Mar

11

Israel Apartheid Week Causes A Stir At Barnard

Written by

SJP's banner, removed by Barnard.

Update (12:27 pm): LionPAC has released a statement. Find it after the jump.

Update (2:26 pm): A student in SJP has released a statement after consulting with other members of the group.

Update (5:43 pm): SJP has released an official statement.

Update (7:12pm): J Street CU has released an official statement.

The kick-off of Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine’s Israel Apartheid week has upset some people at Barnard, a school that is 33% Jewish. Wow, who could have seen that coming.

This morning, Bwog got the following tip:

Shit’s goin cray over the fact that Barnard let SJP put a banner outside Barnard hall… Is this a statement of the administration’s tacit support for a group that refuses to recognize the state of Israel? Is this a crucial realization of our right to free speech?

The banner depicted the Israel/Palestine area without borders, and all colored green. Some saw this as an anti-Semitic statement. According to another tipster, “a huge majority of the Jewish community including parents and alums emailed DSpar about it last night. They’re all pretty pissed about it.” Although SJP went through the appropriate channels to get the banner approved, it has since been taken down.

look up the macedonia disambig page on wiki for a good time

Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine will also have a mock separation wall and display for Israel Apartheid Week every day this week between 2:00-6:30 on Low Steps.

According to LionPAC’s facebook page, President Spar sent the group the following email in response to their concerns about the banner  (bolding by Bwog):

Thank you for your thoughtful email and for bringing this matter to our attention. We are removing the banner from Barnard Hall at this time and will be reexamining our policy for student banners going forward. It has been a long-standing tradition to allow any recognized Barnard or Columbia student group to reserve a space and hang a banner promoting their event. However, we understand your concern that in hanging the C-SJP banner next to the official Barnard College banner it inadvertently gave the impression that the College sanctions and supports these events. These Barnard Hall banners have always been student-created and, as such, reflect the diversity of student interests and concerns, but are not meant to convey an endorsement. Barnard has been and will remain committed to free speech and student groups will still have the ability to flyer and promote their events throughout campus, but until we have had time as a community to discuss the banner placements on Barnard Hall and better define a policy we will not be hanging student banners on Barnard Hall.

So, no more student banners on Barnard Hall for the time being. This is a significant change that will affect many student groups at Barnard.

Update 12:27 pm: LionPAC’s statement:

LionPAC strongly believes in freedom of speech and respects that SJP has the right to freedom of speech and the right to demonstrate and advocate their political viewpoint on college walk, or through posters on campus. We respect that SJP followed the proper protocols to book the banner space, and we recognize their respect for the policy. We believe that the banner space is not appropriate for any political message, by any student group. The hanging of a banner on Barnard Hall advocating a specific political message gives the impression that Barnard as a school publicly endorses the banner’s message. In this case, SJP’s banner depicts a map of Israel as one unified State for Palestine. It is a completely green map with no internal boarders, annihilating the existence of any Jewish state or the possibility of a two-state solution. The location of the banner makes it appear as if Barnard as a school is publicly endorsing SJP’s message that Israel as a Jewish state does not have the right to exist. The banner was not taken down in order to suppress a particular political viewpoint, but rather to ensure that people feel comfortable walking into Barnard Campus and do not feel as is Barnard is endorsing SJP’s message.

Update 2:26 pm: Statement by member of SJP, Ahmed Dardir, PhD student.

We have read LionPac’s Orwellian statement in which they claim to support freedom of speech while advocating censoring and silencing our voice. We think it is a serious and alarming precedent that a student group is trying to censor another group in coordination with the Barnard administration, who may change their policy regarding “political” messages, which have been allowed until now, in direct response to our political message. This both discredits the political dimensions of the work of groups that have hung banners before us, and makes the question of “the political” a censoring line that makes some voices acceptable, and not others.

But let us take a closer look at the banner in question. The reason we drew the whole map is that we believe in justice for everyone throughout this whole piece of land. The reason we did not draw any internal borders is that we do not believe that justice can be attained through division, segregation, and militarization. Rather, we believe that justice could be attained through coexistence, openness, inclusion, and ending the militarization of borders and military occupation. Now if LionPac believes that justice, openness, and coexistence is antithetical to Israel, if they believe that Israel cannot exist without division, segregation, militarization and military occupation, then it is they who are making the argument that Israel is an apartheid state.

Update 5:43 pm: SJP’s official statement:

On March 10th, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine hung a banner on Barnard Hall. The banner was placed after members of C-SJP went through the required bureaucratic channels and processes in order to give voice and presence to our week-long events as part of Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), a global period of action and awareness-raising that has been occurring throughout the world for the past ten years. This morning we awoke to find that our banner – which simply read “Stand for Justice, Stand for Palestine,” and featured the logo of our group (the silhouette of historic Palestine) – has been taken down by the administration of Barnard College after they caved to pressure from other groups. Barnard administration offered no explanation, and no warning that they planned to remove our banner.

