IE Student Justice for Palestine
IE Student Justice for Palestine
We the undersigned request that IE release an apology statement regarding its recent post about diversity, which used the state of Israel as an example. While we understand and wholeheartedly support the university’s work to promote diversity and share the stories and lives of our international student community, the post was inappropriate, inaccurate, and disrespectful to other communities within the region.
As an introduction to this petition, we would like to provide a historical and legal background to provide a further understanding of the gravity of the current situation. The diversity series lacked any historical background and disregarded the Palestinian reality behind Israeli Apartheid.
Firstly, the “State of Israel” was constituted in 1948 as a consequence of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Through the Balfour Declaration, the British government, colonizers of Palestine at the time, “granted” Palestine to the Zionist Leader Walter Rothschild in order to constitute a “national home” for the Jewish people. A promise from those who do not own to those who are not entitled.
As a result of this newly founded state, more than 6 million Palestinians live in a global diaspora with no right to return to their land, with an estimate of 200 thousand Palestinian deaths since 1948 as a result of Israeli brutal military occupation.
The state of Israel has committed war crimes and human rights abuses which are recognized by the international community and the ICC. Some examples of these acts are as follows:
1) Apartheid Wall: A racial segregation wall that was constructed in 2000 by the Israeli government that separates the Occupied West Bank from the rest of the land, where Palestinians who wish to cross it are subject to documental and physical screenings whenever they wish to cross through, separating cities, towns, and families. Israel restricts Palestinian rights for the freedom of movement. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly resolution ES-10/13 and Report of the Secretary-General prepared pursuant to General Assembly resolution ES-10/13 among others)
2) 14 Year Siege of the Gaza Strip: The Gaza Strip has been under siege since 2007, and ranks as the 3rd most densely populated city in the world. The movement of goods into and out of Gaza is restricted by the Israeli government. Eighty percent of Gaza’s population depends on humanitarian aid. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every annual Human Rights Watch Report for the past 14 years, Fourth Geneva Convention, UN General Resolution A/63/123: the Question of Palestine, among others)
3) Employment of Illegal Weapons: The Israeli Defense Forces have utilized illegal weapons against Palestinians, including children. These prohibited weapons are under International Law and the Laws of War such as White Phosphorus Ammunition. (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch Report May 2009, among others)
4) Illegal Settlements in Occupied Territories: Construction of illegal Jewish communities in the Occupied West Bank, under the self-governance of the Palestinian National Authorities. (Oslo Accords, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Fourth Geneva Convention, United Nations Security Council Resolution 446, among others)
5) Unlawful killings, torture, and excessive use of force against Palestinians.
6) Arbitrary detention: Israeli authorities conduct hundreds of raids throughout the West Bank to arrest Palestinians, usually at their homes at night. Israeli authorities used renewable administrative detention orders to hold Palestinians without charge or trial.
7) Cultural appropriation: The cultural appropriation of books, music, art, cuisine, and dress has been used by Zionists as a weapon against Palestinians which is a common theme of all modern colonial-settler states. The continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their historic homeland goes hand in hand with the theft of Palestinian land, homes, history, and culture. It is an essential part of the larger, long-term Zionist project of eradicating the Palestinian nation altogether, writing it out of history while simultaneously assuming its place.
Taking into account the factual background provided, we consider the series in question, which was published on one of IE’s main accounts, as manipulative content that portrays Isreal in a positive light by showcasing and promoting stolen elements of Palestinian identity like culture, food, land, and holy sites as a part of the Israeli identity which is a propaganda technique coordinated to ethnically cleanse Palestinian existence. The content supports a facade that portrays Israel as a progressive, inclusive and safe environment with so much culture and landmarks to offer when the reality of this image is a product of an endless cycle of violations of international war crimes and basic human rights against the Palestinians.
Levant culture is NOT Israeli culture. An estimate of 80% of Israelis has Western origins, with their own food and culture. The appropriation of Palestinian culture as Israeli due to their illegal occupation is NOT acceptable and shall not be promoted by an institution that advocates for the respect of different cultures and operates on values such as integrity and global awareness.
The map shown as a part of the series completely eradicates any Palestinian existence and identity on the land. From solely a legal perspective, this map is highly inaccurate. If basic research was carried out on this topic prior to the publishing of the series, international agreements, such as the Oslo Accords, grant the self-governance of the Palestinian over the occupied West Bank and the Gaza strip. Thus, even from an objective point of view completely derived from internationally ratified agreements and resolutions, the map displayed is against the "law."
We feel that in promoting Israel whilst failing to acknowledge Palestine or Palestinian people, the university contributes to the oppression and erasure of Palestinian people, their heritage, culture, and history.
IE University prides itself on education, knowledge, awareness, freedom, and diversity yet spreads falsehoods, inaccurate information, ignorant claims abiding by the Israeli colonial narrative that wipes out Palestinian history, culture, and land. IE claims that freedom and respect for diversity are values of the institution's identity, and even offers programs for minorities by encouraging groups to raise their voice and inspire action, however, this policy was absent in the wake of the most recent incident, leaving Arab students to feel neglected and unheard. IE needs to take accountability for its actions especially given the number of Arab students and Alumni who have always been a big part of IE culture and representation.
Should it be necessary for the University to engage in Discussion or commentary around Israel and occupied Palestinian Territories, it should be delivered with tactfulness, understanding of the contextual issues, and respect for all people of the region, giving everyone the chance to share the facts and their point of view.
We respectfully request that a clarifying statement be made by IE and that an apology is made by IE for the political and emotional harm caused, and the erasure of Palestinian culture and heritage implied by its Instagram series on April 29th, 2021.