"It's racist!" Israel Apartheid Week causes a stir amongst Jewish students
The #Rethink2014 campaign uses emotional arguments such as “I don’t want to feel intimidated on campus” to counter arguments that Israel is an apartheid state. (Image courtesy of WikimediaCommons)
University and college campuses across America and the United Kingdom have begun "Israeli Apartheid Week" (IAW) today, the tenth anniversary of the international protest against Israel.
Held in conjunction with Palestinian and Arab groups, the students organizing IAW are seeking to raise awareness about Israel's documented human rights abuses and institutionalized racism, according to Electronic Intifada.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines the “crime of apartheid” as “inhumane acts” such as “forcible transfer” and the killing of civilians “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime,” Electronic Intifada reported.
According to The Times of Israel, IAW is linked to the Boycott, Sanctions, Divestment (BDS) movement and seminars on Israel's occupation of Palestine, its treatment of the Palestinian people will be available for those interested across the participating campuses.
The BDS seeks to gain “full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonization of all Arab lands.”
Not unsurprisngly, the IAW and BDS movement have both come under fire from Israeli groups who say the initiatives seek to "hurt Israel more than to help the Palestinian cause," The Times of Israel reported.
Jewish students have set up a counter campaign, called "Rethink2014" that denounces IAW as "racist".
Trending on Twitter under the hashtag #Rethink2014 — and on Facebook by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), the "Rethink2014" campaign features students holding signs to up to a camera explaining why they “oppose Israel Apartheid Week," Electronic Intifada reported.
According to Electronic Intifada, many of the pictures and posts under the #Rethink2014 hashtag are utilizing emotional arguments rather than trying to argue against the facts on Israel presented by IAW.
Courtesy of the Electronic Intifada, answers to why they oppose the event include:
- “I don’t want to feel intimidated on campus”
- “I go to be educated on campus, not intimidated on campus”
- “It promotes anti-semitism on campus”
- “On campus we should aim to include all students – not alienate one group”
- “Demonizing Israel On Campus Demonizes Me”
Meanwhile, officials from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reported that the week-long event has little impact and that the strength of the organizations running it has significantly decreased over the years.
Pro-Israeli groups, such as “Stand With Us” and “The Israel Project” will also be hosting activities to "counter the narrative of IAW".
“Israel Apartheid Week” is being held in the United States and UK between February 24 and March 2.
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