The Students for Justice in Palestine, an anti-Israel, allegedly pro-Palestinian student organization have picked the wrong fight against Florida Atlantic University student Abraham Mercado. Mercado, a strong pro-Israel activist, and outspoken critic of the organization, penned a letteron October 4th, 2013 condemning the actions of SJP for their alleged “Apartheid Wall” and mock barrier placed in the middle of campus, preventing students from passing. SJP claimed that this was a representation of what the typical Palestinian faces when attempting to go about their day. What they failed to mention was the fact that the security barrier, their so called “Apartheid Wall” was solely built to prevent terrorist activities in those areas most well known by the Shin Bet (Israel’s equivalent to the FBI) to be easily accessed by known terrorists and suicide bombers. Shortly thereafter, after writing his first letter to the editor regarding the aforementioned event, on October 8th, 2013, Mercado penned his second piece, “Letter to the Editor: Response to the Headline “Free Pizza, Free Palestine”; immediately following, Mercado came under attack by SJP. In his completely reasonable letter, Mercado described the headline, “Free Pizza, Free Palestine” as both appalling and insensitive. Mercado also made the argument that the yelling of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” echoes the call of the Arab annihilation of Israel in 1948. Mr. Mercado then continued with a personal story, and went on to discuss what the headline means to pro-Israel students. By giving a voice to hate, the University Press created an environment in which anti-Israel rhetoric could thrive. By allowing for a catchy but unethical false headline, the University Press has given credibility to an organization that attacks, verbally and sometimes physically, pro-Israel or even Jewish students on many campuses, without taking into account how it affected those not in support of SJP.
SJP chose not to respond with an apology, nor to respond with a proper statement, but instead to attack Mr. Mercado for his “[lack of] moral capacity to understand that humans deserve to be treated equally regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; and so [SJP’s] determination has only been strengthened [by Mr. Mercado’s upset response] because [SJP] as humans, are in the process of making history”. This direct quote from the Students for Justice in Palestine at Florida Atlantic University calls a fellow student, immoral and inhuman; an organization such as this should not be given the time of day on any campus, much less publication in a school news paper. Furthermore, in their horrendous and insulting response to Mr. Mercado, the SJP at FAU made the careful word choice to use the words: ethnic cleansing, three times in succession, in conjunction with describing Israel and pro-Israel students (Zionists) as racists, supremacist, colonialist ethnic cleansers. Zionism is the belief in the self-determination of the Jewish people, a people who have been systematically singled out, worldwide, since the dawn of their existence. Zionism is belief in the right of the Jewish people to live in peace and security and prosperity with their neighbours. It is a belief in fairness, in just outcomes, in reality. On the other end of the spectrum is the insidious rhetoric of SJP stemming from the United Nations Resolution 3379 on November 10th, 1975, that perpetrated by the Arab nations, defined Zionism as racism. This clearly anti-semitic belief is continuously perpetuated by anti-Israel groups on campus, an atrocity that the University Press has given credibility to by publishing SJP’s insulting letter to the editor. Moreover, rather than provide the Florida Atlantic University community with fact and necessary information, SJP, in their op-ed provided false, attack filled information dedicated to not only demeaning a single student, but further attacking pro-Israel students as a whole. By allowing for this to occur, an environment of fear and discomfort inherently ensues for pro-Israel students. As a university who claims to take actions for the betterment of their students, how can they justify allowing this hatred to exist?
Also published on the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA) blog in focus
Seth Greenwald is an intern at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA) and a student at Clark University. Seth can be reached at Sgreenwald@clarku.edu