nonsense — sprichst du eigentlich Deustch, oder?

        Nor is Egypt free of Jews — there are still some there.

        “But there is no such creature as a “Palestinian.””

        There are people who identify themselves as such, and the usage of which has predated the modern state of Israel. You can take it or leave it. It’s a national identity that has little to do with the neoconservative idea of “Islamofascism.” Hint: Ask Walter Lacquer or Chistopher Browning if they think that’s a respectable or legitimate term. I’m pretty sure I can guess what the answer is.

        But please, keep continuing with your ill-informed missives and invective. It’s really helping things.

        • “Islamic fascism, Islamophobia and antisemitism, each in its way, are imprecise terms we could well do without but it is doubtful whether they can be removed from our political lexicon.”

          Walter Laquer

        • There are people who “identify themselves” as vampires and klingons… repeating their nonsense does not make it so. There is no such creature as a “Palestinian.”

          Gaza inhabitants are Egyptian-Arabs and are ethnically distinct from Jordanian-Arabs. If every Israeli disappeared tomorrow (in some SDS wet dream), do Leftists imagine those rival tribes wouldn’t return to slaughtering each other?

          But while Jordanian-Arabs only aspire to render Judea (the so-called “West Bank”) completely Judenfrei, only the Islamo-fascists of Apartheid Gaza have rendered Gaza 100% Judenfrei– a fact unacknowledged by Leftist-fascists committed to destroying multi-cultural, democratic Israel.

          Don’t be ethnic cleansing advocates and Hamas apologists your whole life.

          “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
          [Matt 23:24]

          • Hamas sucks. They’re theocratic brutes who are unwilling to compromise.

            You’re not to different. The difference between, uh, vampires and Palestinians is that Palestinians have a rich cultural history and are recognized as a national identity by most people. This is what we go on in the world of self-determination. Lots of Turks have tried to undermine Kurds, Georgians the Abkhazians and Lord knows that Transniestria is barely hanging on by a thread. Even supposing that Palestinian is some false nationality, then “Jordanian-Arabs” have been living at the site for centuries, and many of them lost their homes in the nakbah (many Jews in Arab lands also lost their homes when Israel was created. Both were tragedies). That they now want a state — be it as Palestine or something else — is up to them. “American” wasn’t a nationality before the U.S.’ creation. Indeed, most colonists considered themselves British subjects, and only about a third supported the revolution.

            “Gaza inhabitants are Egyptian-Arabs and are ethnically distinct from Jordanian-Arabs. If every Israeli disappeared tomorrow (in some SDS wet dream), do Leftists imagine those rival tribes wouldn’t return to slaughtering each other?”

            Dumb. You must have a heart-warming view of humanity when you speak of “rival tribes.” Like all that violence between the Sefardi and Ashkenazi, right? Pretty sure Gazans speak the Shami dialect regardless. Anyway, the Sinai is pretty different from the rest of Egypt, too.

            “by Leftist-fascists”

            Your abuse of English is straight up Orwellian.

  • The Saudi Ambassador to the UN, Fawzi Shobokshi, called Israel a “racist, terrorist state.” Yet Israel has 24% non-Jewish citizens while Saudi Arabia has no Jews and no Christians… only Moslems! So which is the racist State? Also, no Israelis flew planes into the World Trade Center Towers while 15 of the 19 Arab terrorists who DID were Saudis! Talk about Deception, Denial and Deflection of Guilt! This is Chutzpah AND typical Arab propaganda against Israel.Contrary to myth and propaganda, Israel is not an apartheid state. The largest practitioner of apartheid in the world is Islam, which practices both gender and religious apartheid. Those who accuse Israel of Apartheid are the true practitioners of Apartheid!

  • The one state solution is inevitable. I am against christian states, muslim states, and jewish states.

    Israel is not a democracy; it is a ethnocracy.theocracy. Full rights for Jews; no/partial rights for Palestinian Natives.

