IUPUI Faculty and Staff Group Endorses Boycott of Israel
Indianapolis, Ind. – A group of over thirty faculty and staff at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis declared their support today for the international BDS movement, which advocates the boycott of, divestment from, and sanctions against the State of Israel until it no longer occupies Palestinian territory, allows Palestinian refugees to return home, and guarantees equal rights.
Begun in 2005 with a call from several hundred Palestinian groups, BDS has become a worldwide movement embraced by academic associations, labor unions, mainline Protestant Christians, and government pension funds in countries such as Norway and New Zealand.
The announcement comes as the Indiana Senate considers House Bill 1378, which seeks to blunt the force of the movement. Bill 1378 would require state pension funds to punish any company that refuses to do business in the occupied Palestinian territories as well as in Israel. The bill, which passed the House unanimously, would divest state funds from any company that honors the boycott.
Local opponents of BDS have raised concerns that Palestinian activism will result in attacks against Jewish students. Mark Sniderman, a leader of Jewish Voice for Peace-Indiana, rejects that idea. “The BDS movement holds Israel accountable for human rights violations in a non-violent manner,” he said. “Jews of conscience, and many others, see it as a method to achieve justice, equality, and peace—and nothing else.”
IUPUI is not the only local university campus with supporters of the BDS movement. University ofIndianapolis’ student government is scheduled to vote on a pro-divestment resolution on Feb. 27.
The IUPUI faculty and staff group’s initial statement frames support for Palestinians as part of a larger “progressive alliance” of other liberal causes, including the rights of people of color, LGBTQ persons, and indebted students. It also pledges to defend freedom of expression for all.
The IUPUI group’s first event, “Why We Support the Boycott of Israel,” is scheduled for March 8at 12 Noon in the IUPUI Campus Center.
IUPUI Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine
As faculty and staff at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), we embrace the values of human equality, justice, non-violent social change, and equal educational and occupational opportunities for all.
Because of these values, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians who cry out for justice in Israel and Palestine. We condemn the illegal occupation of their lands, violations of their human rights, and discriminatory laws that deny them equal educational and economic opportunities in both Israel and Palestine.
We recognize the Palestinian struggle for self-determination as part of a progressive alliance committed to the political, economic, and social liberation of other oppressed persons, including but not limited to people of color, workers, immigrants, LGBTQ+ persons, religious minorities, veterans, and indebted students.
We pledge to defend freedom of expression, intellectual curiosity, engaged pedagogy, political commitment, and open scholarship at IUPUI. We embrace the right of all university citizens to make their voices known.
Letters to the Editor
The Indianapolis Star
P.O. Box 145 Indianapolis, IN 46206-0145
Palestinians face constant threat of terrorism
In the VIEWPOINTS section of the Indianapolis Star of 27 November an article titled “Israelis face constant threat of terrorism” the President and two Vice Presidents of Jewish Community Relations Council mourn the killing of 21 people and wounding of 184 Israelis in the last two months.
I too grieve the loss of those lives and the injuries suffered by those wounded and I believe that violence is not the answer to the Israel/Palestine conflict. I also morn the 82 Palestinians killed and the numerous Palestinians wounded in the conflict during that same period.
The Palestinians must feel very hopeless because they face the daily terrorism from the occupation and policies of apartheid of the Israeli government and, in the West Bank the ongoing, unpunished attacks by the illegal settlers. They have no power politically, economically or militarily to alleviate the human rights abuses they suffer.
Israel has one of the most powerful militaries in the world and is supported by the United States Government and the Palestinians have stones and a few knives and no hope of the possibility of earnest negotiations to help them achieve the human rights that they and all people deserve.
In a recent publication the organization Jewish Voice for Peace states: “Palestine today is the inevitable result of decades of occupation, dispossession and State violence. The right to resist colonization is enshrined in international law; this resistance will only end when the Israeli government stops brutally oppressing Palestinians so that they too can live with freedom and equality.”
Charlie McDonald Indianapolis
A Trapped Student
by Fidaa Abuassi
Last night, I had a dream that I was running, running and running, and I kept running till I glanced an emergency exit. Though I cannot remember whether I made my way out, I woke up feeling breathless. Strangled. Suffocated. I cannot find a better word to describe that feeling, but I think it would suffice to say I woke up to another morning in Gaza!
Every night I sleep hopeflly that tomorrow is a "better" day only to have a "bitter" one instead. My mornings in Gaza are as salty as the tap water I wash - or rather taint - my face with. I even replaced my "good morning" to my mother with "sabah el-maleh" (salty morning). Despite myself, however, every night I rekindle my hope that tomorrow will bring me a "good morning".
In this post of mine, I won't complain about the sewage-scented, salty-taste water nor about the constant power cuts or about the fuel crisis because, despite all of that, I have a "better" life than others as my mom always keeps me reminded.
