Tag Archives: Israel

Gandhi the Activist, Gandhi the Pacifist

by Anand Venkatkrishnan, ’10

Gandhi_spinning_1942
The recent flurry of articles and subsequent commentary on this and other sites about Stanford and South Asia, India and Israel, casteism and nationalism, disrespect and denigration, have made me think about the relationship of these conversations to my own social location as a scholar in the field of religious studies. In one sense, these debates fall along the spectrum of a thematic which we might call “Hinduism and its Culture Wars,” to invoke the title of a recent online essay (and to which I have responded elsewhere). In another sense, they raise larger issues of political commitment, moral self-criticism, and religious sentiment. I want to take a step back and consider these issues with reference to M.K. Gandhi, whose voluminous writings reveal a nexus between religion, politics, and public discourse that frequently confounds the ways we have been conditioned to think about them. Continue reading

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On the Merit of Blurred Lines

by Surabhi Nirkhe, ’13

I am tired of discourse that divides brown from white, the oppressed from the oppressors, students of color from white students, and the underprivileged from the privileged. Tracing and retracing these lines prevents us from creating identities that are much more complex, often in the spaces where these lines blur.

In her recent STATIC article, Holly Fetter ended with a powerful statement that resonated with me: “unless we confront our fears and make active changes to educate ourselves about the perspectives and experiences of those in other communities, we’ll never be able to see past the illusion of isolation”. To me, the recent mixer held between Sanskriti, the South Asian student organization, and the Stanford Israel Alliance represents just that. I did not attend the mixer, but I have been a part of similar events at Stanford, and I can honestly say that experiences which have pushed me to interact with individuals from outside my community have been some of the most valuable.

I do not mean to say that I don’t hold opinions; I do and I hold on to them very strongly. Continue reading

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Students Hail Significant Milestone in Push for Divestment

by Students for Palestinian Equal Rights

In a powerful show of solidarity, over 75 Stanford students turned out Tuesday evening to express support for the campaign calling for Stanford University’s Board of Trustees to divest from a set of companies that violate international law and abuse human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (see photos and videos here).

The students hailed over the two dozen student groups, including the NAACP, Stanford Students for Queer Liberation, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), Stanford Says No to War, Asian American Student Association, the Stanford Labor Action Coalition, and the Black Student Union. Continue reading

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Social Justice Activists Worldwide support the ASSU Divestment Bill

by Students for Palestinian Equal Rights

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The campaign to end Stanford’s complicity in violations of international law and abuses of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is coming to a historic juncture.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 PM in Nitery 209 the ASSU Undergraduate Senate is voting on a bill that calls on the Board of Trustees to specifically reevaluate its investments in companies that violate  international law and abuse human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In the last few days we have received statements of support for our selective divestment campaign and for the bill in front of the ASSU UG Senate from some of the most prominent social justice advocates and heroes hailing from all corners of the world: from Northern Ireland to South Africa, Palestine to the Bay Area!

We have been deeply humbled by this outpouring of international support and are really excited to share with the rest of campus. Continue reading

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Stanford Students Protest Gaza Offensive, Demand Student Action & University Divestment

 by a coalition of students concerned about the siege on Gaza

Stanford students, faculty and alumni will gather at White Plaza  Friday, November 16 at noon to sit in solidarity with the residents of Gaza currently under siege by Israeli military forces. They will protest the Israeli assault and economic chokehold on Gaza, and will rally students to demand that the University divest from companies implicated in the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

A coalition of concerned students have been meeting since  Wednesday, when Israel first commenced the “Pillar of Defense” – a naval, air and artillery offensive on the besieged territory of Gaza. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated civilian regions in the world.

The coalition has planned a sit-in that will symbolize the Israeli blockade and siege of Gaza. Allied faculty have confirmed their attendance in support.

Given the death of many Palestinian civilians and our complicity in this violence as Stanford students, we have a responsibility to do something about it.

Since  November 8 – when Israel first began violent aggression against Gaza, killing six civilians, including three children – at least 23 more Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli attacks, including another six children. Israeli strikes have injured over 300 Palestinians in this time.  The IDF has attacked over 500 targets in Gaza since the formal Israeli offensive began.

The blockade of Gaza – created by crippling sanctions from Israel and Egypt – limits Palestinian access to the outside world, including access to food and medicine. Such conditions constitute what can only be described as an open air prison.   Continue reading

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Why I’m Protesting Israeli Independence Day

by Samar Alqatari, ’14


It happens every year in the middle of May: an extravagant celebration of Israel’s “birthday” in the middle of White Plaza, with a big tent, inflated balloons, a camel (real or inflated), falafel and other indications of Middle Eastern culture.  And every year in the middle of May, right across from that celebration, a group of activists shrouded in black, stands off to the side with signs protesting this joyful occasion.

Last year I was one of those activists shrouded in black, but this year, I paused and asked myself: do I really want to put myself in that position again? My peers casted their glances upon me as they walked by — some bewildered, some surreptitious, some with indiscreet looks of hostility towards me. And, in case I tried to cast aside the feelings of discomfort, occasionally someone would take a picture of me and share it, rendering my shame and persona non grata status permanent. But the most difficult part was seeing the faces of those passing by who knew meand did not approve of what I was doing. I could not endure the expressions of my Jewish friends as we experienced awkward moments of silent confrontation; do I wave? Pretend I don’t see them? Shamefully look away?

So, I weighed the pros and cons of standing there again on Thursday and receiving the same stares, hearing the same commands to leave, and alienating (and potentially losing) my friends. Continue reading
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