In a Campuswide Debate, Silence Is Futile

Rebekah Hwang/Guardian

Unless you’ve been cuddling rabbits in Pepper Canyon for the past month, you’ve probably noticed the ruckus on Library Walk.

Ever since the A.S. Council considered a resolution that recommended the University of California divest from companies supplying weapons to the Israeli military, tensions between Students for Justice in Palestine and Tritons for Israel have escalated, resulting in less-than-civil discussions.

When the MSA held Justice in Palestine Week — which took place May 10 to 14 and included the installation of a mock-Israeli division wall on Library Walk — a new flame was added to the fire.

In retaliation, Young Americans for Freedom, an otherwise unknown, politically conservative student org, invited slimeball pro-Israel commentator David Horowitz to speak on campus that same week. During a question-and-answer session, Horowitz dodged a legitimate request from MSA member Jumanah Albahri to back his claim that terrorists fund her organization. He also bullied Albahri into agreeing she would support a mass genocide of Jews, simplifying the issue into “for or against” language.

Now, fears of anti-Semitism are trickling into the campus conversation, and TFI is asking the A.S. Council to stop funding Justice in Palestine Week, while requesting that a long list of departments, groups and colleges on campus stop endorsing the event, which many pro-Israel students perceive as hurtful.

Is it just us, or did we already settle the funding debate last quarter? If you’ll recall, no matter how much the Black Student Union rallied to stop putting student fees toward the Koala’s racist jokes, the cocky marsupials are still printing new issues.

The information presented during Justice for Palestine Week — which does not even approach the Koala’s caliber of disrespect — is both emotionally charged and controversial, but that’s all the more reason to financially support it.

The MSA’s mock security wall may have come off as shocking, but how often to does a passerby stop for a tame little info session? MSA members have every right to be upset about the human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people and seeing their pain is just as valuable as learning the facts that have caused it — even if it does make the stroll down Library Walk a little uncomfortable.

We support the council’s funding of Justice in Palestine Week, just as we support its (partial) funding of the YAF’s distasteful guest speaker. If members of TFI are upset about how Justice in Palestine Week presented the facts of the conflict, we encourage them to take equal advantage of the student fees at their disposal and plan an event of their own. Ultimately, public forums like these spur healthy discussion among uninformed students, who would otherwise spend their time mulling over the “Lost” finale.

While we’re on the topic of Horowitz, though, we’d advise students not to take his exchange with Albahri so simplistically. Of course, Jewish students are entitled to feel threatened or upset by recent events on our campus, but it takes quite an imagination to believe that MSA members are out to kill off UCSD’s Jewish population.

Ultimately, we must remember that the issue at hand is the Israeli government’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. But when any number of student groups disagrees with each other, they should all be given the means to deliver their opinions to the public. It’s the only way the rest of us might learn something.