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Checkpoint on Low

The Columbia University Students for Justice in Palestine (CSJP) have set up a theatrical mock Israeli checkpoint on Low steps. The demonstration is part of Right to Education Week and is designed to raise awareness of the hardships faced by Palestinian students on their journeys to and from school.

“Israeli guards” are walking around with cardboard guns, interrogating and terrifying passersby, while blindfolded “Palestinians” crouch on the floor.

In response, Hillel groups Lionpac, Just Peace, Garin Lavi, and Tarbootnikim have set up camp at the Sundial, claiming that the CSJP refuses to enter into any sort of dialogue with them.

"Checkpoints aren't ideal, but for now they're necessary"

Hillel’s “It’s Complicated, Let’s Talk” flyer after the jump.

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  • Checkpoint indeed says:

    @Checkpoint indeed No subtlety gets in, no subtlety gets out.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous This is awful what they are doing. The checkpoints in Israel are for the safety of the innocent residents of the country who get blown up by asshole terrorists.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’ve always wanted to meet an Israeli-supporter with your kind of profundity and originality. I’m glad I came to Columbia for this

      1. Anonymous schmoe says:

        @Anonymous schmoe Thanks for playing everybody, but the guy above wins the internets for the day.

      2. pico says:

        @pico Right, because to be original is to always be correct

    2. sophomore says:

      @sophomore If checkpoints are for the security of innocent of Israelis, why aren’t checkpoints only on the border with Israel? Are checkpoints protecting Palestinians in Ramallah from Palestinians in Bethlehem?

      We shouldn’t try to justify everything Israel does in the name of security. Is it in Israel’s ‘security interest’ to prevent the UN from bringing building material into Gaza to repair the schools that Israel bombed during the Gaza massacre so that 40,000 children don’t have to be turned away (as they were this fall)? Are UN schools a security threat?

  • Kudos, SJP says:

    @Kudos, SJP Thank you for doing this. This needed to happen a long time ago. Innocents in the West Bank are suffering needlessly because of these checkpoints-they are being barred from going to school, getting to a hospital, going to work, etc. Not to mention their own land is being divided and controlled by an outside force. HOW CAN THIS POSSIBLY BE JUSTIFIED?

    Thank you, SJP.

  • Unbelievable says:

    @Unbelievable It’s amazing how earnestly groups like Hillel try to build better relationships with other groups of all kinds on campus – as last night’s co-sponsored event with the MSA featuring Reza Aslan showed – but CSJP simply wants to antagonize the opposition by any means possible. First it was a string of totally unwarranted and misguided Spectator editorials, and now it’s this. It’d be nice if CSJP showed some understanding for the complexities of this issue. This is atrocious.

    1. barnard freshman says:

      @barnard freshman SJP doesn’t exist to antagonize anyone, they’re here to spread awareness. The people I spoke to on their side were very receptive to my questions and not at all confrontational. I can see how this issue is complex, but ‘complexity’ is never an excuse for violating human rights. I don’t know about everyone else, but even though I can see how things like slavery and colonialism may have been complicated, that doesn’t mean that I don’t see that they were very very wrong. And I think that applies in this case too.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous yeah, let’s attack and criticize israel, the middle east’s only democracy. in the meantime we have genocide going on in sudan, christians are being exterminated in iraq, china is clamping down on human rights, russian police are attacking opposition journalists and businessmen, and north korea is as big a tyrannical hellhole as it’s always been.

    but no, the columbia university socialists have more important things to fuss about in their spare time. it’s funny how they think israeli checkpoints are so bad, and then they ignore places like the “tropical paradise” of cuba. let them have their moment on the steps. then we can see what a joke socialists are in this country.

    1. Now, sir says:

      @Now, sir To heap together all the global conflicts like you have and attempt to make some sort of argument about them all attests to your own ignorance more than it does to legitimize your point

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous i’m just saying there are worse things in this world than a country trying to defend itself. dismissing all these examples of situations that are far, far worse than students being hassled at a checkpoint is evidence of your ignorance, sir.

        1. sjpsupporter says:

          @sjpsupporter you’re right. there are worse things than students being hassled at a checkpoint everyday. like 40,000 students being turned away from schools in gaza because israel won’t let palestinians re-build the schools that israel bombed. see the UN’s report on this here:

          you know what’s also worse? israel bombing UN schools during the gaza massacre.

          see info on that atrocity here:

  • Now stop and think says:

    @Now stop and think Remember that moment in your Columbia/Barnard undergraduate experience when you learned about those ethical dilemmas without a straightforward solution? Well let me remind you, this is one of those. Whether for or against the Palestinian or Israeli cause, the fact is that ordinary civilians from both sides have suffered for decades of political stalemate. The first step to any peace plan is dialogue and more dialogue–today’s showing on Low from both sides certainly helps that cause.

    1. Really? says:

      @Really? “The first step to any peace plan is dialogue and more dialogue–today’s showing on Low from both sides certainly helps that cause”

      I disagree. Vehemently. Dialog for the sake of show is bullshit; dialog which does not acknowledge complexity is nothing but logorrhea.

