SJP’s Black-White Prism

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Common sense tells us that the world is not black and white. However, those who preach anti-Israel sentiment see this planet, quite literally, through a black-white prism. To these self-proclaimed human rights activists, all of the world’s troubles are divided neatly into wrong and right, dark and light.

Yes, Students for Justice in Palestine, I’m talking to you.

You, as a national organization, have, for your own convenience, chopped up and chewed up the narrative of the Jewish people, of Israel, and of the Palestinian-Arabs into bite-sized pieces. You have divided the so-called players in the Arab-Israeli conflict into neat categories: Oppressor and Victim. Powerful and Powerless. White and Black. You generalize Jews as the former, and Arabs, Palestinian-Arabs in particular, as the latter. In the context of this conflict, if someone is Jewish or Palestinian-Arab, they are automatically put on a gradient by you with which their humanity is colored.

It is a racist ideology that you hold, SJP; your rhetoric implies that, despite tangible actions, skin color and ethnicity dictate an individual’s inherent intent in existing in this world. The narratives and histories of persecution of both Israeli-Jews and Palestinian-Arabs go completely out the window; instead, you, under the guise of ‘social justice advocates’, come to the conclusion that the ethnic identity and pigmentation of Palestinian-Arabs are automatic signs of a persecuted person, and, by doing so, quite ironically, amplify whatever oppression may already exist for the Palestinian-Arabs by boxing them further into the ‘victim’ label. You, consequently, strip those whom you perceive to be marginalized of any agency over their own actions and moral directions.

Students for Justice in Palestine: your name is a paradox. You claim to stand for ‘justice in Palestine’, and always find a way to blame Israel for every single human rights atrocity committed against Palestinian-Arabs, yet you wholly ignore the multitude of human-rights violations committed by Hamas and Abbas against their own people and against others. You say nothing about the honor killings, the incitement of youth, the hateful ideologies held towards Jews and Africans and Christians and Muslims of a different sect; you shut your mouths about the lack of humanity given to women within Gaza and under Abbas’s rule, about the zero tolerance policy surrounding free speech. You make no qualms about the complete absence of religious freedom anywhere in the Palestinian Authority or in Hamas-ruled Gaza. You say absolutely nothing about the millions of dollars stolen in aid money by Hamas and Abbas, while their civilians live an exploited and destitute existence. These crimes against humanity are meaningless to you, SJP, because in this scenario, the ‘oppressor’ and the ‘oppressed’ both look the same through your black-white prism.

You claim to stand for ‘justice in Palestine’, and yet you ignore the multitude of human-rights violations committed by other Arab nations – Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt – against Palestinian-Arabs; you say nothing about how they are treated as if they are undeserving of humanity, about how they are trapped in a cage of refugee status. You simply turn your heads, because these atrocities are committed towards Palestinian-Arabs by other Arabs, and therefore, do not fit into your black-white prism.

When Jews are being stabbed on the streets, these acts are excused, because in this black-white prism of yours, the Jews are always the oppressors, and the Palestinian-Arabs are always the oppressed. When suicide bombers blow themselves up on buses, the victims of these terrorists are the oppressors, the perpetrators are the oppressed.

I could go on, and on, and on, but I’m hoping that you get the point.

Students for Justice in Palestine:

How is it not racist to chop up, chew up, and bottle up the narrative of the Jewish people, of Israel, and of the Palestinian-Arabs?

How is it not racist to judge someone’s ability to have a sense of right and wrong based on their ethnic identity; to assume that an act of terror committed by a Palestinian-Arab is more understandable and excusable than an act of terror committed by an Israeli-Jew?

How is it not racist to allow your work fighting for ‘social justice’ to be inapplicable to all of those facing persecution equally and fairly, and to condemn the persecutors equally and fairly, regardless of skin color and identity?

How is it not racist to appropriate the terms apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and imperialism and wrongly apply them to Israel, ignoring facts and basic history in order to do so, and to close your ears when these allegations are refuted and when the real instances of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, occupation, and imperialism, which are raging across the globe, are fully ignored because most of these instances do not fit into your black-white prism?

Students for Justice in Palestine: Where is your moral clarity? 

Where is the justice?

About the Author
Lilia Gaufberg is an American-born elementary school teacher currently residing in Petach Tikvah, Israel. Lilia has been deeply involved in Israel activism in the past, specifically throughout her years as an undergraduate college student. Lilia has organized marches and spoken at rallies, written for various news outlets, participated in fellowships through Israel organizations, and has received awards for her activist work. Lilia hopes to teach at an international school in Israel after finishing her Master's degree.
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