In the Nov. 12 issue of the Minnesota Daily, an article, “Silencing speech,” was published about the free speech of Students Supporting Israel being silenced. While it is unfortunate that the signs for their event were torn down, another aspect of this issue must be explored.
Rather than deploring the “normalization of silencing speech,” we need to examine how groups like Students Supporting Israel normalize the system of apartheid that exists in Israel today. Mr. Axelrod’s article alleges that the situation that exists in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is merely a “conflict.” This implies that what is going on is a misunderstanding between two equals rather than systematic oppression and apartheid orchestrated by Israel against the Palestinian people. To not label this situation as genocide and apartheid does injustice to victims of such war crimes.
The event, “Hummus not Hamas,” for which the posters were torn down was a discussion about how to reach peace in Israel. Events like these serve only to normalize occupation and apartheid by suggesting that Israelis, the oppressor, and Palestinians, the oppressed, hold an equal position, and it ignores the intricacies of colonialism as perpetrated by Israel. Anything that does not include co-resistance with the Palestinian people ignores all calls for justice.
We cannot stand by and normalize the situation in Israel while some are suggesting that peace can be reached without comprehensively recognizing the full rights of all Palestinians. This serves only to continue Israeli apartheid. While Israeli settlements and the separation wall continue to be built, Palestinians are denied equal rights and checkpoints and blockades prohibit Palestinians from living with the same resources as Israelis, any discussion about normalization when it comes to Israel should focus on the normalization of Israeli apartheid.