Columbia SJP is a student group at this university—no different from any other group—and has equal access to the same platforms and resources that are made available to all students. Barnard College students went through the necessary banner placement review process, which included clearly stating the banner’s message in advance. Had our request been rejected, it would have been an act of censorship and an infringement on our freedom of expression as a student group at this university. The fact that our banner has been taken down now is a direct violation of our freedom of expression. The removal of our banner this morning has left members of Columbia SJP, Palestinian students on campus and other students that are often marginalized and silenced, feeling that Barnard College does not follow its own anti-discrimination policies. We are alarmed to know that ‘Palestine’ and ‘justice’ are not acceptable in Barnard’s educational space and that certain voices are discriminated against by the College.

We do not equate the State of Israel with all Jewish people, and we staunchly believe that making such a conflation is anti-Semitic itself. Not only does the population of Israel include many non-Jews, but increasingly Jews across the world (and in SJPs) affirm that the state of Israel’s discriminatory policies do not speak for them. Oppressive and violent policies of any regime, particularly one as closely and lucratively supported by the US as the Israeli regime of military occupation, should be criticized freely without censorship or backlash. As a group with members from multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds, what we are speaking of and calling for is justice and equality for all peoples. Students for Justice in Palestine is a diverse anti-racist group; our national movement’s platform states that we are against all forms of discrimination, which includes anti-Semitism. However, on this campus we are unable to even utter the word ‘Palestine’ without being called anti-Semitic. This kind of accusation only works to silence our voices and to silence our respectful engagement with our community. It tells Palestinian students on campus that their university discriminates against the presence of the name of their country in its public space.

We have seen President Deborah Spar’s recent statement, which attempts to explain Barnard’s actions: “We are removing the banner from Barnard Hall at this time and will be re-examining our policy for student banners going forward […] Barnard has been and will remain committed to free speech and student groups will still have the ability to flyer and promote their events throughout campus, but until we have had time as a community to discuss the banner placements on Barnard Hall and better define a policy we will not be hanging student banners on Barnard Hall.” Lionpac has stated that they “believe that the banner space is not appropriate for any political message, by any student group,” and that “the banner was not taken down in order to suppress a particular political viewpoint.” These explanations are not consistent with Barnard’s previous record. It is disturbing that it has not been Barnard’s policy to remove political messages in the past and that it elects to remove only this particular political message, and changes rules only in response to this banner. This behavior suggests that there is, in fact, a suppression of our voice.

Our banner aimed to publicize the events and conversations we are having this week as a student group, and we are outraged that our attempt to engage in meaningful and productive conversation about justice and solidarity with Palestine was faced with such backlash. Claiming that the existence of this banner is unacceptable is tantamount to declaring that Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine as a group should not exist, since the content in question is nothing that is not already part of our name and in our logo, as we have already stated. This does not stray so far from saying we should not be able to book Low Plaza or that we should not be able to organize events. This attack denies our voices and space as students on this campus, and we will not stand by as this happens.

It is our hope that Barnard College understands the great importance of protecting students’ freedom of expression. For years our group has contributed to the richness of this campus, provoking critical thought and conversation. We insist that Barnard Administration hear our voices and return the banner to its place. We also ask for a meeting with the administration in order to discuss the repercussions of this act of silencing on our community.

Columbia SJP.

Update 7:12 pm: J Street CU’s official statement:

In C-SJP’s recent statement, they contend that the banner they hung from Barnard Hall was in the name of “justice for everyone”. But J Street CU does not view a map of Israel painted all in green and depicting a single state as justice for us.The C-SJP banner dishonestly portrayed the current political reality in Israel and symbolically denied the Jewish people a right to statehood. Arguing that rights for Palestinians must come at the expense of Jewish national rights is the height of hypocrisy, as both peoples have historic and legitimate claims to the land.

It must also be recognized that many prominent pro-Israel leaders and the groups they represent have symbolically denied the Palestinian people the right to a homeland. The iconic symbol of the Jewish National Fund charity box depicts a map of Israel that is all blue, erasing the 1967 Green Line that Palestinian political leadership has agreed in past and present negotiations will be the basis of a future permanent border of a Palestinian state. Sheldon Adelson, a prominent pro-Israel donor who is a primary funder of Birthright, has called the Palestinians “an invented people”. When it comes to denying the rights of Palestinians or Israelis to a national homeland, SJP is not the only one in the wrong.

SJP’s banner and the representations by the JNF and Adelson are largely unrepresentative of the actual opinions of the individuals within our Columbia community. Furthermore, a majority of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians have consistently polled in support of a negotiated two state solution to the conflict.

Discomfort is a necessary part of engaging seriously with this issue. And it is a necessary part of any intellectually rigorous academic experience. All political groups have a right to voice their perspectives on our campus and on signs at Barnard Hall. The notion that we should take down banners with which we disagree because they are “political” is a misguided excuse to silence political speech. Most issues of import in our lives are politically charged. The role of the university has never been to police the publicly expressed beliefs of its students, and that should not start now.

Rathering than expressing our disagreement with the banner’s position by advocating for its censorship, J Street CU chooses to act in support of a realistic and necessary two state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We should not let this incident distract from the real work in front of Americans. As Secretary of State John Kerry leads intense and unprecedented negotiations between the parties, too many in our community fail to speak out in support of these efforts at exactly the moment when we need to gather behind our elected leadership. Let us put debates about banners aside and work for real political progress for two states: for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

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116 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    "about the apartheid system"? How about alleged apartheid system. I thought journalistic integrity was important to Bwog....

