Silencing speech

The University community can’t allow silencing speech to be normalized.

by David Axelrod — University student


While tabling for the nonpartisan campus group Students Supporting Israel at the University of Minnesota, I had the chance to talk with students passing by the school bookstore. And while not all students here on campus have a detailed understanding of Israel’s precarious situation, many expressed their support for the country. As we sat at our table, we reached out to all students passing, and it was particularly pleasant to hear verbal support from a student of Iranian decent despite the current high-strained relationship between Israel and the Iranian tyrants now in power. It is good to hear this support because students here understand that Israel’s conflict is not with any ethnic group, rather the confrontation is with corrupt and tyrannical leadership, especially in Tehran, that denies the historical fact of the Holocaust. Unfortunately there is a campaign which has found its way to campus, coordinated and malicious in its intent, to simplify and distort understanding of the current conflict between Israel and the Palestinians whereby Israelis are the true terrorists, being just another wing of Western colonialism aimed at uprooting indigenous populations and their exploitation. Despite the fact that such a view flips history on its head, not to mention doing injustice to victims of colonialism, many are not content with simply pushing this view but want to ensure that any opposition is not heard. Only recently here at the University, posters advertising an event where an Israeli and University alum would speak were torn down and ripped apart on Oct. 8, minutes after being put up. Photos showing the results were taken were uploaded on Facebook for others to see.

What is most troubling is that such actions go un-shunned on college campuses. If students here at the University wish to be able to genuinely claim that they stand for the principles upon which this country was envisioned, then you cannot allow such acts to become normalized. Further, the events of Oct. 8 were only the most recent example of such events, yet the space allotted for this article does not allow for further anecdotal evidence. However, further inquiries can be made through the SSI Facebook page. It is time that truth-seeking students here at the University expose themselves to both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.