Ariela Carno, National Chair of the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) writes about her feelings on Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) and the Give Peace Wings campaign that is happening at Wits University.
Let’s talk dialogue not delegitimisation
The language we use and the way in which we frame a situation defines our everyday reality. If we frame something in the positive as opposed to the negative it is very likely to change the outcome of the situation; and that in principle is one of the underlying issues that I have with the week known as “Israel Apartheid week”.
Putting aside the fact that the claim that Israel is analogous to Apartheid South Africa is an insult to the very real struggle that the South African people underwent during Apartheid (in addition to being utterly false),the very title “Israel Apartheid week” presents a foregone conclusion that completely excludes the dialogue it claims to support.
This week rather than promoting a constructive dialogue regarding how a constructive solution can be reached in the Middle East incites hatred, violence and anti-Semitism. Now don’t wilfully misunderstand me-I am not saying that there are no issues in the Middle East, or that differences of opinion are not desirable, however creating a week of hate doesn’t solve any problems. It merely incites more hatred and violence and the cycle continues.
Every year on campus many students dread this infamous week because during it they feel that it provides a platform where criticisms evolve into discrimination. Hence this year the South African Union of Jewish students are running a campaign called give peace wings in the spirit of constructive dialogue, and we implore all students not to fall prey to the myth that hating those with a different opinion to yours is the only way to solve a conflict.
In the words of Nelson Mandela-“If you want to make peace with your enemy you have to work with your enemy. Then He becomes your partner”. So don’t fall prey to the rhetoric, rather join SAUJS wits in giving peace wings.
Check out amazing blogs and op-eds here by Jewish student leaders from all over the world.