The state of Israel actively engages in human rights violations upon the Palestinian people. From daily home demolitionsto the imprisonment of thousands of innocent civiliansto the illegal construction of settlementson Palestinian land, there is no question of the violence and inequity perpetuated by settler-colonial Israeli apartheid.
We support and affirm Professor John Cheney-Lippold’s right to boycott Israel. His actions are the same demanded by Palestinian civil society, and serve to recognize and resist forces committing human rights violations. To punish Professor Cheney-Lippold for his actions would curtail his own academic agency.
We also want to underscore the double standard of “consequences” faced by students who support the state of Israel. This student, for whatever inconveniences she may face in securing a recommendation letter, will undoubtedly be able to visit, study, and work in the country. We remind the campus community that Palestinian students and their allies continue to be blacklisted, targeted, and exiled from their home country for their identities. Palestinian students do not have the privilege of going back to Palestine, much less studying abroad. Where is the concern for their educational opportunities?
Finally, SAFE would like to question the speed and force with which the University administration and campus community condemned Professor Cheney-Lippold. For years, students at the University of Michigan have been consistently targeted on international political blacklists for standing up for Palestinian human rights. We have brought the blacklist to the attention of our administrators repeatedly. There has been no University statement on the matter. This blacklist is just one of several tangible barriers for students that will prevent them from engaging in not just study abroad programs, but academic programs, jobs, and admittance into Palestine/Israel.
It seems as though, the administration and community are more interested in punishing a professor for exercising his right to express political views —views that may offend a powerful community on campus—than protecting the physical and emotional safety of Palestinian students.
SAFE vows to keep elevating the voices of Palestinians on this campus and around the world, and to stand with those already doing so in meaningful ways.
In solidarity, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality