Guest contribution by Farah Erzouki
This Thursday, January 26, Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor will be bringing renown author, journalist, and commentator Ali Abunimah for a groundbreaking lecture discussing, “Colonial Reality: Dismantling the Myths of Israeli Democracy. Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse, will address the campus community on the reality of Israel’s claim as the region’s only beacon of light, a terms it regularly assigns to itself. (Editor’s note: Event information can be found at the end of this post.)
Rhetoric surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict has continuously revolved around the argument that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Such claims are not only false and biased, but have harsh implications in terms of the public opinion regarding the question of Palestine. These falsehoods propagated by the media and other outlets have lead to the pardoning of Israel for their blatant racist, discriminatory and colonizing practices and have characterized the Israeli government as the only nation in the Middle East that has any promising future because of its democratic ideals. These falsehoods lead to the Israeli exceptionalism that we see so often. Forgetting about the war crimes, violations of international law, illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of a people, we see figures of power praising Israel for democratic traits they do not truly possess. We hope that this event will shine light on the realities of the that most college-age students at a public university may never hear. This topic is crucial because it will, as the title suggests, dismantle the myths that have been propagating popular opinion.
Being a large public institution, there exists a very diverse array of opinions at the University of Michigan. SAFE seeks to educate not only those whose opinions align with ours, but also the population at the university that either disagrees with or has yet to form an opinion about the topic. We hope that by hosting such an event, a shift in thought can begin to happen on our campus and we hope that it will encourage more students to learn more about the topic. We hope that education can be the first step in real change on our campus and beyond.
We hope you will join us.
Farah Erzouki is an Iraqi-American student currently studying at the University of Michigan. She is an active member of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), the organization on her school’s campus dedicated to advocating for the rights and self-determination of the Palestinian people.
— — —