Alright then, I shall not complain but I, at least, lament those "others" and feel sorry that they have a worse life than mine? Yes mom, I do have a "bitter" life when washing my face, let alone taking a shower, is an issue for me every single morning. And if all the people of Gaza altogether could normalize their suffering, I couldn't and never will. Let me just whisper to those who take their life for granted, "please don't".
Inspired by my own dream, I wonder why this big prison of Gaza doesn't have an emergency exit one could use at times of suffocation, asphyxiation, of depression or of any other emergency situations! I have never felt the need to scream at the top of my voice as I do now. I have never hated my life as I do today. I don't only despise but also reject this life of imprisonment, this life of injustice, this life of nothing but humiliation and dehumanization.
I sometimes wish I were born somewhere else, in a place that knows no borders, checkpoints, permits, or endless papers. I am dreaming of a life beyond these borders, a life without borders because I hate borders so much. I do. I do. And, it is unfair when I have all the needed paperwork to travel, and only a goddamn border has the power to determine whether I can leave or not.
If only they knew how hard we worked to make this happen! With the help of many wonderful people I met in the U.S., I got admitted to an MA program and was given an assistantship. Since that wasn't by any means easy to achieve, I couldn't have been happier! I thought that, with the school admission letter, my professor's letter of support, and other letters of recommendation, obtaining a student visa would be a piece of cake.
I was proven wrong. I was easily denied the visa by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for a reason I still don't grasp. I remember that upon my leaving the Embassy I wanted to go back and scream the hell out at them that how dare they deny me a visa after months of effort! I remember crying my eyes out on my way back to Gaza, still in a state of shock that this couldn't be possible, and that they must have been mistaken or simply utterly ruthless as, by denying me a visa, they decided that all what we did for months came to naught.
A few days later after recovering, I refused to give up. I pulled myself together and decided to reapply again in the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, knowing that, for a Palestinian fro Gaza, going to Jerusalem is almost a mission impossible. The visa application process took a considerable aount of time till I finally succeeded to have a visa interview appointment. I applied for a permit to go there.
To my sheer astonishment, I was granted a permit by Israel to go to Jerusalem for my visa interview in the U.S. Consulate in a matter of days only. I felt that moment I was the luckiest on earth. My visit to Jerusalem was just surreal.
After the interview, they usually tell whether one will be given a visa. They didn't tell me that day. I was told that they would review my documents and let me know their final decision via email. I waited for a response. And waited. And waited. I kept calling, sending letters, asking the help of this and that, trying every possible means.
My university, my sponsor, my friends in the U.S. did their utmost. In my last email to the Consulate, I sounded so pathetic that they might have felt guilty, so they decided to issue me a visa at last. Two months have already elapsed since the day I started this whole visa process.
One would think that having the visa should be the end of the trouble. That was just the beginning. The people of Gaza are either damned or damned for Gaza is really dooed when it was destined to have its borders with Egypt and Israel. With the closure of Rafah border due to what's going on in Egypt, I couldn't simply leave, nor could a single Gazan. The very few people who managed to leave experienced hell on their way out.
I decided to try the other border, the one with Israel: Eretz. In order to cross Eretz and travel via Amman, I will need an Israeli permit, a Jordanian entry approval, the Allenby-bridge blue card (which I knew about only recently), another permit fro the government, and not to forget my passport, my visa and my Palestinian ID. There was only a week left for my school to start, and applying to these permits would take at least 3 weeks. The Jordanian approval alone took me two weeks. It has been so far 3 weeks since I applied for the Israeli permit, and I am still waiting. I sometimes wonder if I was made for waiting because I seem I spend most of my time just waiting.
Two weeks ago, the director of my MA program I enrolled in sent me an email that it is too late for me to join classes since I had missed so far four weeks of classes, and due to that I won't be able to enter the U.S. though I have a visa valid for a couple of years. I will have to renew the admission letter and the I-20 form letter to be able to come to the U.S. The school has offered me much help already and generously decided to quickly mail me these new forms.
I am not really in the mood to talk about our mailing service in Gaza. With the water, power and fuel issues, this one seems irrelevant. The documents arrived safe and sound in Ramallah two days ago. Now, I should find a way to bring them here to Gaza or bring "myself" there to Ramallah! I am afraid the new form will be invalid by the time I get the permit to leave Gaza via Eretz. Here I am trapped in Gaza, unable to leave due to borders! For those who enjoy the freedom of movement, just remember the thousands and thousands of students who are trapped in Gaza waiting for a gate to open!
If you believe that we have the right to education, please sign this petition: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Egypt_Open_Gazas_Rafah_Crossing_I/?copy - Fidaa blogs at: The Epic Struggle of a Trapped Student 9/19/2013
Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East (CPJME) is raising money for a scholarship for trapped students, such as Fidaa Abuassi and Yazen Meqbel. For more information, contact Tim King at firstname.lastname@example.org.