    • Define Native please. Does Native mean living a land for 60 years, 100 years, 200 years? Because Palestinians aren’t Native; at least, the vast majority of them aren’t. They simply can not claim to be native, so please, think, then post.

  • for those who tally the dead at 1400 in cast lead, you are including terrorists. why would you mourn the loss of terrorists unless you support them?

    PS: next time tell hamas to come out and fight and not cower behind civilians. blame them not Israel

  • Matt 23:24:
    If every Israeli disappeared tomorrow (in some SDS wet dream)…

    I sincerely hope that the people in SDS don’t have that as their ultimate goal. There are other groups who (to put it mildly) dislike Israelis, Jews, “zionists”, etc, but SDS isn’t it. They are, however, subjective; and some members say they encourage intelligent thought and debate, while others sound like missionaries to their cause. H

    • Thanks Yosef for standing up to this absurd strawman portrayal of SDS’s demands. “Wiping Israel of the map” has nothing to do with the agenda of SDS or the Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS) demands that we are supporting as part of Israeli Apartheid week.

      The political demands that we are making and promoting as part of this week are:

      1. Ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

      2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

      3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

      We are critical of Israels policies that oppress and discriminate against Palestinians. We do not have a political consensus on what kind of political outcome to the conflict is possible or most desirable, but whatever it is, we think it has to include these things. Because we believe this, we are organizing to protest and build campaigns to pressure institutions that have influence until these principles are met. Our demands acknowledge that Israel exists (duh) and that it should be a nation for all its citizens, irregardless of race, religion etc.

  • This is a great articl and great event held by the uvh students. I’m sure the trueth is not easy to digest especially when the media is boast toward the isreali side. Anyhow FYI Also Israelies and Jewish Americans participate in these events it about human rights first

  • Rachel Corrie:
    Those who accuse Israel of Apartheid are the true practitioners of Apartheid!

    You realize this sound pretty wacky when you consider that many notable South Africans, like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu accuse Israel of practicing apartheid. Desmond Tutu is a practitioner of apartheid?

    Also, many Israelis accuse Israel of practicing apartheid. Neve Gordon, an Israeli historian who teaches at Ben Gurion university in Ber Sheeba Israel, has written op-ed’s describing Israel as an apartheid state and in support the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement. If those who accuse Israel of Apartheid are Israeli, would that prove to you that Israel practices apartheid? (if that blew anyone’s mind, my apologies, it just had to be done…)

    • RoB, you are brilliant.

      great job sds for this week. i came to 1 event and saw the wall. it was really interesting and fair, in my opinion. i have to learn some more about the conflict now tho

    • The Manson family believed old Charlie was Jesus… that didn’t make it so.

      The chutzpah of Islamo-fascism apologists is most astonishing when they cite olde Nelson Mandela– the Grand Kleagle of “rehabilitated” terrorists and Grand Wizard of necklacing innocents. These are the same moral reprobates who believe the Nobel Peace Prize means Arafat wasn’t a monstrous terrorist pedophile.

      Try harder to cite moral examples worth emulating.

  • Every criminal Person is an Jesus!!
    1. Because Jesus is a most criminal Worldstory! Lk.3:9., Lk.19:27., Mk.16:16. Deut.7:22., John 10:30.
    2. Jesus is a criminal Israel. Jesus is Genocide, War, Pedophily, Cannibalism in Old Testament!!!
    3. Jesus is Violence and Cruelty in Old and New Testament! Num.31:1-54., John 10:30.
    4. Jesus is Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush!
    5. Jesus is Holocaust in Old Testament!
    6. Jesus is Inquisition: Ex.22:17., John 10:30.
    7. Jesus is Superstition!!!
    Atheist 100%


    Did you know that George Kara, the presiding judge, who sentenced former Israeli President Katsav to 7 years prison, is an Arab Israeli?

    Yes –

    Can you contemplate the significance of this? An Arab Israeli presiding over the trial of "Israel's Number One Citizen", and who sentenced him to 7 years in prison, is an Israeli Arab.

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