    • Fact  

      It is and was apartheid, yet debating a fact will have no impact on creating a sustainable solution for the future.

      • Fact?  

        What definition of apartheid are you using?

      • somebody who uses his brain  

        You are entirely and patently wrong on two fronts.

        First, Apartheid does not exist in Israel. Have you ever been to Israel? Didn't think so. Because if you had, you would see that the beaches, hospitals, cafes, military units, universities, and roads are all used by both Arab and Jew alike. Arabs and Jews work side by side, even in the West Bank. The Knesset has 12 Arabs. The Supreme Court has an Arab, as do all the upper courts. And these supposed "Jew-only" roads do not exist -- there are separate roads for Israeli citizens (Jews and Arabs alike) and West Bank Palestinians, as is necessary for public safety. If you think that hurting someone's feelings is worse than saving lives, then I guess this is an injustice. On the other hand, the Wall, the sign purported by the SJP as the big symbol of Apartheid, has decreased terrorist by *over 90%*.
        If you truly cared about human rights and Apartheid, consider the condition on any of the 21 Arabs states in the world, and of the Palestinian territories. Yes, there is Apartheid and ethnic cleansing, but the perpetrators are the Arabs, not the Jews. Why is there such a ruckus about Jewish settlement building in the West Bank and its impact on the peace process, but not on Arab settlement building? Because everyone knows that while Arab and Jew can coexist in Israel, the future Palestinian state will not accept Jewish citizens. In fact, if it is anything like any of the neighboring Arab states, it will ban Jews from entering and make it illegal for a Jew to own any property. People get so caught up about pre-1967 borders, they forget that when Jordan illegally annexed the West Bank (which even Israel hasn't done), it kicked out or killed all its Jewish residents, destroying Jewish communities which have existed there for thousands of years. If you want to pick up your microscope and demand justice for every hint of injustice levied by the Jewish state, why are you so willfully ignoring all the human rights violations and ethnic cleansing that goes on in all the neighboring Arab states, and why are you perfectly fine with creating another one with exactly the same prejudices?

        Second, you claim that "debating" Apartheid has "no impact on creating a sustainable solution for the future." If only that were true. If so, why do the Palestinians even bother with Apartheid Week, and why do the Zionists bother with a response? Additionally, besides for the political ramifications, the invented claims of Apartheid have been instrumental in repurposing the anti-Semitism of the 20th century (and the previous 2 millenia) into the current form of anti-Zionism more palatable for the 21st century. These claims are malicious and only serve to add further strife to the conflict. The only reason they are believed is because people like you *want* to believe that the Jew is some kind of dark and evil creature. There are no good intentions at play: the creators of BDS have said publicly that the BDS movement will not stop even when a Palestinian state is created. Does that sound like they want "justice" or "peace"? And if you don't think any of this is relevant or this only pertains to the extremists, tell me: *WHY IS THE ENTIRE MAP IN THE BANNER GREEN?*
        "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." Chew on that popular chant, then get back to me with an opinion that isn't just jumping on the progressive bandwagon of supporting any cause that flies, quite literally, under the supposed banner of human rights.

        • somebody who uses his brain  

          Just to clarify my point in my first paragraph, what elements of South African Apartheid are you claiming exist in Israel? The only one I can think of is the Wall, which is of course a superficial comparison at best. Any other defining characteristics are completely absent. To compare Israel to Apartheid South Africa is an insult to the intelligence of any rational person and a slap in the face to anybody who has lived through true Apartheid, as well as all the Africans who have sought and received refuge in Israel.

  2. Anonymous  

    Curious to know if Barnard has ever displayed a Birthright banner in the same spot...

  3. Anonymous  

    Also the Lion's got statements from a former Hillel president and a member of SJP.

  4. anony  

    SJP is a little ridiculous, I mean look at the 2000 camp david summit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Camp_David_Summit for the lazy/uninformed) There was a plan worked out by negotiations and the Palestinian leader rejected it and walked away without even attempting to make a counter offer. No one can say Israel did not try to do a two state solution, but after another country refuses to even try to negotiate with you what are you going to do? If one side refuses to even make an offer how can anything be expected to get done? Now before you all call me out for hating Palestinians or something let me say that personally I believe in a two state solution where the west bank should be the Palestinian state, since they have a somewhat reasonable government, but the Gaza strip is actually run by a terrorist organization and if they were left on their own a Afghanistan being ruled by the taliban like situation would probably occur.

    • Anonymous  

      keeping in mind that the "other country" trying to negotiate has infinitely more resources and is actively occupying their land? it's impossible to negotiate fairly under these conditions. also, please keep in mind that Arafat is not directly involved with SJP-Columbia (or really related in any way), so maybe you shouldn't describe his actions as those of SJP? thanks.

      • anony  

        The point wasn't that Arafat is part of SJP at Columbia or that hes part of any of this right now hes dead so that would be really hard. You are just trying to find something to get mad about here, but the truth is he was the leader of the Palestinians and therefore spoke for them. His refusal to even propose a counter offer when both sides were in a real position to negotiate a deal has nothing to do with resources, he simply walked away. No matter what side you agree with you must admit that if one side does not even make an attempt to negotiate no solution can be reached. Resources don't matter if one side didn't talk.

