How Far Is Too Far When It Comes To Voicing Your Opinion?

Stuck In The Middle

By: Isabelle Mokotoff

by Isabelle Mokotoff

Flyers – a staple of college culture. Closely associated with promoting light-hearted social events or helpful tutoring sessions, and almost never the subject of a national headline. Yet, the flyers which Emory students awoke to find on their doors on the morning of Tuesday, April 2 caught the eye of an anti-bigotry organization — and not for the right reasons.

Printed on these infamous flyers was a hyper-realistic message, signed by Emory’s Office of Residence and Housing, which promoted the questionable allegations that “Israel routinely gives Palestinians eviction notices for no other reason than their ethnicity” and is aiming to “ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants.” Although the organization that created these flyers, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), claims that they only acted to create a meaningful and honest conversation surrounding the inextricably complex relationship between Israel and Palestine, they’ve done anything but that.

Firstly, the flyers are littered with grossly misnomered terms. They call the sole homeland of the Jews, “the apartheid Israeli regime,” but these statements could not be further from the truth. The government government of Israel, like the political bodies of all countries, has its faults; however, Israel is often misconstrued as an apartheid state. In apartheid South Africa, walls were built as a means of isolating the so-called “inferior” black citizens from the “superior” white ones. Israel’s concrete walls along the volatile West Bank separate the main portion of the state from violence; they have reduced Israeli deaths caused by Palestinian terror attacks by 90% since their construction and have no intention of separating people based on religion or nationality. Spewing false statements like these gives Israel an unfavorable reputation and, subsequently, perpetuates the idea that Israelis are bigots.

These flyers also fail to mention Israel’s abundance of outstanding virtues and neglect the Civil Rights violations committed by the Palestinian Authority. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where all religions can thrive and truly practice freely, while “the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the related Palestinian Authority [consider] the killers of Jewish Israelis …’martyrs.’ And as such, their families are paid for the service these murderers have done for the Palestinian cause” (Lake). By strategically leaving out key facts in the Middle Eastern political situation, SJP is able to strategically fabricate an argument which fits their narrative.

If SJP truly wanted to have a productive conversation about Middle Eastern politics, their flyers would not scare the Jewish students of Emory into submission and silence. The important opportunities for teaching and discussion surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are getting lost in the crossfire of scare-tactics and hate-mongering. A college campus should be a safe place for intellectual debates to transpire; the students of America must fight against SJP malevolent strategies and the subsequent stifling of student’s voices.

Lake, Eli. “The Palestinian Incentive Program for Killing Jews.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 2016, http://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2016-07-01/the-palestinian-incentive-program-for-killing-jews.

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