Amnesty International has concluded that Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians amount “to an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination defined as apartheid under international law.” The Human Rights Watch agrees with this assessment.
Israel’s apartheid regime showed their oppression towards Palestinians during Ramadan. Ramadan is the sacred Islamic month, during which, coincidentally, Israeli soldiers have annually stormed and interrupted the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Shortly after Ramadan, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Palestinian American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, while she was wearing a press vest.
You should have been outraged when Israeli soldiers interrupted Abu Akleh’s funeral. They felt the need to abuse pallbearers and pull down Palestinian flags present during her funeral, yet the United States remained silent. Even in death, Palestinians are prohibited to mourn or rest. The United States immediately blamed Russia for American journalist Bred Renaud’s death in Ukraine in March, yet brushed off American journalist Abu Akleh by labeling her death as “unintentional.” This is why you should have been outraged.
I write this because institutions in the United States refuse to condemn Israel’s oppression of Palestine. The U.S. is complicit in this oppression, since Israel’s demolition, occupation and invasion of Palestinian land is backed by the U.S. dollar. Government officials from every recent administration, regardless of political affiliation, have released the simple statement of supporting “Israel’s right to defend itself.” Meanwhile, Israel has also continuously bombed the Gaza Strip, with the most recent attack in August.
U.S. officials’ part in those deaths slips their minds. It slips the minds of these officials that the country with a $17.8 billion defense, an Iron Dome Defense and an annual three billion dollars of military aid from the United States is responding to a nation that has suffered with limited resources. Yes, I will stand firm that Palestine is a country and nation, a nation that has existed on the same land since before the Israeli occupation.
As a Yale student, I call on this institution to condemn this oppression. I do not recall a time when the Yale Political Union or the Yale College Democrats have had a sincere discussion on the occupation of Palestine. Yale was swift to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, an ally of the U.S., by Russia, an adversary of the United States. In fact, the United States has sent 54 billion dollars this year to Ukraine’s aid. Yet when a large economic ally of the U.S. commits the same despicable acts, the U.S. accepts it.
The U.S. has simultaneously invested a great deal into Israel’s defense, which is responsible for killing 17 children in a three-day attack in early August. Do the institutions of the United States refuse to condemn Israel just as they have condemned Russia because there is an inherent difference between Ukrainians and Palestinians?
On April 29, 2022, 87 members of the Harvard Crimson Editorial Board published an editorial with an anonymous byline in support of BDS and a free Palestine. They recognized Israel’s human rights violations and disobedience of international law. Yale’s oldest and most prominent paper needs to do better through its Editorial Board by addressing these crimes. We must refuse to accept the common retort that “the situation is complicated.” Condemning the occupation of land and murder of children from one of the largest defense-budgeted countries in the world against a nation that has been constantly stripped of all but its strength for the last 74 years is not complicated.
On June 27, 2021, the Yale College Council condemned Israel’s ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians through an act introduced and pushed by the Yalies 4 Palestine organization. On May 17, 2021, the faculty in the Program of Ethnicity, Race & Migration at Yale released their statement condemning Israel’s violation of international law. Both times, the groups were met with backlash, facing accusations of antisemitism.
Anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. Anti-Zionism opposes antisemitism. Anti-Zionism is not hostility or prejudice against the Jewish people. Anti-Zionism is only against Zionism because Zionism is currently only being carried out through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Do not hide your support of Zionism behind false claims of antisemitism. Israel’s political actions against the Palestinians is not a show of political power. Rather, it is a display of their insecurity and cowardice.
I call on the Yale Daily News Editorial Board and on political activists and advocates to address Israel’s oppression. I call on the Yale Political Union to debate these international tragedies.
Israar Ahmed is a sophomore at Yale College in Branford. Contact him at email@example.com.