Editor’s note: The News reached out to Yalies4Palestine and asked if group members would like to issue a comment or a concurrent column; the organization declined.
We college students love our music festivals. The Tribe of Nova trance music festival, an all-night event with over 3,500 attendees, looked pretty cool to me. Maybe raves aren’t everyone’s style, but we should at least agree that getting dressed up for an event is a common Yale phenomenon. In our case, it’s often for formals and the like. You get the picture.
Help me out. Imagine being at the festival. You’re dressed up. You’ve traveled from afar with your friends to the desert. You’re singing. You’re dancing. You’re happy. You see gray dots in the air and start to hear booms. You’re confused. Why is the music so discordant?
You’re running. You’re screaming. You’re being chased through the open desert. Men with guns are running after you. You have nowhere to hide. What will you do? Play dead? Hide behind a body sprawled on the floor? Keep running? But where will you go?
This is precisely what happened in the Israeli desert this weekend. Except you weren’t there. You weren’t one of the 3,500 present, and you fortunately weren’t one of the 260 murdered. You fortunately weren’t abducted by Hamas fighters (if you’re a woman, child or elderly person), or shot or beheaded or killed in some other creative way on the spot (if you’re a man). You certainly weren’t Shani Louk, the young woman with a bullet in her head depicted stripped to her underwear with her legs “bent at unnatural angles” in the back of a pickup truck driven by the men.
This sort of barbarism went on throughout Israel this weekend, committed by Hamas terrorists from Gaza intent on killing as many Jews as possible. Yes, they raped women. Yes, they kidnapped children. Yes, they beheaded men. Yes, they cheered the whole time. It’s all on video. Over 1,200 are dead, not to mention those kidnapped and maimed. This is terror, and Hamas is a designated terrorist group — as described by the United States, European Union and dozens of other countries.
Many Yalies have been frantically calling their friends and relatives in Israel, myself included. I fell into my mother’s arms (and many others’) crying this week. She escaped Iran, the very regime that supported, funded and supplied this weekend’s massacres. We’re all crying, and we don’t know what to do. People are hunting us.
You can imagine my horror to find that Yalies4Palestine decided that the murderers are absolved of their responsibility in an Instagram post that holds “the Israeli Zionist regime responsible for the unfolding violence,” thereby justifying the use of unlawful violence against civilians (again: terror). An original Y4P post called on “the Yale community to celebrate the resistance’s success.”
The most recent post goes on to express “full support of the Palestinian people’s right to resist colonization and return to their land,” dismissing “nonviolent acts of resistance” as ineffective.
“Breaking out of a prison requires force … We stand with all colonized people fighting for their liberation.” The statement is followed by an invitation to an Oct. 9 rally “to uplift the calls of resistance.”
This language should terrify you.
Violent resistance against the State is different from murdering babies with their families, which was Hamas’ only accomplishment this week — not liberation. And why is Y4P not rejecting but celebrating the horrors in and of themselves?
Anyone with eyes can see that streets lined with dead civilian bodies are a bad thing. Mothers screaming for their children? Bad thing. Do I have to go on? Watch the videos before you celebrate “the resistance,” I urge you. If you’re any sort of human being at all, they’ll make you sick. Imagine it’s you or your mother or your little brother. Would you call that resistance? No. Who would you blame? I’d blame the perpetrator — not the victim. Campus hate groups, which I define by their support for terror, are free to disagree. But you don’t want to be a part of that.
There is no place for student organizations who publicly celebrate the murder and kidnapping of innocent civilians. Y4P glorifies terrorism, cloaking it in the language of justice and human rights to feign innocence. For shame.
Now that you’ve done all that imagining, look to the Jewish students at Yale who don’t need to imagine. These events are a familiar history to us. The Nazis also killed innocent Jews, and, like Hamas (which is influenced by the Nazis), they also justified those murders by calling the Jews oppressors. The same goes for the Crusaders, Inquisitors and Romans. And for the pogroms in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. How many classes on historical continuity does a Yalie need to take to see the connection?
For now, the Jewish community at Yale is mourning together. Vigils, prayer groups, protests, even challah-bake fundraisers. We have no interest justifying these horrors or shifting the conversation to a series of pathetic whataboutisms, not to mention celebrations, including the Oct. 9 rally. We’re grieving, and you’re welcome to join us.
You were not at the music festival. You didn’t open your door to a man with a gun zip-tying your hands behind your back and shoving you into his car. Your corpse isn’t being desecrated and spat on. Neither is your grandmother’s. Your little siblings are safe at home.
You have a choice. You can mourn with us. Or you can celebrate.
SAHAR TARTAK is a sophomore in Pierson College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note, Oct. 31: After publication of this column, the News appended an erroneous correction that has since been retracted. The News regrets the mistake and has issued an editor’s note about it.