As a Jewish student, I have to raise an objection to the equation of anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and attempts to quiet criticism of Israel.

A resolution by Undergraduate Student Government (USG) has recently been put forth to brand anti-Israel and anti-Zionist as speech anti-Semitic, serving as a blatant means of silencing a portion of the population speaking out on issues relating to Palestinian rights. While it’s expected that the anti-Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) language will be removed, it is troubling this effort to silence free speech received any legitimacy at all.

The state of Israel is well known for its oppression of the Palestinian people by various means. These include, but are by no means limited to: depriving their communities in the West Bank of natural resources, such as water and land, destroying the homes of innocent people, establishing illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the unlawful detainment of children.

This is what organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine are fighting against. No other organization on campus is explicitly dedicated to Palestinian rights.

To equate criticism of oppression with the acts of hatred that have occurred at Kent State, such as the painting of a swastika on the Rock on Front Campus, is blatantly ignorant of the nature of the BDS movement, as well as the Jewish community as a whole. Over half of Jews under the age of 30 are critical of the politics of Israel, and organizations like the Jewish Voice for Peace are dedicated to raising awareness about the plight faced by Palestinians living in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

Attempts within our government and our university to silence criticism of Israel by branding it anti-Semitic must be put to a stop. Per the U.S. Department of State, “Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

This can occur on and off campus — and has — but the rhetoric used by the BDS movement and Students for Justice in Palestine does not fit this definition. This is about human rights, not anti-Semitism.

If a government is built for one people and allows for the subjugation of another, it is impossible for an equal society to exist. There are millions of Palestinians that are ultimately under Israeli rule, all without voting rights or representation. Millions of homes are destroyed, cities walled off, and the right to movement restricted by checkpoints and segregated roads.

I am a Jew, and I cannot remain silent on issues of oppression, especially when they’re done by other Jews in my name. I urge Jewish students in particular to not run from discussions of Israel that make them uncomfortable.

While we may be uncomfortable, families are being torn apart and being forced to live in miserable conditions in the name of a “Jewish” state.

I’m Willemina Davidson, and I say, “Not in my name.”

Willemina Davidson is a guest columnist, contact her at wdavids3@kent.edu.

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People say Israel’s an apartheid state
But I can’t relate to that baseless hate
It’s not really fair to try and compare
A racist regime with the war on terror
Using common sense against violence
Israel had to build up the border fence
And if you think that’s apartheid it’s because
You don’t know what apartheid really was

For two thousand years the Jews all roamed
But we always called Israel our home
Unlike the British and Dutch who came
To South Africa where they had no claim
They already had countries overseas
But they wanted to expand to new colonies
So they conquered the natives, bought and sold
That land they stole full of diamonds and gold
The whites united and decided to create
South Africa, as a democratic state
But soon they denied blacks voting rights
So the whole government was controlled by whites
The House and the Senate and all of the courts
Were white so the black people got no support
Plus the police would arrest, and beat
Any peaceful protesters in the street
They split everybody into four different races
And moved them by force into separate places
If you were Indian, black, or brown
You had no business in a white town
They had segregation of transportation
Buses, bus stops, trains and train stations
Separate ambulance, different doctor and nurse
And the black hospitals were always worse
Restaurants, hotels, and the public park
Might be off limits if your skin was dark
It was crime and you could get more than a fine
If you crossed the line of that “Whites Only” sign
They had separate teachers at different schools
Black and white beaches and swimming pools
Cafes and movies theaters wouldn’t let folks in
Discriminating if they had the wrong color skin
No mixed marriage, it was a criminal act

~

In Israel, apartheid is not the case
Cause regardless of gender, religion, or race
All Israeli citizens black, brown, and white
Have equal social and political rights
So the Arab Israeli Population
Which makes up twenty percent of the nation
Might be a minority but at least
They can vote, unlike the rest of the Middle East
Look at the whole region you’ll see only
Israel is truly a democracy
Every citizen’s right to vote is protected
And Arab officials often get elected
That’s an important point, let me stress it
There’s a dozen Arabs, with seats in the Knesset
Plus an Arab Judge on the Supreme Court
So they don’t fall short on government support
Everyone has access to the same schools
The same beaches and the same swimming pools
The same resorts and hotel guestrooms
Same public parks and public restrooms
The same cinemas, restaurants, and cafes
Same trains, buses, taxis, and highways
Same doctors, and nurses, all deliveries
Of babies are done in the same facilities
Arab Israeli life expectancy’s great
Up by Twenty seven years since nineteen forty-eight
And their infant mortality rate has declined
From thirty-two per thousand to less than nine
And they’re doing much better economically
Relative to every other Arab country
There’s no restrictions on choice of career
They’re welcome in the military if they volunteer
They can work and reside wherever they please
From Eilat all the way to the sea of Galilee
They live in the very same cities as Jews
On the same street in the same house if the choose

~

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