Why is the Yale Daily News publishing an op-ed that calls a group of students of color, including Palestinian and Arab students, and Jewish allies, terrorists? That is the main question I have after reading “TARTAK: Is Yalies4Palestine a hate group?” 

As an undergraduate, I was a member of Yale Students for Justice in Palestine, and two years ago, I helped write a statement signed by 115 anti-Zionist Jewish Yalies in defense of Yalies4Palestine, which was founded by Palestinian and Jewish students in 2021. I am used to hearing critiques of Palestinian organizing on campus from the Zionist side of my community. 

Yet what this paper published yesterday was not a critique but an incitement for violence against a vulnerable group of students already facing death threats and harassment. It was also a reckless conflation of Jewish history and Zionism that failed to address any of the atrocious abuses committed by the Israeli government over the past 75 years that both contextualize and dwarf any actions by Hamas.

Take a massively viral tweet from Tuesday that spread the unfounded claim that Hamas cut babies out of pregnant women to 9.3 million people. That is actually a confirmed account of what the Israeli-backed Lebanese militia did during the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, but there is a reason that people have an easier time believing and circulating these lies about Palestinians than Israelis. It is the same reason why a student can write and publish the slanderous claim that a group of her peers “celebrate[s] the rape, murder and kidnapping of innocent civilians … [and] glorifies terrorism,” without responding to any of the substantive points of their statement. Because you already believe these lies about Palestinians to be true. Because our politicians and media peddle racist, Orientalist stereotypes to justify our government’s killing of Arab civilians. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had seen “confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children,” later clarifying to CNN that such reports were unsubstantiated.

We have seen this routine before in Iraq and now in Gaza, which is being brutally bombed right now, whose residents have no chance to escape or seek shelter. In the Tartak op-ed, the author compared Hamas to the Nazis, but the Israeli strategy in Gaza, according to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, is a more apt comparison: “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we act accordingly.”

So, just for the record: kudos to Palestinian students for continuing to speak out against Israeli apartheid without exception or apology, despite the risks. They should not bear the burden of explaining to Yale students why their people have a right to resist their own occupation by all available means, a stance endorsed by the United Nations. I, and my anti-Zionist Jewish peers on and off campus, stand with you in solidarity, and we will not let our history of genocide be used to justify yours.

RYAN GITTLER-MUÑIZ graduated from Yale College in 2020 and is a co-founder of Yale Jews for Palestine. They can be reached at rgittm@gmail.com.

Editor’s note, correction, Oct. 25: This article has been amended to specify that Israeli-backed Lebanese militiamen were responsible for the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre.