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Monday, July 22, 2024

Extend humanity to peers in light of Israel-Palestine conflict

Amid recent world events, we urge the UC Davis community to balance action with empathy

 

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

 

Content warning: This article contains discussions of violence and hateful speech, including islamophobia and anti-semitism.

 

The Israel-Palestine conflict has been ongoing for decades, with some arguing that its roots stem from far earlier. Violence in the area has affected civilians for as long as the conflict has been occurring. Recently, an attack on Israel by Hamas, a political and military organization governing the Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip, prompted a worldwide reaction and an upwelling of resistance on both sides of the conflict.

Tensions overseas have increased polarization in the United States as well, and in some cases have led to a rise in both Islamophobia and anti-semitism. This has resulted in an unsafe environment for many across the U.S. Last week, a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was fatally stabbed in Chicago, with the assailant also seriously wounding his mother. Authorities determined that the attack was a direct result of the mother and son being Muslim. The FBI and police departments across the country are also boosting security as a precautionary measure amidst concern over increased threats of violence against Jewish and Muslim people.

This uneasy atmosphere has localized onto our campus. UC Davis has a recorded string of recent anti-semitic hate crimes and in a since-deleted post on X, a UC Davis faculty member encouraged violence against “zionist journalists,” stating that “they have houses [with] addresses, kids in school” and “they can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.” At a recent ASUCD Senate meeting, there were reports of heightened tension, with community members choosing to go off the record during the public comment portion of the meeting. According to External Affairs Vice President Celene Aridin, the administration also called for “higher security measures” because of Students for Justice in Palestine’s attendance at the meeting.

It is completely understandable that students feel passionately about this topic. The events of the past few weeks, as well as the long and complex history between Israel and Palestine, have been triggering and horrifying for those who have ties to the region, and even for those who don’t. The Editorial Board acknowledges how deeply these events affect members of our community and beyond. 

That being said, it is absolutely critical that those who wish to protest, mourn or otherwise express their opinions about recent events be able to do so in a safe manner. As students, we are in the unique position of having access to a wide range of sources on historical context, as well as the personal experiences of a diverse campus. In order to foster a safe space for all who are processing the deep-rooted events of the past few weeks, it is imperative that we extend humanity to each other and support our community through mourning — no matter our views. 

At this stage in history, the world is deeply and intimately intertwined. It is not an option to turn a blind eye to crises simply because they are not taking place on our doorstep. The U.S. government has a long history of providing funding for Israel’s defense programs. According to the U.S. Department of State, Israel has received $3.4 billion in funding for missile defense from the U.S. since 2009. Even those of us physically removed from the conflict are involved via our governing bodies, whether we agree with it or not. 

The Editorial Board encourages everyone to actively listen to those who feel most directly affected by this violence. Practice critical media consumption and don’t be afraid to change your opinion or adopt a more nuanced approach as more information develops.

The Editorial Board believes that violence against civilians is never something to be celebrated. No matter the ends, there must always be the utmost degree of respect and care given to innocent casualties who, like many of us, are likely to have complicated, nuanced thoughts and feelings. We encourage students feeling affected by developments from this issue to seek support via on-campus resources or community support systems.

 

Written by: The Editorial Board