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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Hall: Freeing Palestine is Not Antisemitic

The deliberate character assassination of the Palestinian solidarity movement aims to silence valid disapproval and enforce compliance with oppressive Israeli policies.
Pro-Palestine+demonstrators+organize+in+the+City+Creek+Park+in+Salt+Lake+City+during+the+Stand+for+Palestine+Rally+on+Saturday%2C+Oct.+21%2C+2023.+%28Photo+by+Marco+Lozzi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Marco Lozzi
Pro-Palestine demonstrators organize in the City Creek Park in Salt Lake City during the Stand for Palestine Rally on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Photo by Marco Lozzi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Universities worldwide are caught in a contentious debate as students and professors clash with university administrations fueled by the Palestinian solidarity movement. The University of Utah, among others, has witnessed passionate protests and the creation of a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.”

These protests demand our institution divest its endowment from Israeli-owned companies and U.S. companies benefiting from the war. Those seeking to hide the genocide throw baseless accusations of antisemitism and violent extremism at students.

The deliberate character assassination of the Palestinian solidarity movement aims to silence valid disapproval and enforce compliance with oppressive Israeli policies. Lawmakers, universities and communities must unite to protect and promote freedom of speech and the right to assemble. 

By silencing the student body’s voice, the atrocities and systemic violations of human rights will continue unabated. This will lead to perpetuating cycles of genocide and oppression for Palestinians. 

Debunking the Anti-Semitism Myth

The notion that advocating for a free Palestine is inherently antisemitic is not only misleading but dangerously false. The Palestinian solidarity movement is rooted in the fundamental principles of justice, equality and human rights. It is a righteous condemnation of specific policies and actions by the Israeli government, policies that perpetuate a cycle of oppression and deny Palestinians their most basic rights.

To equate this principled stance with bigotry is not only intellectually lazy but also a cowardly attempt to deflect attention from the real issues at hand. We must recognize the difference between legitimate criticism of policies and bigotry, supporting movements that advocate for fairness and human dignity.

Suppressing Dissent

The portrayal of these protests and encampments as violent and antisemitic is deliberately inaccurate, delegitimizing the Palestinian solidarity movement. Peaceful protest is a fundamental function of democratic societies. It provides a platform for dissent and demands accountability from those in power, allowing the powerless access to our checks-and-balances system.

Nevertheless, authorities often respond with disproportionate force, arresting students to intimidate and silence those who stand up for the movement. Universities’ complicity in this suppression is evident in their deployment of law enforcement to shut down protests. This shields them from accountability for their ties with Israel. By sending police to arrest student protestors, universities evade their ethical responsibilities and instead choose to silence their student bodies through force and intimidation.

This violates students’ rights and undermines universities’ responsibility to uphold the principles of academic freedom and social justice. The suppression of opposing voices perpetuates a culture of fear and oppression on college campuses. It reinforces the need for universities to reevaluate their priorities and commit to upholding human rights and academic freedom. Failure to do so contributes to the perpetuation of injustice and inequality.

Universities’ Complicity in Injustice

The glaring reluctance of universities to divest from Israel despite overwhelming evidence of human rights violations is nothing short of complicity in injustice. These recent events exemplify the U’s moral vacuum, where administrators prioritize financial interest over ethical responsibility. How can institutions of higher education, tasked with shaping and educating future leaders, disregard blatant violations of human dignity and freedom?

The militarization of campuses to suppress peaceful protests further highlights the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of these institutions. This moral compromise perpetuates systemic injustices. It sends a message that profit outweighs principles, eroding the foundation of social responsibility and academic integrity. Universities must prioritize human rights over financial gains to reclaim their moral standing.

Moral Failure in Higher Education

The spineless actions of certain universities, exemplified by their cancellation of graduation ceremonies under the flimsy pretext of protests, show a dishonorable departure from the core principles of higher education. These cowardly maneuvers showcase a profound misunderstanding of academia’s fundamental purpose and expose their blatant capitulation to external pressures.

Institutions like the U have betrayed their commitment to intellectual freedom and social justice. They actively contribute to the perpetuation of oppression and marginalization. 

This abandonment of responsibility perpetuates a culture of fear and censorship that has no place in institutions dedicated to education and progress. 

We must stand in unwavering solidarity with advocates for a free Palestine and continue to fight universities and their injustices. It is essential to actively encourage our universities to become strongholds of free speech and strong support for human rights. 

 

[email protected]

@lexihall_chrony  

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About the Contributors
Lexi Hall
Lexi Hall, Opinion Writer
(she/her) Lexi is double majoring in English and Communications with an emphasis in Journalism at the University of Utah. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and came to Salt Lake City because she loves the outdoors. Lexi spends most of her time reading books and going to concerts with friends. She hopes one day to become an English Professor and a Journalist.
Marco Lozzi
Marco Lozzi, Photographer
Born in Texas and raised by Italian parents, Marco Lozzi grew up with two vastly different cultures. Now a sophomore at the U, he is majoring in communication with a journalism emphasis while also minoring in photography and Italian. He joined the Chrony to gain experience working as a photojournalist for a larger entity. When he's not taking or editing photos, he can be found hitting the slopes, napping, or making pasta.

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