      Peace can only be achieved through mutual understanding. Stunts like these do not promote understanding, they promote anger. Anger does not lead to peace.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Well do you really think any meaningful dialogue should take place in student-led protests? Or rather, is it the job of such demonstrations to raise a general awareness in the hope of convincing more students to attend scholastic forums and read more published literature on the issue?

        1. Really? says:

          @Really? “Well do you really think any meaningful dialogue should take place in student-led protests?”

          If not here, where should meaningful dialog take place? Be the change you seek mate.

          “Or rather, is it the job of such demonstrations to raise a general awareness in the hope of convincing more students to attend scholastic forums and read more published literature on the issue?”

          If this demonstration were a means to publicize a less inflammatory or hyperbolic two-sided event, then sure, they’d be doing a great job. But that is not what they are doing. Their message is one of shame and anger, and I hold Columbians to a higher standard.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous If you really are interested in finding real answers to a decades-long problem, attending a student protest won’t do you any good. Don’t take my word for it, just do a JSTOR search and that might point you in the right direction.

            Otherwise, should we really be surprised to find passionate uproar and commotion at such a politically-charged demonstration? Making sweeping generalizations based on the actions of a few over-zealous demonstrators does not help the greater cause at large, either. Nobody said the peace process was going to be a straight shot.

            The point is neither group is right or wrong, and don’t let levels of civility and disorder sway you either way.

          2. Really? says:

            @Really? What I’m saying is I would like to see more education and less crazy yelling. Especially at higher education institutions where students are selected for (among other things) their ability to reason through problems.

            “Making sweeping generalizations based on the actions of a few over-zealous demonstrators does not help the greater cause at large, either.”
            I have done no such thing. What I said is that I find the demonstration’s approach to garnering attention to be highly unfortunate.

            “Nobody said the peace process was going to be a straight shot…. The point is neither group is right or wrong, and don’t let levels of civility and disorder sway you either way.”
            I never said otherwise. We agree on these points.

          3. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous Since you insist on repeating what I said, then I’ll pick up what you left out.

            “The point is neither group is right or wrong, and don’t let levels of civility and disorder sway you either way.”

            Rather than a perpetual back and forth, I’m much more interested in a student organization solely dedicated to a less biased approach to dialogue. Such a group can not have ideological ties to either Palestinians or Israel over the other, ethnically, culturally, politically, etc. So far, none of the groups on Low have convinced me that they are wholly dedicated to this lofty goal. It takes genuine effort to reach across the aisle, all allegiances aside.

          4. brothers says:

            @brothers will you please shut up? thanks.

          5. Really? says:

            @Really? heh, I didn’t respond to that part of your post since I didn’t see it’s relevance. No need for hostility.

            As for a group dedicated to reasonable an unbiased discussion: sounds great.

          6. Really? says:

            @Really? damn it. *its* and *and*.

  • Someone remind me... says:

    @Someone remind me... Who voted for Hamas? Who turned down dozens of potential peace accords? Who works with states which deny the existence of Israel or advocate its demise? Who bombed youth centers?

    I’m not saying the Palestinians deserve the treatment they get. However, the situation is clearly not the black and white one CSJP is making it out to be.

    Shame on CSJP for relying on public stunts. This is Columbia; let’s see more educated debate, and less hyperbole.

    1. junior says:

      @junior a public demonstration is designed to draw attention. c-sjp was also providing fact sheets with information about what’s going on in palestine.

      this message gets lost if we stick to quibbling about whether or not student groups are working together. let’s remember that student politics are not what’s important here. what’s important is the human cost of occupation.

      here are some of the facts SJP was providing. if we’re going to have an educated, substantive conversation here, let’s talk about them.

      32 of the UN’s 221 schools were damaged in the Israeli assault, plus scores
      more government ones. None have been repaired because Israel does not allow construction
      materials into Gaza, saying they could be used to make weapons. Thus, the new school year saw

      40,000 children turned away from classrooms in Gaza and more than 10,000 children in the West Bank return to school in tents, caravans and tin shacks, UN agencies say.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous why does the palestinian leadership condone firing rockets indiscriminately on civilian populations? why do they valorize martyrdom? why do they raise their children to hate israel? where is your righteous outrage with respect to these things? why do you expect israel to execute its military tactics with complete flawlessness? war is hell, and it’s especially hellish when the enemy’s fighters dress like civilians and fire their rpg’s and rockets from within the range of schools and mosques. why do you fixate on one aspect of the problem? why do you neglect the big picture? why shouldn’t israel do everything possible to protect herself, especially when the enemy is unabashedly sworn to her destruction?

        1. right to resist says:

          @right to resist UN Charter Article 51: “a state which forcibly subjugates a people to colonial or alien domination is committing an unlawful act as defined by international law, and the subject people, in the exercise of its inherent right of self-defense, may fight to defend and attain its right to self-determination.”

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous you do realize that you’ve taken a very vague affirmation and have applied it wholesale to a very complex situation without any semblance of critical evaluation or contextual consideration? thanks anyway.

          2. right to resist says:

            @right to resist instead of you just dismissing what i said without qualifying your dismissal, why don’t we engage in an actual conversation about it? why is the right to resist as affirmed by international law not applicable in this case?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Keep Calm and Carry On.

    Nothing interesting to see here

  • um says:

    @um Why are the Palestinians blindfolded and crouching, as opposed to waiting in line? Waiting in line sucks, a lot. It is very unfortunate that it can take hours to get from Ramallah to Jerusalem (or from the entry to JFK airport to your gate–thanks TSA!). But there’s no need to fabricate. The facts on the ground are troubling enough.

  • business venture says:

    @business venture Someone could make a lot of $$ bringing EZ-PASS to the checkpoints

    1. Fucking says:

      @Fucking econ majors

      1. this says:

        @this is probably that fucking McKinsey doushbag? how much are you making next year again? 100K. go suck your dick.

      2. agreed says:

        @agreed mckinsey sucks – smarter planet fo lyfe son!

  • person says:

    @person Two demonstrations in the same place, huh? Good thing they aren’t trying to fit anything else in the same place. Like countries, for instance.

  • I feel like says:

    @I feel like Israel and Palestine just need a little more Marvin Gaye in their life

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “Nowadays we blame it on the alcohol…. back then they blamed it on Marvin”

  • Harmony Hunter says:

    @Harmony Hunter Why can’t we all just find a little Harmony?

    1. Possibly says:

      @Possibly the only time I have ever laughed at a Harmony Hunter joke. But a great one.

  • Goddamn hippies says:

    @Goddamn hippies Stop protesting. Nobody gives a fuck. Stop importing your disagreements here.

  • this says:

    @this has gone way too far. why isnt the MSA stepping and playing a more active role in containing this type of inflammatory behavior?

    1. is says:

      @is the Muslim Students Association even doing anything about this? or just staying conspicuously quiet? unbelievable lack of action on a key issue

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous umm.. The MSA should have nothing to do with this. This is an Arab issue and cause. Religion shouldn’t be involved in this equation. Arabs, Muslims and Christians were on Low today.

        1. you says:

          @you are extremely mistaken. Palestine is a holy site for Muslims and Jews worldwide and therefore it is not just a arab/israeli issue. That is the reason that Hillel was so active throughout yesterdays activities presenting their point of view and doing their best to promote cooperation. The MSA, on the other hand, did not even show up nor advocate or give the Muslims on campus a voice. Instead we had to be represented by that radical, political arab association with which I have nothing to do. They do not represent my point of view, the MSA does but they just sat in their dorm rooms. Unreal.

          1. actually, says:

            @actually, a number of members of the MSA were participating in the C-SJP’s action, including leadership from MSA. MSA was also a co-sponsor of Right to Education Week.

            also, C-SJP is not a ‘radical arab group’. not that that would be a bad thing, but there are many non-arabs amongst C-SJP’s leadership.

          2. anonymous says:

            @anonymous umm.. it’s Arab Muslims, and Arab of whatever other faith, that were always dealing with Israeli colonialism on ground Quite frankly, being a Muslim doesn’t necessarily entitle you to voicing an incorrect unrealistic watered-down version of the hardships Palestinians face and expect me to accept it. But being an Arab, who has roots from Syria, Palestine and Egypt, and having several family members displaced as a result of this colonialism does. I am aware of the importance of Jerusalem in particular to all monotheistic religions, but if you wanna turn it into a religious things, then lets include the Christians too. If anything, Beit Laham, as we call it in Arabic is where Christ was born, is important in Christianity. Also, MSA does not have the right to represent Arab opinions on the Arab-Israeli conflict sweety, for one simple reason: NOT ALL ARABS ARE MUSLIM!!!!!!! GOD DAMN IT! So yeah, I’d rather have the “radical Arab political group” represent me as an Arab woman. And actualy, a lot of folks in the MSA deem any activism related to the Arab Israeli conflict as “radical” . I know for a fact their president does. Such a wimp.

  • well says:

    @well this has the looks of a massive bwog comment string. 25 so far in like an hour. do you think we will reach 100? i think so. lets go baby!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous What is there to talk about? How can you have dialogue with people who are taught from as early as they can speak that non-Jewws are animals unworthy of humane treatment, whom you should feel no qualms harming or stealing from, if it benefits your holy jewwish self?

    I’m not even muslim and this is exactly how i feel.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’m Muslim and even I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous You’re a jewwww

      2. i says:

        @i am Muslim and definately do know what he is talking about.

        1. No! says:

          @No! I’m Spartacus.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I am personally a big fan of the Hillel’s “It’s Complicated, Let’s Talk” flyer. It’s nice to finally see that someone is showing the nuances of the issue. It’s true, the situation is complicated. The fact that CSJP wants to argue in a polarized manner, depicting a very black-and-white portrayal of Israeli checkpoints is not only wrong, but it is also insulting to the many intelligent students who go to this school. Give us all the facts, and then we can decide where we stand on the issue for ourselves.

    1. hate to says:

      @hate to break it to you but that sheet is filled with factual inaccuracies and other propaganda . go read some scholarly work and you will see what im speaking about.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous It’s a start, and I agree with the approach, but quoting one set of statistical figures by no means constitutes evidence (esp. without contextual support)

  • spec says:

    @spec is reporting that a fight broke out circa 2:45PM on low plaza between the Muslims and Jews. Can anybody verify this? Bwog why arent you covering this?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous No that’s called a student protest at Columbia. You could also say it’s sensationalist reporting by Spectator

      1. ... says:

        @... “The two groups converged when a fiery argument broke out between the most zealous members of each faction. As of 2:30, about 75 students were gathered in the middle of College Walk listening to several students debate the validity of the checkpoints, the strategies of the Israeli Defense Forces, and human rights violations in Gaza and the West Bank. Shouting and anger ensued as curious onlookers observed.” – Spectator.

        i heard from some others some fists were thrown as well…

        1. reason says:

          @reason this is sensationalist. there was just heated debate. pay no attention to the spec until they have reporting from the field rather than just rumors

  • Nora Abbis says:

    @Nora Abbis Today I experienced what it was like to be Palestinian at an Israeli checkpoint. It was a humiliating experience for me but one that lasted only for a mere half hour but lasts a lifetime for Palestinians who are colonized and oppressed by the Zionists of Israel. At the checkpoints students face physical abuse and violence on their way to school. C-SJP is not dramatizing nor was it fabricating a story. They are trying to demonstrate peacefully the experience of Palestinian students who daily are discriminated against and treated as sub human because they are Palestinian while ILLEGAL Jewish-Israeli settlers (who steal Palestinian land and homes and kill and maim) can pass freely. C-SJP used the mock checkpoint to draw peoples’ attention and handed out VALID AND ACCURATE information and statistics. They were simply trying to raise awareness about an issue that clearly many of the people who have commented on this post are ignorant about.

    1. CU says:

      @CU Do you really think that what was on Low Plaza today was an accurate picture of what happens at a checkpoint? I sincerely hope you recognize what this was – an attempt to raise awareness, rather than a truthful representation.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous When 91% of students have missed classes because of delays at checkpoints and 64% have been physically abused at a checkpoint I would say yes this checkpoint this is an accurate representation of reality.

        1. CU says:

          @CU 91% of students may have been late or missed class, however that is not the point. Most Palestinians, when crossing the checkpoints, are not made to sit down blindfolded and gagged. As to the statistic regarding 64% reporting physical abuse, I think it is important to define physical abuse means. If it is simply pushing or pulling, the statistic means a lot less than if 64% reported being beaten up to the point of injury. If being pushed around is physical abuse, I would guess that a huge chunk of the population has undergone “physical abuse” by security guards or police.

          1. organizer says:

            @organizer You’re absolutely right, the action was not a depiction of what happens to every person who passes through a checkpoint everyday. It was symbolic and meant to draw attention to what every student is susceptible to whenever they pass through a checkpoint. This could happen to anyone and, while obviously it rarely happens to 20 people all at once, it is also obvious that it has happened to over 20 people in the past.

            The facts that C-SJP was trying to get across today were indicated on the fact sheet that was widely distributed, not in the theatrical action. I’ll post some of them below, since Bwog posted the Zionist fact sheet but not C-SJP’s.

            *More than 1,400 Gazans were killed in the 23 days of the last Israeli assault on Gaza. PCHR documented 313 children deaths, almost 40% of them less than 10 years old. Other Palestinian groups say the toll was much higher. More than 1,600 children were injured.

            *The blockade of Gaza has exacted a toll on almost every aspect of children’s lives: schooling,
            housing, leisure time, what they eat, what they wear, how they see the future.

            *A Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP) survey earlier this year found that
            about 75% of children over the age of six were suffering from one or more symptom of
            post-traumatic stress disorder. “The majority of children suffer many psychological and social
            consequences…sleep disturbances, nightmares, night terror, regressive behaviour such as
            clinging to parents, bed wetting, becoming more restless and hyperactive, refusal to sleep
            alone, all the time wanting to be with their parents, overwhelmed by fears and worries. Some
            start to be more aggressive.”

            *32 of the UN’s 221 schools were damaged in the Israeli assault, plus scores
            more government ones. None have been repaired because Israel does not allow construction
            materials into Gaza, saying they could be used to make weapons. Thus, the new school year saw 40,000 children turned away from classrooms in Gaza and more than 10,000 children in the West Bank return to school in tents, caravans and tin shacks, UN agencies say.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous ^ this broad for representative for diversity?
      What a world we live in…

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous “kill and maim”? really? blame them for settling illegally, but don’t call them murderers. it’s disgusting, untruthful, and obnoxious.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous The nearly 400 Palestinian children that have been killed by Israeli forces in the past decade beg to differ. The total number of Israelis killed is not even up to 3/100th of this number.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous THERE IS NOTHING COMPLICATED ABOUT RACISM, ZIONISM, AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. So Hillel please get your facts straight and stop trying to justify terrorism.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Honest and straight to the point! If Palestine had the resources to do to Israel what Israel does to them then USA and all these jew-ass-kissing countries would be up in arms calling it massive acts of terror! But since Israel does it it’s “for security reasons” smh!

