This letter is written in response to the increasing amount of non-Palestinian activists protesting about the displacement, persecution and oppression of Palestinian people. I understand that it feels good to be part of a righteous cause; radicalism and humanitarian beliefs are important politics to keep.
I am concerned about how educated people are on the cause they are so passionately fighting for. Passion can easily be confused with knowledge, especially when human rights are involved.
The college experience fosters change – as it should. Political, ideological and social transformations undoubtedly occur. My words of caution for this politically-active student population are: Don’t become part of a cause for the sake of political activity alone. Research, explore, do your homework and if you feel inclined, pursue your cause by traveling. Experience it firsthand.
Finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not easy. Instead of going along with the political fad of the week, I would appeal to these students to realize the potential damage done by spewing forth labels like “illegitimate state” and “Nazi aggressor.” I’ve read these words on signs at protests and heard them from political solicitors at booths throughout campus.
Let’s not forget that there are dead children on both sides. Moreover, Israel did not get the West Bank and the Gaza Strip because it invaded another country. On the contrary, it was invaded and it seized those lands as it drove out the invading Arab armies. Israel is a country with 4.5 million people surrounded by 100 million sworn enemies. It’s a country where people are struggling for their very survival, hardly the hallmark of an aggressive nation.
The increase in students involving themselves in this anti-Israel rhetoric is disconcerting and a prime example of self-righteous radicalism based on being uninformed. If you intend to take a side in this matter and have the means, travel to the Middle East and find out for yourself, but take the unguided tour.