      • Anonymous

        keeping in mind that the "other country" was a barren desert until the Jewish people turned it into a thriving, diversified economy

      • Fair?  

        What made the land theirs? Each side has a myth to claim birthright so let's put that aside. The Israelis fought in war for that land - most of which was captured when Arab nations attacked Israel after it proclaimed its independence. But the Israelis still came to the negotiating table and offered concessions. So after Israel loses its people in a war started by Palestinians and aggressor nations, it should come to the bargaining table and say "Arafat, how would you like to carve up my nation? Let's be fair"? The Arab nations had more resources and manpower when they attacked Israel but you don't claim that was unfair.

  5. Barnard

    wow. THE worst reporting I've seen in a while now. Get a grip Bwog.

    Just because you guys have the platform doesn't mean you can provide such a laconic yet politicized story.

  6. Wait

    Are we not talking about gender?

  7. Does anyone ever wonder

    why Columbia SJP members aren't listed on their website? Why do they insist on remaining anonymous?

    • Because

      As evidenced by this occurrence, respected American institutions don't really like it when you support things they don't support. No one wants to not get hired because they are pro-Palestine ... and a lot of these people want to go into diplomacy.

    • julia

      lmao, "anonymous?" SJP members hold public events all the time, one of which is Israel Apartheid Week. Also, most student groups do not have an official membership process, even if they do have a process for electing leadership. Your comment is a red herring.

  8. Rest in Peace

    Exactly three years ago today, Palestinian terrorists brutally stabbed three young children and their parents as they lay sleeping in their home in Itamar. On that day, we mourned the deaths of Ruth, Udi, Yoav, Elad, and Hadas Fogel. Today, we honor their memory.

  9. Anonymous  

    The only way this week could get any worse is if SJP and LionPac hold a Mexican themed beer pong party where a sexual assault occurs which is covered up by the administration and then they all get sent to CPS but CPS is so inept that they make everyone act out their feelings in yellow face.

  10. Arsene Wenger /Bayern_Munich/ edition  

    >tfw no qt Jewish gf to go on birthright with ;_;

  11. Anonymous

    if you support Palestine.
    U R DUM.

    Plain and simple fact of life.

    Why would you stand behind a people that embrace Sharia Law. A code of conduct that advocates throwing homosexuals off buildings, stoning adulterers to death, and dismembering petty thieves. Don't believe me? Look it up. You want gender equality? No way in hell that ever will arise anywhere in an Islamic state. Women in Saudi Arabia can't even drive. Christian and want to worship? Can't. They'll burn your churches, rape your women, and behead you for Apostasy (again don't believe me? there's a Tunisian video to back me up).

    Israel is the freest and most tolerant state in the middle east. A location this important to so many major faiths has no business being governed by a people as violent or as exclusive as the Palestinians.

    Don't give me that crap, " Israel's a jerk because Israeli rockets killed a few Palestinians the other day!" Israel is at war — they have been at war forever with multiple nations that want to exterminate them. That's different. They are fighting for their land that was given to them (the descendants of Abraham and Sarah) not the muslims (descendants of Abraham and Hroathgar) as acknowledged in ALL judeo-christian tradition.

    Jews have no where else in the world to call theirs. Why should they give up the small fraction of space they own to a people who will oppress them because some whiney, over-privileged losers radicals are calling them meanies?

    Supporting Palestine is not the "enlightened" or "compassionate" thing to do. It is DUM. If you do, U R DUM.

    end of rant.

  12. International Student  

    "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

    What happened to freedom of speech and the values this country used to pride itself over. America is going to the dogs, I swear.

  13. Two things

    1. Private institutions do not have to adhere to the Bill of Rights, so Barnard's not actually doing anything all that terrible, except that its argument is ridiculous because
    2. Justice is not a political issue—it's a moral one.

    By the way, those of you who think Israel isn't a blatantly racist and ethnocratic apartheid state don't know what you're talking about. This isn't some "oh that's just your opinion bullshit," it's fact.

  14. I can guarantee

    That SJP members are trolling bwog right now down voting every pro Israel post. A tactic that isn't much above the actions of the radical Islamists they support.
    Bullies/ anti Semites is all they are. Disgusting human beings.

  15. Anonymous  

    I literally don't know anything about the Israeli/Palestine debate and based off these comments I don't wanna find out

  16. Sachem'92

    I'd like to see the typically dressed Barnard student survive even one hour in Gaza without being flogged, gang-raped, and subjected to female circumcision. A women's college supporting any Islamist state or territory is like Jews marching for Nazis. How stupid are the students at this school? I hope your parents get all their money back.

  17. Free Speech  

    *is ignored in this whole conversation*

  18. Anonymous

    At least both Israeli's and Palestinians like to smoke hooka...Who is down for a hooka?

  19. so off topic  

    but SJP cannot be translated to anything but "sarah jessica parker" in my mind

  20. To the person who said "oh, shut up"  

    Has anyone ever told you you're the worst?

  21. Sand  

    The things people do to fight over the middle east. You plant something there it dies. You should move to Arizona, and get all the fucking desert you want!

  22. Hitch 22  

    Religion poisons everything, and far too many lives have been taken in this senseless battle over the claims of two superstitions.

  23. just saying...  

