To the Editor,
In November 2012, we, J Street, stood on the Diag and held a vigil. Recent violence in Israel and Gaza left us feeling saddened and frustrated. Palestinians and Israelis were dying, and we mourned. We held up flags, we lit candles and we commemorated the lives lost and the families torn apart.
Today, after a resurgence of violence this summer, we remain frustrated. With heavy hearts and determined minds, we are once more hosting a vigil on the Diag this Monday at 9 p.m.
The events of the summer were not isolated; they are part of a long pattern. Such violence happened three years ago and four years before that. We know that the current status quo is untenable. If we do not diplomatically resolve this conflict, waves of violence will continue to disrupt any chance Palestinians and Israelis have for a viable, peaceful future. That is why we’re standing together and saying this must be the last vigil.
To all who believe a life is a life, and anyone who dies from violence deserves to be remembered, we invite you to join us. We demand a future where Israelis and Palestinians live with dignity and respect, where exercising free and democratic rights in the absence of violence is not a privilege or a marker of temporary calm, but a given.
We demand an end to this conflict. We invite voices who demand the status quo must change, who are willing to embrace the narratives, losses, fears and hopes of both peoples, who know there is nothing sustainable or acceptable about how this conflict forces Israelis and Palestinians to live. We invite the voices on this campus who have a hope and a path forward and who will join us in this insistence:
We refuse to stand here in another three years.
J Street UMich will be hosting a vigil this Monday at 9 pm on the Diag to commemorate the loss of life in Israel and Gaza this summer. Please arrive wearing black.
Ari Schoenburg is a LSA junior and Max Ledersnaider is an Engineering junior. Both are co-chairs of the organization J Street.