Last week President Donald Trump announced the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking international norms, in an attempt to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine, In protest of the decision, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality and Revolutionary Youth Alliance, A2/Ypsi organized a speak-out Monday night at the Michigan Union.
The Trump administration, despite widespread criticism around the world, will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Jerusalem.
Students addressed the group of about 25, condemning the move by Trump and voicing support for Palestinians. Many of Pro-Palestinian student chose to not to speak on the record out of fear of being placed on a blacklist for their views.
“We will be gathering by the couches of the Union for a speak-out protest of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital,” the Facebook event description read. “This recognition seeks to erase the Palestinian people and their historical ties to Jerusalem. It also dissolves current, past, and future peace processes, and attempts to further legitimize the brutal occupation of Palestine.”
LSA Student Arwa, a board member of SAFE, who requested to not include her last name, said the speak-out was organized in conjunction with speak-outs across the country to better inform people about the importance of Jerusalem for many ethnic groups.
“Jerusalem is a very important city for all people of all faiths — Islam, Christianity and Judaism,” Arwa said. “So many people, all that they’re hearing is the perspective from the media and a lot of times people get desensitized to how personal this city is to so many people and that was kind of what the speak out was about: to understand the importance and the long history that Jerusalem has played for Palestine and for Palestinians of all religions.”
One recently graduated Jewish student who wished to remain anonymous said that as a Jewish person, he has a role to play in speaking against Zionism.
“I spoke at the divestment hearing, and I generally think it’s important as a Jewish person to … talk about how there’s this Zionist impetus to speak for Jewish people,” he said.
The student continued, adding he believes the views of Jewish students on campus differ from the views of people who are pro-Israel.
“I don’t even think it’s accurate to say that they (the University of Michigan Hillel) speak for the majority of Jews because statistically, most Jews, at least on campus, are in the middle and apathetic to this issue and they sort of present it as any attack on the state of Israel is an attack on Judaism itself and I try to rebuff that at any opportunity.”