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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Guest Opinion: Raymond Elias

There is no place for vandalism anywhere on our campus or on our beloved mural, period.

Last week’s guest opinion was titled “Mural vandalism should be viewed as sign of peace, unity,” which, in and of itself, is paradoxical. The title strives to make a connection between an act of vandalism, which the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary describes as “willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property,” and an act of peace. Any average law abiding citizen can agree that “malicious destruction or defacement of public property” is not a sign of peace. What has occurred on our campus is indeed an act of deliberate vandalism in every meaning of the definition.

This specific incident of spray painting upon the image of the dove is reflective of degrading instances of vandalism of Palestinian homes by Israeli soldiers. For Palestinians, it implies a deliberate endorsement and support for the sustained occupation and repression of the Palestinian people. If the individual or group responsible truly sought peace they could have approached it in a much different manner. It is a sign of disrespect motivated by an unknown, but questionable agenda.

Second, the Jewish community and Israeli people are not the targets in the recent campus outrage nor are they the targets in the movement to Free Palestine. What is being targeted is the lack of thought that went into the blatant defacement of the mural, and the ignorant comments made in an Op-Ed that attempted to justify the perpetrators’ actions as being done in the name of peace, love and unity. The support of the international community, as well as backing from several multicultural organizations on campus all reflect a shift in favor of the Palestinian people’s struggle for just treatment and basic human rights.

Furthermore, to use the term Israeli interchangeably with the Jewish people, and Israel with the religion of Judaism, is irresponsible and simply not true. Such acts perpetrated by the Israeli government have even summoned rabbis and Jewish groups, such as Jewish Voice for Peace, to speak out in defense of the Palestinian people and condemn the aggression of Israel’s military and governmental policies.

Third, to attribute any crimes by individuals to an entire group by claiming that hate crimes across the UC system fall into the hands of Palestinians and Muslims is careless. Indeed, such crimes do not fall into the hands of all Jews and Israelis either. Should all Germans be held responsible for the sins of Hitler and the Nazis? Should all Americans be blamed for the genocide of Native Americans and the brutal horrors of slavery?

I will be the first to agree that any form of hate should be rooted out and condemned. The blame however, should be targeted to those responsible, not broadly brushed across entire communities. This is true for all sides, and if we do not learn this lesson we are doomed to repeat the history and sins of the past. The perpetrators may never be discovered and punished, but what is important is that the justifications of their actions never take root on this campus, or any campus. Vandalism is vandalism, period.

4 COMMENTS

  1. PS the term used is Anti-Israel, (no “i” at the end of it) meaning Anti-Israeli government policies and military oppression.

  2. My friend, when Black Africans in Apartheid South Africa were seeking freedom, was a reverse oppression of the White South Africans implied? The answer is no. You are entitled to your opinion.

    The reality on the ground is that land is being occupied. Are you implying that because someone wants freedom that it has to come at the expense or death of another group of people? That is simple minded. West Bank and Gaza belong to the Palestinians. The UN, European Union and even the U.S. government agree with that. Israel will stay Israel. Im not talking about Fatah or Hamas. Im talking about people seeking Human Rights for Palestinians. That’s what I’m talking about.

    My personal prayer is that Israel and Palestine could be one land, with equal rights for all under the law (Like the U.S.). But, that doesn’t seem to be a serious consideration right now.

  3. “Israeli people are not the targets…in the movement to Free Palestine.” That is the biggest bunch of baloney I’ve ever heard! When SJP chants “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” they are calling for the complete eradication of Israel. The Free Palestine movement’s main goal is to remove very Jewish person from Israel. The only way to prove me wrong is to have SJP and other Free Palestine groups declare that Israel has a right to exist and that we don’t intended to eradicate the entire state of Israel. Until they make those unequivocal statements that Free Palestine movement will always “target” Israeli.

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