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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Students for Justice in Palestine hold demonstration at UC Davis quad

JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE
JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE

Demonstration a part of International Campus Day for Palestine

Members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), along with members of Jewish Students for Peace and Davis Stands with Ferguson, held a demonstration on Oct. 14 at the UC Davis Quad for International Campus Day for Palestine.

The date commemorates the anniversary of the 1953 Qibya massacre, when Israeli troops killed 69 villagers in the West Bank of Palestine.

Campuses across the country participated in an effort to raise awareness for the Palestinian struggle.

Elly Oltersdorf, a third-year history major and vice-president of Jewish Students for Peace, talked about what it meant for her group to come out and join SJP in their demonstration.

“A lot of people really either have no information or a lot of misinformation on [Israeli occupation in Palestine], so a big part of it was just showing that this is a movement on campus,” Oltersdorf said. “We want to show support and solidarity with the Palestinians who are suffering under military occupation and showing how that comes from multiple groups.”

JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE
JAY GELVEZON / AGGIE

Ever since the occupation in Palestine, tensions have risen as college students around the country have sought campaigns for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, including SJP’s success in getting the ASUCD Senate to pass a resolution for divestment last spring. Oltersdorf described the resolution as “a nonviolent movement to put pressure on Israel to change its tactics of military occupation and sort of brutal violence.”

When asked about the demonstration, Associate Director of News and Media Relations Andy Fell said in an email to The California Aggie that the campus is a place for all students to have a say.

The UC Davis community includes a wide range of opinions and beliefs and we hope that the campus is a place where students can debate important and controversial topics while respecting each others’ views,” Fell said in the email.

Kyla Burke, a fourth-year environmental science and management major and central organizer for Davis Stands with Ferguson, was asked by SJP to speak at the event as well.

“Getting involved in the Black Lives Matter movement was kind of how I ended up learning about Palestine,” Burke said. “Personally, what I spoke about that day was the connection between and the similarities between the Palestinian struggle and the black American struggle, living in systems of oppression. There are some similarities, but that’s mainly what I spoke about — standing in solidarity for each other.”

When asked about what she hopes the university can do in addressing these issues, Oltersdorf noted the ongoing efforts toward divestment.

“In terms of what the university can do, I really think that, in the end, it’s a long-term goal but we are pushing for the university to divest from companies that are profiting off of military occupation in Israel,” Oltersdorf said. “Right now, the vote is just a symbolic victory. But looking to the future, we see it as a physical victory that could actually happen, where you see all the UCs taking their money and taking their support away from military occupation.”  

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