Palestine, Israel groups hold awareness events

Groups on opposite sides of the issue are working to raise awareness of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with events held this week and last aimed at promoting understanding and, ultimately, peace.

The Israeli-Palestinian dispute has been one of the most enduring and far-reaching of all world conflicts. While many proposals of two-state plans have been suggested over the years, the core issues of recognition, borders, security and control of Jerusalem have yet to be resolved.

The issue has been as divisive around campus as it has throughout the world, and last week ’SC Students for Israel held its first Israel Peace Week at USC. Meanwhile, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a two-week event called Palestine Awareness Week. Though both events approach the issue from very different sides, both groups said their main goal is peace.

Israel Peace Week featured events attempting to highlight Israel’s various achievements in hopes of working against anti-Israel sentiment on campus and promoting an optimistic outlook for the future of Middle Eastern relations. Leaders of ’SC Students for Israel said they hoped to offset prejudice toward Israel and create a more positive sentiment.

“We hope to use this event to bring out peace and coexistence for everyone by identifying actual obstacles to that peace,” said Shanel Melamed, president of ’SC Students for Israel. “We need to get together as brothers, not as enemies, in order to fight for the rights of all Middle Easterners, including Palestinians.”

The week’s events began last Monday with a workshop on Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts. ’SC Students for Israel also sponsored other educational programming and will conclude Israel Peace Week with a final event to be held sometime this week. Called “Flags of Humanities,” the event will feature posters and information on Israel’s various attempts to reach out in times of need.

At the same time ’SC Students for Israel held Israel Peace Week, SJP hosted Palestine Awareness Week, aimed at promoting peace in the context of the Palestinian rights movement. The two-week event is part of the nationwide Israel Apartheid Week, a movement to educate people about “the nature of Israel as an apartheid system.”

Last week, SJP screened a film about the conflict and hosted a speaker who discussed the U.S. war in Afghanistan. They will host more events this week, touching on topics including war crimes in Gaza and the boycott of Israeli goods.

SJP leaders said they hope to educate students about the Palestinian side of the conflict.

“We hope to raise awareness about what’s happening in Palestine, voice general perspectives and show how Israeli aggression is contributing to violence in the area. Overall, our main goal is peace,” said Alex Shams, SJP president and a Daily Trojan staff member.

Melamed said ’SC Students for Israel decided to hold Israel Peace Week last week as a response to Israel Apartheid Week.

Many students said they are glad work is being done to raise awareness on both sides of the issue.

“Already at my time at USC, I’ve witnessed anti-Israel activities on campus and encountered ignorant comments from students and administration regarding Middle Eastern politics, so it’s reassuring to see efforts being made to counteract these beliefs and support true peace and cooperation,” said Daniella Fischel, a freshman majoring in business administration and cinema-television.

Mariel Levine, a freshman majoring in communication, said she hopes the two groups’ events will help in the quest for peace.

“I hope this week helps USC students come together despite their different backgrounds, religions and belief systems in order to rally for a common cause of coexistence and harmony in the Middle East,” Levine said.

Shams noted, however, that the goal of peace and common ground might be better achieved if Palestine Awareness Week and Israel Peace Week were not held at the same time.

“We should plan in ways that allow both of us to come to events,” he said.

Still, leaders of both groups said they want to work toward a peaceful resolution.

“We want to encourage a positive response to the conflict going on and look towards a brighter future instead of blaming others or pointing fingers,” Melamed said.

5 replies
  1. Jack
    Jack says:

    LOL.. yeah Israel needs to definitely go on a PR campaign (which is what it’s trying to do) after killing 1300 people.

  2. Before you boycott Israel
    Before you boycott Israel says:

    Before you boycott Israel

    We at Texans for Israel would like to help interested students boycott Israel properly.

    First, you need to get rid of your laptop. The Intel chip that allows it to run was developed in Israel. If you are really bent on taking down the awful war machine that happens to have the most museums per capita in the world, you must power down immediately. If you happen to have a PC, make sure it does not run a Windows operating system, because the three most recent were developed by Microsoft Israel.

    If you are forced to use your computer, make sure you do not use AOL Instant Messenger, Gmail chat or any other instant-messaging system. The patents for these systems were developed in Israel, and we wouldn’t want to support that under any circumstances.

    Next to go should be your cell phone. The first cell phones were developed in Israel, and it would be a tragedy if we made this a boycott of convenience. If we are really committed to bringing down the nation that produces more scientific papers per capita than any other country, we can’t be brought down by our imperialistic cell phones.

    If you are concerned about the environment, boycotting Israel could be difficult. Many solar power plants use technology that was invented by Israelis, and many of them were even installed by these terrible people. On the upside, the increased fossil fuels you will use will support freedom fighters such as Hamas and al-Qaida who are dedicated to bringing down the evil country that has the most Ph.D.s per capita.

    If you are a farmer, particularly in dry areas of Texas, do not use drip irrigation on your fields. This method of irrigation that saves thousands of gallons of water per year was developed in Israel.

    If you go to a hospital, you are going to have to take many special precautions to ensure that you are not aiding Israel. If you have a gastrointestinal disease, make sure that the doctors do not use a “pill cam” to diagnose you, as these were developed in Israel. If you are going to be screened for breast cancer, make sure you request a method that uses plenty of radiation. The radiation-free scanning method was developed in Israel, and exposure to radiation is a small price to pay to take down the Jewish state.

    If you are involved in any human rights issues on campus, boycotting Israel will be very difficult. Israel has the best women’s rights record in the Middle East and is the only country in the region in which gay marriages are recognized. Also, Israel is the only country in the region that offers asylum to Darfur refugees.

    So there you have it. You are now armed with all the necessary information to destroy the country that has given us Bar Refaeli, Natalie Portman and voicemail. Good luck!

  3. Maria
    Maria says:

    Joe– you are so totally right. Anyone who thinks SJP is promoting peace is completely wrong and mistaken. I went to one of their meetings once, and they are just a bunch of anti-semites who want to bring down Israel. Im glad the Israeli group is finally standing up and telling the truth about the middle east to the world. The Arabs, including the palestinians only want peace if ti means all the jews are dead.

    • m. pakranian
      m. pakranian says:

      wtf? you’re so fill of it. i go to every meeting and know every single person who has attended.

      a blatant liar, just like israel. what a surprise.

  4. Joe
    Joe says:

    “Groups on opposite sides of the issue are working … with events held this week and last aimed at promoting understanding and, ultimately, peace.”

    No, my poor misinformed friend, the “Palestinian” students association is working to promote anti-semitism as a legitimate, mainstream attitude. The only kind of “peace” they want is the “peace” they think will ensue when the last Israeli Jew is dead. Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to think that the idiot college kids who follow their liberal professors to this kind of rally actually BELIEVE themselves to be working for genocide (everyone but sociopaths thinks they’re on the side of good) but the reality is that they ARE working to promote anti-semitism and undermine Israel’s right to exist.

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