In an article published in the Nov. 14 issue of The Hoya, Georgetown University’s newspaper, three officers of Students for Justice in Palestine explained why their organization withdrew its sponsorship of a joint program Nov. 6 that was designed to open communications between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Students for Justice in Palestine supports dialogue. But we believe that for dialogue about this issue to take place, it must take into account the striking power imbalance between Palestinians and Israelis.” Dialogue can only occur when both sides agree “on two basic principles: first, that Israel should end all forms of discrimination against Palestinians and privileging of Jewish citizens; and second, that Israelis and Palestinians are not equally powerful parties,” wrote Albert Doumar, president; Kristen Schwabe-Fry, senior adviser; and Erica Lin, treasurer of Students for Justice in Palestine.
Their group, together with Georgetown Israel Alliance and J Street U Georgetown, had agreed to sponsor an event at the college in which the movie The Other Son was shown followed by short speeches by both sides. One day before the event, the Palestinian student group withdrew its support.
The event went on, with representatives from the two Jewish groups agreeing also to withdraw their support, thereby having everyone in attendance there as individuals, which representatives from J Street U explained was done to support the Palestinian students.
According to the opinion piece published Nov. 14, “Israel is an occupying power, and Palestinians are the occupied people. This legal reality must be recognized if dialogue is to have any real meaning. Otherwise, we risk normalizing the occupation by insinuating that the oppressed can work with the oppressor on equal footing, giving credence to Israel’s position that this is a conflict between two equal parties.”
To read the entire article, go to thehoya.com/opinion/on-why-we-withdrew — by Suzanne Pollak