    Just saying that all this "returning after 2000 years" stuff (while in and of itself is pretty ridiculous) is entirely based on the idea that the Bible is historical fact. Ashkenazi Jews are not the descendants of the Ancient Hebrews, they are the descendants of European converts to Judaism (ya'll should read Shlomo Sand's book The Invention of the Jewish People and before you say it must be anti-Semitic keep in mind that the author is a Jewish Israeli). There is no "right" to this land for Jews. If anyone has a right to it, it's the people who have actually lived there for thousands of years.

    The concept of a "Jewish" state is inherently undemocratic and based on the anti-Semitic idea that Jews are a different "race" that must have its own territory. I'm not saying Israel has to go- of course, it's already there and you can't just make them leave after this long. But seriously all this "God promised us the land" bullshit has gotta stop.

    • also saying  

      The point of the Jewish state is to give Jews somewhere we can go to be safe. I think after 2/3 of all European Jews were murdered in a decade, it's fair to say that Jews didn't feel great about living in countries with centuries of rich, Anti-Semitic history. Whatever you think of the Israeli government and the occupation, to claim that the Jewish people do not have the right to a state is indefensible. We deserve to have somewhere where no one will throw coins at us or ask us where our horns are.

      • Anonymous  

        The way in which they're going about getting this land, it doesn't seem like they're going to have a very happy-go-lucky history there, either.

        • also saying  

          My intent in writing this was to neither condone nor condemn the past and present actions of the state of Israel, merely to illustrate the importance of the existence of a Jewish state. It is important that we not conflate these things.

        • Anonymous

          The British ethnically cleansed the aboriginal Australians and New Zealanders. It was terrible, and there has been a degree of compensation. But while American activists might argue that these countries ought to afford better treatment to their indigenous peoples (I mean, hypothetically at least), no one is arguing that the states cannot exist as currently constituted or that their European inhabitants should return to Europe. Yes, during the '48 war many Jews pushed many Arabs out of what would become the state of Israel. Additional refugees were displaced by the invading armies of neighboring Arab states. These refugees must be compensated, and the occupation must end.

          But to go from there to "the original sin of Israel's founding means that Israel cannot continue existing as a Jewish state" is absurd and inconsistent with the way that the global community treats every other state of colonial origin.

    • SEAS '15  

      I have never read that book so I cannot attest to it, but Jews are a race, not just a religion. For instance, a Jew is much more likely to have a bone marrow match with a fellow Jew than another random person. It's unheard of that a race would be denied a land to unite under. The placement can be argued, but Jews should have a land nonetheless.

    • aha

      This "returning after 2000 years stuff" (sic) does not at all rest on the assumption that the Bible is historical fact. In fact it is almost canonically accepted in modern Israeli society that the Bible is not a book of history in the modern sense. Most scholars believe that the five books of Moses were based on oral tradition, and compiled by Jewish refugees from the Land of Israel, after the Babylonian conquest.

      On the other hand the Jewish presence in Israel "2000 years ago" is corroborated by numerous archeological artifacts and independent historical documents. The expulsion to which that "2000 years ago" date refers, for example, is described in numerous Roman writings and records. One of the more comprehensive accounts is the "Jewish War" by Josephus. If you've ever been to the Roman colliseum, and stopped by the forum, there is a very prominent plaque depicting the conquering Roman army, carrying the treasures of ancient Jerusalem, including a most prominent menorah, upon which the official symbol of the modern state of Israel is based.

      There is certainly no established opinion that Ashkenazi Jews are converts. The fact that some Israeli Jew may have written to this effect does not mean that it is true, or that it is not anti-semitic. Not everything that every African American says about African Americans is true. The same for members of any group, ethnic or otherwise. Membership does not insulate a person against holding prejudice, or otherwise jaundiced motives.

      In fact there is a long history of the Jewish migration to Europe. Some of the earliest communities were in Rome, and other parts of the Roman empire. One of the more prominent early Jewish communities of course was the one in Spain. This, and not the Middle Eastern Jewish population, is the one most properly described as "Sephardic," after the Hebrew name for Spain, "Spharad." The Middle Eastern community is properly described as "Mizrachi." And the community of Spain, as you may know, suffered forced conversion and expulsion in 1492, and also on other occasions. As you may read on Wikipedia for example, the expelled Jews migrated to many different places, including Germany.

      And though there are genetic analyses that purport to establish a link between European Jews and the native populations of Europe, there are also many opposing studies that suggest otherwise, and establish a Middle Eastern origin.

      As for your conception that the notion of a "Jewish state is inherently undemocratic," I find it hard to distinguish that notion from the historical notion of nationhood that underpinned the founding of almost every country or nation-state on earth with the possible exception of America, and I should emphasize "possible" because it took decades if not centuries for the notion of American nationhood to encompass the universalist aspirations that its founders aspired to, about 150 years after the first English settlements.

      And of course as one of the other commenters properly said, I find it hard to conceive how a notion of a Jewish state is inherently unfair, which you did not say but of course implied by noting its putative incongruence with the "democratic" values which you no doubt value. Indeed most nationalities have nations-- the notion of a Jewish nation is neither exceptional or arbitrary-- and the necessity for it was confirmed and accentuated by the tragedies endured by the Jewish people in the twentieth century.