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I agree. I’m so sick of jewish ways of persuasion. Let’s talk?? There is nothing to talk about! You’re terribly racist, selfish criminals!! Change your beliefs about jewish superiority to other races and religions and maybe we can talk then.

  • reason says:

    @reason Interesting that you equated Zionism, which is just the desire of the Jewish People for a national homeland, with human rights violations and racism. I wonder how you feel about the desire for a national homeland for the Palestinian People. Does it require racism, terrorism, and human rights violations?

    1. Aristotle says:

      @Aristotle You think it’s possible to reason with people like Nora? They just throw temper tantrums and yell phrases like”illegal” “zionism” and “human rights violations” at the top of their lungs without ever stopping to use their brains.

  • reason says:

    @reason By the way, all of the above are very complicated. Is war itself a human rights violation? Strip searches? How do you balance the need to protect citizens while preserving the dignity of those you need to search? What alternatives are there to checkpoints? If students fight the soldiers at checkpoints and the soldiers use force to protect themselves and prevent security breach, does that constitute violation of human rights?

    Security checkpoints cannot possibly be equated with terrorism. The question is really whether the desire to treat every person, regardless of national identity, with with dignity and respect overrides the serious threat of terrorism that Israel faces daily. The answer is that it’s complicateed and requires on the spot decisions and constantly changing policies. There is no black and white answer.

    Truthfully, these questions are just as relevant in the US as in Israel and the West Bank. The difference is that these question are unfortunately answered practically every day.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous To the argument that CSJP should have engaged in dialogue with other organizations:
    Don’t you think it is despicable that CSJP cannot engage in a peaceful demonstration without being expected to answer to other organizations? The only way an ideal dialogue in which we can all “talk about” the situation in the way the groups supported by Hillel seem to be implying that CSJP members should have is to allow each side to make their point. Attempting to sabotage CSJP by setting up counter demonstrations is the perfect exemplification of a way in which an impassioned distance is created between groups and the real spirit of what is being demonstrated against is lost. And what’s the point of talking? Pro-Palestinian and Zionist Columbia students can’t come up with the perfect solution and implement it together. What college students can do is bring attention and raise awareness to better the situation overseas. They can bring attention to the fact that preganant women are giving birth on the street because of checkpoints, some kids will never see a day of school, and minors are being sodomized in jails for simply having the same last name as someone the Israeli government finds distasteful. I’m sorry, I can’t really think of something the Zionists can protest against that’s quite as compelling, other than perhaps their own policies. I mean, if I were a young Israeli the last thing I’d want to do is be forced to serve in the army.

    To the argument that the MSA should have been involved:
    Just because people are against Zionism doesnt make them Muslim. Jews as well as Muslims, Christians, and every other type of person under the sun were wearing those blindfolds or carrying those cardboard guns. Injustice is visible to all people, but it takes an empowered person to choose not to turn the other cheek.

    1. Here's something says:

      @Here's something “I’m sorry, I can’t really think of something the Zionists can protest against that’s quite as compelling.”

      Suicide bombing. The First Intifada was primarily a protest movement that included some attacks against Jewish civilians. But the Second Intifada was primarily an assault on Jewish civilians, with some protests here and there. Hundreds of Jews were killed that were in no way harming Palestinians, and would have supported peace if they were alive today.

      Before the 2nd Intifada, the majority of Israelis held view conducive to the 2-state solution. Since the 2nd Intifada the number has dropped steadily.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s unbelievable how every Jewish/Israel group on campus has completely lost their backbones. Let’s talk about it? I’m pretty sure its hard to talk with obnoxious students screaming and setting up fake checkpoints near by. It’s pretty obvious why Israel is so hated on our campus – The SJP and MSA use loud, inaccurate, eye-catching, propagandistic tactics and the jews sit quietly with their game-nights and challah baking classes. GROW A PAIR!

    LionPAC or Hillel should have sent students to walk through the checkpoints with fake bombs strapped to their chests and set off blowhorns whenever one of them got through to represent a bomb blowing up. THEN this would be a realistic representation of the conflict.

    1. Finally says:

      @Finally I’m personally from CUNY Hunter, and there were flyers posted all over the school about the amount of land that Israel took away from the Palestinians.

      On the flyers was a map, and yet….

      Do they not realize how MINUSCULE the size of Israel is??? Yea, ALL Hillels should grow a pair and do something.

  • Canada says:

    @Canada Side note – the sign that SJP had asked Palestinians to do 4 things
    -Show ID/Permit
    -Open Trunk
    -Hand over keys
    -Lift your shirt
    I have been asked to do all four of these things at one point or another by US law enforcement agencies. When I was driving into the USA from Canada, I had to hand over my passport and keys while they searched my car. When in Central Park at night, doing nothing illegal, my friends and I were confronted by police (from 4 cars), who made us hand over ID and sit on the ground by a fence for a half hour with our hands on our knees while they made sure we weren’t the people they were looking for, a similar position to the SJP protesters at the “checkpoint”. While going through security at a US airport, I had to let a TSA guard look under my shirt/feel underneath my belt. Inconvenience? Yes. Violation of my human rights? No. I understand that the NYPD, CBP and TSA have a duty to protect their citizens, just as the IDF and Israeli Border Police have a duty to protect theirs.
    That being said, it is my hope that some day soon the checkpoints will no longer be necessary and will be removed.

