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.
Cornell Students for Justice in Palestine protested and held a die-in at an Israeli Independence Day celebration in Anabel Taylor Hall on Monday, angering many of the event’s student hosts and leading to arguments with Cornell Police.
Yaakov Katz concluded his talk in Balche auditorium yesterday evening with some career advice: “I look for someone who is curious. Someone who asks questions. Someone who wants to learn…someone who sees something at the surface and says, you know what I can penetrate that, I can go deeper…” Seeing as how I am an aspiring writer and Katz is the Editor-in-Chief of the renowned Jerusalem Post, it would behoove me to take this sentiment as instruction. Let’s call it a one-sided job interview. Time to penetrate the surface of Katz’ “Israel in a Changing Middle East” talk.
To the Editor:
Recently, Katy Habr wrote a column for The Cornell Daily Sun that attempts to shed light on issues surrounding the Taglit-Birthright Israel program, an all-expenses paid trip for Jewish youth to become connected to the state of Israel. She criticizes the Birthright program for promoting the notion that diaspora Jews can make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel) and gain citizenship, stating that it “entails the exclusion and expulsion of certain other groups.” First off, it is worth noting that anyone, regardless of nationality or religion, can visit Israel with a 3-month tourist visa. This is in stark contrast to the 16 Muslim countries that forbid entry to Israeli passport holders. Secondly, almost every European nation, in addition to Israel, has Jus sanguinis nationality laws which confer citizenship to people who are members of the country’s ethnic, cultural or religious identity (as opposed to granting citizenship based on place of birth). To defend her claim, Habr has to either categorically denounce the concept of Jus sanguinis, or explain why Israel’s version of this law, given its Jewish national identity, is worthy of questioning but other countries’ are not.
To the Editor:
In the guest column “On Divestment and Hypocrisy,” the authors described an idealistic moral calling to divest from companies supporting Israel’s so-called apartheid actions. The truth is not so simple. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is extraordinarily complex, and portraying it as they did is inaccurate. Furthermore, their claim that boycotting companies is an action that will lead to meaningful change is fabricated. To state that the living situation for residents of the West Bank is not ideal is correct.