Have you noticed the flyers describing our student funding going toward the support of hatred and anti-Semetism? Or perhaps you have seen the Union of Jewish Students and the “”Tolerance”” table condemning the Muslim Student Association and the Muslim Culture Club for its upcoming event, anti-Zionism week. As a member of these organizations, and as a Muslim, I must express my disappointment at being misrepresented. I am hurt that we can be labeled advocates of hatred before our event has even taken place, before our voices have been heard. So now I speak, and I hope our message brings more understanding to what our cause truly is.
Zionism is a political ideology founded in 1890 by an atheist, Theodore Herzl. According to the “”American Heritage Dictionary,”” Zionism is “”an organized movement of world Jewry that arose in Europe in the late 19th century with the aim of reconstituting a Jewish state in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the development and support of the state of Israel.””
This political movement led to the displacement of the Palestinians from their land of 1,300 years and thus has prevented them from being in their Holy Land. Today, over 60 percent of the Palestinian people are refugees. Their homes were and are being bulldozed as new homes are being established in their place for Jewish settlers.
Israel’s military occupation is illegitimate and oppressive. For 52 years, the Palestinians have faced tanks, machine guns, aerial bombings of mosques, bazaars and villages, house demolition, confiscation of businesses, raiding of schools, physical abuse, rape, kidnappings, torture … the list goes on. Unarmed men, women and children are killed every day by Israeli soldiers.
Our program is meant to bring awareness to the Zionist state of Israel and the atrocities and dehumanization the Palestinians have suffered.
Zionism is a political agenda created about 110 years ago. Judaism is a religion going back thousands of years. And a Semite is a racial and geographical identity. Arabs are also considered Semites. Thus anti-Zionism is not “”anti-“” any religion or “”anti-“” any race.
Anti-Zionism is “”anti-“” the political ideology and practices of the state of Israel. It is anti-oppression, anti-racism, anti-hate and anti-discrimination. Many Jews and Semites are anti-Zionists. Therefore the claim that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitic has no merit.
We would like everyone to know that our program was never intended to attack the religion nor the race of anybody. Rather, our program is meant to illustrate the effects of Zionism on a people whose situation has been ignored.
“”A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right,”” wrote Thomas Paine in “”Common Sense.”” This is the type of wrong we would like to educate you about. We welcome you to our event, going on the week from Monday, Jan. 29 to Friday, Feb. 2.
I leave you with some food for thought. As Mahatma Ghandi wrote: “”Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English, or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.””
— Muslema Purmul