  • Frankie says:

    @Frankie This is fucking ridiculous. Where in any of this is that israels occupation of palestinian land is ILLEGAl and a violation of human rights. and please if i come to your house, kick you out, and steal your stuff and you try to fight back…..i can’t claim self defense. do any of you every ask why are there palestinian refugees throughout the world millions…hmm i wonder how they became refugees and why can’t they go back to live in what is today israel….hmm cuz there not jewish! thats why. any jew in the world can move to israel but palestinian refugees (some who still have keys to their homes) cannot move back because they’re not jews. thats called apartheid, racism, many names. but its sick. whoever is defending israel is defending war crimes, ethnic cleansing, racism, and brutality. those of who do are going down in the same page of history as others who are on the side of oppression and racism (whether they were racists towards blacks, jews, or arabs).

    1. dani says:

      @dani the vast majority of Pal “refugees” are actually people who have inherited this status from their parents thereby multiplying over the decades. This is unique in the world since all other refugees most often find a new country and their children then become citizens of that country. Pals however prefer to live in slums in Lebanon and prefer to wait and base ones identity on a land most have never seen. strange, if you think about.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous How insightful! Is that an official statistic provided by Columbia?

  • reason says:

    @reason I think your comparison was pretty inaccurate. The story is more or less parallel to the following tragic story:

    There is a very old house located in the middle of a very rough neighborhood. Many years ago, than neighborhood was the center of town, where commerce and culture was thriving. After decades of decay and changing demographics, the neighborhood is as sunny and optimistic as it once was. After many generations of living there, the house’s inhabitants were evicted. Some poorer members of the family remained, however, they were unable to maintain the house and it continued to decay. Over the years, many families shared the house with its original inhabitants, without complaint. In fact, the others often took control of the house, setting the rules.

    One day, one of the descendants of the original inhabitants, no longer living in the house, felt that he and his family should return to their estate. When he arrived, he recognized that other families had been living there for years. He had no interest in evicting them in the way he had been evicted so many years ago. Instead, he gathered funds from his relatives spread-out throughout the globe to repair the house and help repair the neighborhood. He believed that the house could be rebuilt, return to its original character, and still house those who have taken shelter there, offering equal freedoms to all.

    The city approved the refurbishment and he went ahead with his plans. The problem was that instead of cooperating, some of the other inhabitants wanted no such changes and decided to make every effort to stop the rebuilding of the house.

    Never-the-less, the house was rebuilt. The family returned home and returned commerce to the neighborhood. Old family traditions were revived and the family was slowly coming back. Along the way, some inhabitants that were living there decided o leave or were pressured to leave by inhabitants or neighbors who did not like that the family was returning home.

    Those that left claimed refugee status because they were no longer living where they were once welcome. The original family, now thriving in their renewed home, wanted to settle their dispute with the other inhabitants. They decided that maybe offering a significant part of their home would make the inhabitants more comfortable and would be able to flourish in their own right. Still, the other inhabitants refused. Some of those inhabitants, those whose views were most extreme, decided that damaging property and hurting the family would get them to leave. They also cried out to the city that they had been robbed of their home.

    The family realized that while they were and are willing to give part of their renewed home to the other inhabitants, they still needed to protect themselves. They installed security and had guards protect their home and family so no one would get hurt. They were committed to staying in their home.

    Today, the family has put offers on the table. They still have the security, which, while it has been sometimes more violent than was absolutely necessary, has kept them safe. Most, though, want to end the strife and share their home peacefully.

    The question is whether the other inhabitants can recognize that while their initial situation is over and the original family is firmly implanted in their home, they have an opportunity to accept the offer and make the most of an amazing future.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous palestinians left their houses in hopes of aiding the destruction of israel. at the inception of the country multiple surrounding Arab states issued calls asking for Palestinians to leave their houses for a few days in order to facilotate Jewish extermination. While today’s situation on both sides is deplorable, it is wrong to generally characterize the sweep of 1948 refugees as ENTIRELY peaceful –though obviously, there were from both sides.
    Since Israel’s inception, Palestinians have attempted, strongly backed by other Arab countries (which, by the way, have consistently refused to allow their brothers into their borders or enabled them to integrate within society) to terrorize Israelis so as to return to what they view as their land.
    Israel of course has shown some serious lack of judgment in dealing with this issue; it is misguided and simplistic to claim, however, that this is simply another case of a tyrannical, abusive power arbitrarily terrorizing multitudes of innocent communities

  • ... says:

    @... i propose we gut the new northwest science building and turn it into a giant air conditioner, then we ship it to the middle east, install it in jerusalem and fire the damn thing up so everyone there can just chill…

  • Important Announcement says:

    @Important Announcement I am working on a project to uncover some of the shrouded secrecy of St. Anthony Hall’s Alpha Chapter at Columbia (St. A’s, The Hall, etc.). I believe there may be some activity going on at the house that the broader Columbia community should become aware of. Please let me know if you are willing to help me. Thanks.

    1. do say more says:

      @do say more i am interested.

      1. it says:

        @it has been confirmed that the McKinsey troll on BWOG is a member of St.A’s. Should have figured.

    2. i see says:

      @i see so this was just trolling.

      don’t worry i already know about the secret lair auf dem dach.

  • sophomore says:

    @sophomore If checkpoints are for the security of innocent of Israelis, why aren’t checkpoints only on the border with Israel? Are checkpoints protecting Palestinians in Ramallah from Palestinians in Bethlehem?

    We shouldn’t try to justify everything Israel does in the name of security. Is it in Israel’s ‘security interest’ to prevent the UN from bringing building material into Gaza to repair the schools that Israel bombed during the Gaza massacre so that 40,000 children don’t have to be turned away (as they were this fall)? Are UN schools a security threat?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Here’s the answer to your question: If the Palestinians discontinued their Katyusha rockets and suicide bombings today, the checkpoints would go away. So would the blockade. No doubt about it. If the Israelis dropped all their tanks and weapons into the sea, they’d be overrun instantly. Not only by Hamas. Also by Hezbollah, the Syrians, the Iranians, and al-Qaeda if they could make it over in time. If you can’t see that, you’re out of touch with reality.

      The Jews have dwindled on the verge of extermination throughout their history, culminating in the mass genocide of 6,000,000 during World War II. When finally, after millenia without any identifiable home, they were given the chance to have a nation of their own, they took the opportunity. The Palestinian Arabs were given a chance at nationhood, too. It wasn’t exactly what they wanted, so they attacked. And lost. And their leadership continues to wallow in the same 1948 mindset that screwed their people in the first place. In the meantime, Israel will continue to defend itself as it deems necessary and will continue as the thriving democracy that it has become.

  • italian CSJP supporter says:

    @italian CSJP supporter hey “reason”, are you really a Columbia student? OMG, you’re so ignorant. the family metaphor you used to tell the supposed Palestine’s history is so ridiculous. I am actually embarrassed for you. Hope you’ll get some further education in our institution.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous you’ll recall a guy named mussolini who was allied with a guy named hitler. together, they killed many, many jews and others. here’s the irony: if it weren’t for people like mussolini both in the 1930s-40s and throughout the course history, there would be no need for states like israel. alas, this was not the case back then and appears not to be the case currently (see al-qaeda, iran, hamas, hezbollah, syria, and many others). the jews have learned from thousands of years of persecution–now they have a home, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. you can thank your own guy for putting the icing on the cake.

      1. italian CSJP supporter says:

        @italian CSJP supporter I am ashamed that my country invented fascism, and I do my best to fight any attempt to bring it back (or nazism, or antisemitism) wherever is the case: Italy or wherever in the world. Of course grounding Israel has not been a solution against antisemitism at all. On the contrary. The solution is to do a big step forward and just stop seeing the world and history as matters which should be understood in terms of “families”. You didn’t do that step yet. For, by the way, it is just wrongly reasoning in terms of families that you can write that comment on the history of Palestine or refer to Mussolini as “my own guy”. That’s so silly.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous in no way did i mean to suggest that you and mussolini are part of the same “family.” clearly, you personally have nothing to do with him. but, as you recognize, he played an important role in italy’s history; i was merely highlighting the fact that israel was formed in part because of that same history (and similar trends toward anti-semitism that have taken place throughout the world for generations upon generations)

  • P says:

    @P I am so offended right now by the CSJP! Thia is no way to get their fallacious point cross the Columbia campus.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The idea of dialogue is a very idealistic one that I wish we could have, but unfortunately, when someone is colonised, its a little harder for them to sit down and have dialogue because their coloniser dictates the rules of that dialogue. In the current situation, when an Israeli soldier can grab a Palestinian and physically abuse them as they please (and I am really disappointed to see that people are now talking about degrees of physical abuse. Violations of human rights, physical abuse, etc cannot be measured by degree. It happens and it shouldn’t. It is wrong.), how can you expect that same Palestinian to sit down with the same Israeli and have “dialogue.” There is no such thing as dialogue between a master and a slave because the master dictates the dialogue. Colonisation does not end on the basis of dialogue! It ends when the coloniser is forced to see the colonised as humans and not subhumans. Hillel was out there today saying that checkpoints are not ideal but they are a necessary evil… What they seem to forget is that these checkpoints are within Palestinian land and they also neglect to recognise the suffering the Palestinian citizen. The ideology is that just because Palestinians are being unconvinced at these checkpoints so I can feel more safe because I am have racially profiled all Palestinians, Arabs, and anyone that looks like them into one category, it doesn’t mean anything. Let them be inconvenienced, abused, mistreated, made to feel subhuman, TREATED AS SUBHUMAN… That is why there can’t be dialogue, as long as they oppressor can’t understand the suffering of the oppressed, they will continue to oppress and having dialogue goes nowhere. Its another form of sedating the oppressed so that they can sit passively by as they continue to be abused.

    Its unfortunate that people were made uncomfortable by this checkpoint. However, if just seeing it made them feel insulted and uncomfortable, imagine being afraid that every single day as you try to travel within your own land, you will be subjected to this kind of humiliation. what C-SJP brought to Low today might have been visually intense, but it is a reality that we can’t ignore because it makes us uncomfortable. Just because we have the luxury of tuning out the suffering of the Palestinians, doesn’t mean we should AND it definitely does not mean we should criticise those that shed light upon it.

    Today, many of us consented to me blindfolded and used for this demonstration. I personally felt humiliated, in physical pain (even though I wasn’t “physically abused” the mere position of being on your knees and having your head pushed back is painful), and inferior. I gave my consent to do this and I still felt all of this, I can only imagine what it feels like for a Palestinian who has no choice but to go through this whenever an Israeli soldier pleases. This is what today is about. It is about recognising the suffering of Palestinians and Palestinian students in their own land under colonisation. It is not about SJP, or Hillel, or dialogue… All these issues being brought in are an attempt to water down the message.


  • Mari says:

    @Mari Travel security is a delicate subject. WHATEVER. I guess just give up your rights already, since our gov, the israeli gov, all govs really, are just sOOooOooOOoOo trustworthy and there will be no problem, right? I mean, lets just have them save scans of our bodies, our stuff, my pet cat, maybe even send that information to the israeli military to encrypt? Maybe they could even touch you a little too close to that special spot? Could be kinky? How exciting!
    I guess we return to the usual ‘Congratulations Columbians, for being very very eager to fork over your life to a grander institution you have no control over.’

  • anon says:

    @anon great discussion, but grayed-out comments are a little hard to read.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can someone please tell Hillel to check their Arabic? If they’re going to try and be wise using Arabic and such, at least run it through spell check…

  • anon says:


    well, before we start thinking about international problems…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Lol I’m just looking at the number of thumb ups and thumb downs and picturing the Jews clicking away on their computers to try to influence public sentiment by forming a perception that more people support pro-Israeli causes but unfortunately that’s not how it works

  • dude says:

    @dude sabotage? for reals? grow up.

  • not complicated says:

    @not complicated It’s not complicated when you understand that:
    (1) The checkpoints are not in Israeli territory
    (2) The checkpoints are illegal under international law.

  • disgraceful demonstrations says:

    @disgraceful demonstrations CSJP acts in a disgraceful way. CSJP deals in malicious propaganda that throws cheap biased facts in our faces, and try to convince us that this is simply a one-way conflict, with one evil oppressor and one innocent victim.

    Reality, as usually is the case, is a bit more complex. Israel has imposed checkpoints as a reaction to suicide bombers and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. Some of the “vices” of these “notorious” blockades (along with “violating” human rights, and making Palestinian students late for their classes), include preventing Palestinian terrorists from blowing themselves up in Israeli schools, kinder-gardens and shopping malls.

    Framing this conflict in such a biased way, calling Israel an apartheid country, calling the operation in Gaza a massacre (an operation that came as a reaction to 9-month assault of rockets on Israeli cities), and Zionism racism, is in fact pure malicious and hate-filled racism. The Columbia community should condemn such shameful conduct.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous The number of dislikes on this has just proven my point! And I didn’t even say anything pro/against either Israel or Palestine!

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous You just said that there are too many Jews at Columbia. That’s pretty anti-

  • . says:

    @. Someone remind me under what authority Palestine was formed into a home for the Jewish people again? If we can agree that prior to the British mandate there were little to no Jews in Palestine, what superhuman decided he had the balls and the power to form a Jewish state in what was decidedly NOT an empty house?
    I’d understand if it was, yknow, an empty unclaimed plot of land and all but it wasn’t.
    To put this in perspective, I’m not against a Jewish state. Just make sure it wasn’t someone else’s first. Did no-one teach you stealing was wrong?

    1. Jews in Palestine says:

      @Jews in Palestine In the 1920s, there was a large Jewish community living in Hevron for 800+ years, and the vast majority were ultraorthodox non-Zionists who just wanted to live on holy ground. When Palestinian-Jewish conflicts erupted in Jerusalem, the Hevron Jewish community declined a Hagana offer for protection because they trusted their Arab neighbors. Sadly, the community was wrong. The result was the first ethnic cleansing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

  • an american in palestine says:

    @an american in palestine There is nothing complicated about this conflict. Israel must end its illegal occupation of the west bank.

  • Why do people says:

    @Why do people have to be so religious? Fuck “God” and your antiquated moral system / cultures. Live like a human being and worry about what’s happening now, not the past or the future. Society needs to grow up.

  • arparp says:

    @arparp If Agamemnon hadn’t killed Iphigenia, then there would be no checkpoints. If Clytemnestra hadn’t killed Agamemnon, then there would be no checkpoints. Of course, if Atreus hadn’t fed Thysestes’ his own slaughtered children, then there would be no checkpoints. But *really*, if Orestes hadn’t killed Clytemnestra, there would be no checkpoints.

    Anyone got Athena’s phone number?

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