    • aha

      This "returning after 2000 years stuff" (sic) does not at all rest on the assumption that the Bible is historical fact. In fact it is almost canonically accepted in modern Israeli society that the Bible is not a book of history in the modern sense. Most scholars believe that the five books of Moses were based on oral tradition, and compiled by Jewish refugees from the Land of Israel, after the Babylonian conquest.

      On the other hand the Jewish presence in Israel "2000 years ago" is corroborated by numerous archeological artifacts and independent historical documents. The expulsion to which that "2000 years ago" date refers, for example, is described in numerous Roman writings and records. One of the more comprehensive accounts is the "Jewish War" by Josephus. If you've ever been to the Roman colliseum, and stopped by the forum, there is a very prominent plaque depicting the conquering Roman army, carrying the treasures of ancient Jerusalem, including a most prominent menorah, upon which the official symbol of the modern state of Israel is based.

      There is certainly no established opinion that Ashkenazi Jews are converts. The fact that some Israeli Jew may have written to this effect does not mean that it is true, or that it is not anti-semitic. Not everything that every African American says about African Americans is true. The same for members of any group, ethnic or otherwise. Membership does not insulate a person against holding prejudice, or otherwise jaundiced motives.

      In fact there is a long history of the Jewish migration to Europe. Some of the earliest communities were in Rome, and other parts of the Roman empire. One of the more prominent early Jewish communities of course was the one in Spain. This, and not the Middle Eastern Jewish population, is the one most properly described as "Sephardic," after the Hebrew name for Spain, "Spharad." The Middle Eastern community is properly described as "Mizrachi." And the community of Spain, as you may know, suffered forced conversion and expulsion in 1492, and also on other occasions. As you may read on Wikipedia for example, the expelled Jews migrated to many different places, including Germany.

      And though there are genetic analyses that purport to establish a link between European Jews and the native populations of Europe, there are also many opposing studies that suggest otherwise, and establish a Middle Eastern origin.

      As for your conception that the notion of a "Jewish state is inherently undemocratic," I find it hard to distinguish that notion from the historical notion of nationhood that underpinned the founding of almost every country or nation-state on earth with the possible exception of America, and I should emphasize "possible" because it took decades if not centuries for the notion of American nationhood to encompass the universalist aspirations that its founders aspired to, about 150 years after the first English settlements.

      And of course was properly said, I find it hard to conceive how a notion of a Jewish state is inherently unfair, which you did not say but of course implied by noting its putative incongruence with the "democratic" values which you no doubt value. Indeed most nationalities have nations-- the notion of a Jewish nation is neither exceptional or arbitrary-- and the necessity for it was confirmed and accentuated by the tragedies endured by the Jewish people in the twentieth century.

  24. Students for Trolling on Campus  

    I love you SJP. You get mad so easily. I'll be spending all day trolling you guys and disrupting your protest. See you then, we'll have tons of fun!!

    Stay Angry,
    STC

  25. Learn from the Westboro Baptist Church  

    The Westboro Baptist Church become of the butt of the joke. I laugh when I think of them on you guys, SJP. You guys lighten up my day with free street comedy.

  26. Awkward...  

    The group that tried to censor "Gaza Strip: Everybody Wants a Piece" is butt hurt for being censored. To bad Kev$ho isn't here!

  27. whachyoutalkinbout  

    SJP's statements are totally off the mark. The banner was removed because any political message is not appropriate there. I think this is the first time a political message was on display there, and it was probably approved because of a lack of understanding of the issues. Lets say a group put up a banner or saying something like "Stand for Justice, Stand Against Affirmative Action". Or lets say someone hung that on Low Library, like the engineering 150 display. Clearly not all locations are appropriate for unrestricted freedom of expression. No one is trying to suppress SJPs voice, as they are still encouraged to spread there views in any other location. In trying to make this banner issue about more than it is, SJP comes off as petty and sensationalist.

  28. Barnard's broke  

    Lololol Barnard needs all dem angry Jewish parents/alumns to keep donating money

  29. Anonymous  

    Ahmed, the PhD student, says that if you don't believe Israel can exist without militarization, then you are making the argument that it is an apartheid state. Considering that the banner doesn't recognize Israel and talks of justice for 'Palestine', he illustrates his first point beautifully. Israel couldn't exist without its military victories, just like any other state in the world that established and revises its boundaries through conflict. However, Israel's militarization was a response to attack. The day after Ben-Gurion proclaimed its independence, four major Arab nations attacked its territory. Much of the territory now part of Israel was captured during the Arab-Israeli War. Israel has given away land it got in war in exchange for normalization of relations, which it never achieved with Egypt after giving up the Sinai. The fact that Israel is militarized protects its sovereignty and statehood. Israeli citizens of Arab descent enjoy an array of liberal democratic rights that are unparalleled in the region. I don't deny discrimination and I'm not discrediting the complaints of the Arab-Israeli community. However, to claim justice for Palestine and to include the Arab Israelis as part of that discussion is to question the sovereignty and right of existence of Israel. Its people have died for that land in wars, some that Israel aggravated and others that Israel was thrust into by aggressors. Again, this state-making process is not unique. The Israeli leadership has offered a two-state solution with promises of concessions but that has been rejected not only by Gaza, but also by Arab powers that benefit from prolonging the conflict. The more Gaza suffers, the more leaders in Arab nations can draw attentions away from internal problems and act as leaders in the fight against Israel. Finally, some ague that America enables Israel by giving it aid. We give billions in aid to Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan ... all countries with corrupt democratic systems, gender discrimination, repression of minorities, and war crimes. Israel, though not without fault or issue, is a country that has afforded Jewish and Muslim citizens a life that is often better than in the aforementioned countries - so much so that Muslim refugees from war torn African nations risk their lives to pass through Egypt into Israel. If you want justice for Palestine and place the responsibility of ensuring it on Israel's shoulders, then persuade the leaders of Hamas to acknowledge Israel's existence and recognize it in your banners. If you want justice for ALL the people as you claim, including the Israelis, then change your rhetoric to address the concerns of a unified people rather than pitting Palestinians against Israelis.

