ByShneur Gansburg, Irene Partsuf, Danielle Mimeles and Matthew Samilow |
To the Editor:
On September 7, a group of professors, graduate students and staff published an open letter to President Martha E. Pollack and Provost Michael Kotlikoff, listing the measures they deem necessary for an “anti-racist Cornell.” Buried within this set of proposals was the curious request that the University address “Cornell Tech’s involvement in the gentrification of Queens and, through its institutional partnership with Technion Israeli Institute of Technology, the military occupation of Palestine.”
Naturally, the authors fail to elaborate further on the nonexistent connection between the Technion and race-related initiatives at Cornell. Perhaps they are unsure themselves. Nor do they request that the University address any of its other international partnerships. Instead, they choose to single out the world’s only Jewish state for opprobrium. The decision to gratuitously target Israel and simultaneously ignore Cornell’s actually questionable international relationships raises serious doubts about the intentions and motives of the authors.
A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to a series of four MBTI-style questions meant to analyze personality traits and preferences. They ask about our choices regarding the following: Favorite color, favorite animal, favorite body of water and reaction to being placed in a doorless, windowless room. This last one came up in a recent conversation with renewed meaning in this time of Coronavirus. Identical as our circumstances of self-isolation might seem, everybody’s experience has differed vastly – in ways that location, socioeconomic status or other concrete factors don’t seem to fully capture. As an international student studying abroad, there was a point where I felt like I had more doors, windows of opportunities than I knew how to responsibly choose between.
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict shows little sign of relenting abroad, two speakers — one Jewish and the other Arab — came together to in a bid to show students that in frank conversation and honest debate may lie the way forward.
Student Assembly members voted Thursday to reject Resolution 36, which would “urge” Cornell to divest from companies “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human rights violations.” The vote included 13 no, 14 yes and one abstention from S.A. members, as well as two votes by the community members that were against the resolution.
In January 2009, a long-range missile from Gaza was fired into Israel. This has been a common occurrence ever since Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. As a child, I was taught at school to immediately run to a bomb shelter if sirens go off, so I did that. I was home alone in my room and quickly ran to the shelter we had in our house. It was 9:30 a.m. Normally, I would stay in the shelter and wait for the sirens to stop, as rockets rarely reached my town of Gedera.
I read the March 25 guest column in The Sun, “A Jewish Case for Divestment.” I graduated from Cornell in 1971, and I remember a course I took in the Arts School on public opinion. It is probably relevant to this discussion because all of us have beliefs based on what we read, see and hear. I remember my dad reading about the 1956 Arab-Israeli war and crying, “They’re killing more Jews again.” Being seven at the time, I had no idea what he was talking about, but it seemed frightening to me since I knew I was Jewish and had no idea if I was in danger. Later in life, I learned he was stabbed by a Nazi who was trying to kill him, and that the Nazis murdered his uncle, aunt and their 18-year-old daughter. I have read a lot about Israel, pre-Israel Palestine and the various attempts to attack the Jews.
In a letter of response sent to Students for Justice in Palestine, President Martha Pollack addressed the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement on campus and recent efforts to pass a supporting resolution within the Student Assembly, as The Sun previously reported. Reactions by student groups and Student Assembly presidential candidates varied from supportive to critical.
Not a day passes without Israel escalating its assault on the Palestinian people. The 2018 Nation State Law has drawn mass outrage from Palestinians and ethno-religious minorities such as the Druze and Coptic Christians and Israeli Jews. Despite the law’s virtual confirmation of Israel as a racialized apartheid state, the United States has been steadfast in their support for the occupying regime. Since Israel’s origin, the state has dispossessed countless Palestinians through violent means, starting with the 1948 al-Nakba (“The Catastrophe”) in which nearly a million indigenous Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes or otherwise murdered by Zionist militias. The U.S. shares a common history with Israel as a fellow settler-colonial project rooted in genocide, making the countries’ current close relationship unsurprising.