Last week UCLA’s Muslim Student Association and United Arab Society sponsored what they called their annual “Justice for Palestine Week,” which involved a four-day anti-Israel lecture series as well as an elaborate poster display crowding the main campus walkway, Bruin Walk.
A careful analysis of the two groups’ activities would suggest that the title Destroy the State of Israel Week would have been a more accurate one.
Signs stating “Israel: The Forgotten Apartheid,” and “’Israel’ = Occupied Palestine,” were only a few among those with anti-Israel slogans and comments. The groups made sure to put quotes around the word “Israel” on their posters, in order to emphasize their message that the country is illegitimate by its very nature.
Lena Khan, a UCLA student and member of the Muslim Student Association, stated that the goal of the week was to “have people see the Palestinians as people,” because “the media and all the sources you have about the conflict…dehumanizes it” and “most people have no idea what’s going on.”
While discussing the State of Israel’s right to exist, Khan noted that the Jews have a right to self-determination, yet simultaneously advocated the Palestinian right of return, a notion that any politically informed individual would admit would lead to the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.
Kahn stated that the Palestinians “were living there [the land of Israel], that was their land,” and if other countries could establish themselves the way Israel had it would be equivalent to taking “over another continent.”
Khan expressed her distress over the fact that any Jew around the world may easily return to the Land of Israel and become a citizen, whereas the Palestinian Arabs cannot. When asked why the surrounding Arab countries persistently refuse to provide refuge to their Palestinian brethren, Khan disregarded the question and replied, “nationalities are made up of entities…the point is that they [the Palestinians] were living there—that was their land.”
Aside from making the case against Israel, another focus of the week, according to Khan, was to emphasize the supposed anti-Palestinian bias in the media and “the desperation of the Zionist lobby.” A lecture held on Wednesday, April 20th, titled “Israel and Palestine: What the Media Left Out” focused on the tactics utilized by the media to portray the Palestinians as violent and to undermine their cause.
Considering the extreme nature of the anti-Israel activity launched by the Muslim Student Association and the United Arab Society last week, it comes to no surprise that the two organizations went as far as defining Zionism on their main poster board as “the political ideology that established the Jewish State of Israel over Palestine—now used to justify Israel’s oppression, abuses, and killing of Palestinian men, women, and children.”
Jennifer Dekel, a UCLA graduate, was an intern at Accuracy in Academia in the fall of 2003.