  30. Go Israel  

    to hell with freedom of speech... Take that down... Israel deserves to take some land that is not theirs.

  31. Go Israel  

    To hell with freedom of speech. Take that down. Israel deserves to take what they want from anybody.

  32. open your eyes

    yall lookin at a jewish conspiracy plain and simple

  33. Anonymous  

    WHAT WOULD PREZBO SAY ABOUT THIS #freespeech

    • Anonymous

      PrezBo would mop any arse with his feudal casuist hairdo if they promuse not to get in the way of his new campus. His mafia fascist molestor faculty reuse old exams and then complain "I didn't ask you to think, I just wanted the answer."

  34. Anonymous

    so edge, such objectivist

  35. as a goy  

    i'm torn on this issue

    on the one hand, i'm attracted exclusively to jewish girls, and on the other hand, republicans love israel and i'd have a hard time agreeing with republicans

  36. also a goy

    @as a goy

    I totally agree man. Jewish girls are soooo hot. I made my shiksa girlfriend start wearing jean skirts just so I can still get turned on. Ohhhh how I wish I was circumcised...

  37. Supporter of Barnard's decision  

    Thank god! Finally Barnard is doing something about all the political messages that my uncritical, incapable young adult mind should not be seeing on campus. I was actually, in particular, so sick of seeing the prominent display of political messages that seemed to be endorsed by Barnard by virtue of their proximity to official Barnard buildings -- WAIT -- Does this also mean I will no longer be forced to experience Birthright propaganda invading my moral conscience EVERY WHERE I GO, tempting me with free food in exchange for my soul?! OH MY BARNARD, YOU TRULY ARE A PROGRESSIVE, ACADEMIC INSTITUTION. PLEASE CENSOR POLITICAL MESSAGES ON CAMPUS, NOW!

  38. Aw, come on

    'international boarders'

    • Anonymous

      Mickey Soviet's son Chaff teaches at a mafia fascist degree mill full of belly dancing burkas. Then he has the nerve to complain about Devry. Devry kicks faculty ass, no time for academic freedom, which means molestor freedom. Learn on your own from now on and get certified only by test, the Bill Gates Way!

  39. Not so anonymous  

    Freedom of speech is important and it's totally understandable that SJP would want their voice to be heard by hanging up a banner representing old Palestinian borders.

    I am Jewish but I never wanted to pick a side in this conflict. I am not Israeli or Palestinian. I don't have to make it my cause. The fact that I went on Birthright does not mean in any way that I support everything about Israel and that I hate Palestinians. I went because it was a free opportunity to instruct myself (and make new friends).

    The fact that everyone around me tried to convince me to break up with my boyfriend because he was Palestinian did not influence me. If it did, it only made me want to date him even more and stand up for him and his people. Which I did. Ask anyone on my Birthright trip. I was that one girl who could not keep her mouth shut about illegal settlements.

    I came back from Birthright confused and all I wanted was for Israelis and Palestinians to get to an agreement and live in peace together.

    My Palestinian boyfriend then randomly decided he could not date me anymore because I had been on Birthright and because I had Israeli friends. He completely disregarded how much I stood up for him and his people when I was an Israel. He also decided he hated my Israeli friends, without even knowing them. Now call this what you want, but hating someone just because they happened to grow up in a certain place is RACISM. Yup, I said it.

    Being Palestinian does not give you any permission to hate someone just because they grow up in a certain place. Whether they are Israeli, Italian, Russian, or really anything else.

    After this huge betrayal from my ex, I find it extremely hard to stand for Palestine and to not stand for Israel and for my Israeli friends.

    Love this story or hate it. But the truth is that this Israeli-Palestinian conflict will go on forever because people are just too narrow-minded.

    • Anonymous  

      "My Palestinian boyfriend then randomly decided he could not date me anymore because I had been on Birthright and because I had Israeli friends. He completely disregarded how much I stood up for him and his people when I was an Israel. He also decided he hated my Israeli friends, without even knowing them. Now call this what you want, but hating someone just because they happened to grow up in a certain place is RACISM. Yup, I said it. "

      You should read this http://www.tuftsdaily.com/op-ed/op-ed-those-without-a-birthright-1.2859231?pagereq=2#.UyDa--ddXBA . your boyfriend's decisions wasn't random at all. Please read up on how birthright affects Palestinians.

      While it could be considered prejudiced of your bf to "hate" your friends without meeting them, and he definitely made some assumptions, he could've had some pretty legit reasons. He's probably dealt w some shit because of Israel's and Israeli's actions, and that might (gasp) affect how he views Israelis. Is it fair? No. Reasonable? I think so.

    • Power Dynamics  

      Although a tragic story on individualistic mentalities, I think you just reduced Israel Apartheid to your relationship with your boyfriend... which definitely cannot be an anecdote for institutional power dynamics.

      Unfortunately, birthright is a system that implicitly but not indirectly contributes to the ethnic cleansing that the Israeli government predicates. Birthright is an educational movement in order to strengthen false ties of nationalism -- to create sentiments among Jewish-Americans that they are obliged to support their historical land -- the violent and oppressive government of Israel.

      Although I feel for your individual troubles with your ex, I am not sure you can use it as an anecdote for institutional problems.

      • Learn  

        Palestinian nationalism is ingrained in most Muslims throughout the world in the political, social, and religious institutions.. as is hate of Israel and its peoples. Jews have had to assimilate into societies and escape persecution throughout history. Israeli nationalism is not a false nationalism. It is a nationalism based on self-determination for the Jewish people in a territory won by the Jewish people. Since ALL nations unite their people through a myth of creation, the Israeli case is not unique. The state exists and given its many enemies, it needs support from the diaspora community - not a blind support, but a willingness to engage and learn about the nation. Birthright enables this learning process by bringing together Jews and introducing them to Israel. Many Jews in America lose an ethnic and even religious solidarity to escape anti-semitism and to assimilate. This, however, is not the case with other ethnicities and religious communities, since they are often more numerous and more easily identifiable.
        Your use of ethnic cleansing is absurd. Think about power dynamics in the region and you'll understand why Israel has to protect its civilians on all fronts (which include Palestinians and Arabs).

      • lol  

        interesting story though I must say.

  40. there it is  

    The actually anti-semitic comment.

  41. Anonymous  

    This is the first time i've posted on BWOG.

    I just wanted to point out that the silhouette used on the original banner includes the Golan Heights. This is a region that was originally captured from SYRIA not PALESTINE. I have literally no other opinion on the matter. Just thought that Bashar Al-Assad might have had something to say about it.
    lol

  42. Not so anonymous  

    Is something unfair ever reasonable? Because if so, one could argue that supporting illegal settlements is reasonable.

    I am not trying to play devil's advocate, and I know that not all Palestinians have the same views on Israel. I totally understand that Birthright has some controversial aspects to it.

    Through my own story, I just meant to express how hard it is for ME as an individual to keep on fighting for a side when that side rejects your support.

    Then again, my opinion might not be relevant since it is based on my "individual troubles with my ex". But I just thought I would post it anyway.

    Salam. Shalom. Peace.

  43. Anonymous

    After SJP fought the Orgo Night flyers that said "The Gaza Strip: Everybody Wants a Piece," Dean Shollenberger released a statement:

    "As a learning community that prides itself on our diversity and mutual respect, we are extremely disappointed at the poor judgment and poor taste shown by the CU Marching Band in its Orgo Night flier. To be sure, the University is dedicated to freedom of expression — even expression that can be offensive. But as educators we also have a responsibility to criticize and condemn speech that would surely be felt to be alienating by members of our community."

    That last sentence really rings loudly. This just seems pretty hypocritical to me.

  44. CC Alum

    Fuck anti-semite

  45. Anonymous

    Wake up! The feudal casuists plan the same fate for Israel as Yugoslavia and Crimea! Kiev is for Russia, Kosovo is for Serbia, Constantinople is for Greece, what Jerusalem is for Israel. Jerusalem was always Jewish. Contrary to Hellen Thomas, the Jews were never eradicated! This is modern civilization, to wipe out the people who shaped your culture? The feudal causits want to assimilate everyone!

  46. Anonymous

    Athens and Jerusalem were the bridge between east and west. The entire fraudulent notion of "Western Civilization" was designed only to prevent the Ellis Island Catholics from siding with Hitler, just as they had bombed Black Tom, NJ before the first War. Those who raped Yugoslavia fifteen years ago, to cap off their killing off a million Serbs (one thrid of the total) in the Second War, have no right to hide behind the veil of civilization. NATO not only raped the Serbs, it helped the Turks rape Kyrenia Cyprus in 1974 and eathnically cleanse Constantinople in 1955. And because the Greeks chose to return their Byzantine lineaged king instead of the blood sucking Italian puppet, the Greek were abandoned at Smyrna? No, this time Byzantium will rise again as the Obamanation crumbles!

  47. Anonymous

    Dingbat: Israeli is in Asia and Arabs are also Semites.

  48. Anonymous

    Western means Charlemange, Jagiello, Napoleon and Hitler. America was founded by folks trying to get away from that. Now they have taken over America by uterus.

  49. See webiste above - the only way to get excellence is to have Jews, Hindi, Greeks and Scotts

  50. Team Neutral  

    Honestly as a Chill American Jewish Dude" i'm just like fuck this.

    All the "Chill Secular Jews" in Israel want a separate state system anyway.

    Both sides are wrong, and honestly they should chill out and have a brew together at Mcsorley's.

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