This article describes the unfortunate situation at San Fransisco State where Jewish students celebrated Israel's 62nd birthday while, across the street, the pro-Palestinian group on campus protested in white masks and performed a "dead-in." According to the article, past events such as Yom Ha'Atzmaut have led to violence between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian groups; supposedly the only reason why this did not happen this year is because the pro-Israel group was not present--it was only moderate Jewish students from Hillel who frequented the event.
The fact that April 20 marks such a decidedly different day for pro-Israel and pro-Palestinians is upsetting. To anyone pro-Israel, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is a happy day, where we are reminded of our independence and cherish the land for which we fought so hard some 62 years ago. But for pro-Palestinians, April 20 is a "day of disaster" and a cause for total lament. This makes me wonder...even if the Palestinians and Israelis eventually do come to a peaceful settlement, will those groups' American supporters ever reconcile their differences?
It almost seems that Americans are so ingrained in the conflict that our opinions are beyond the realm of change and compromise. During one of our seminars, we read an article that stated that the views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are more extreme on American college campuses than they are in Israel, itself. The thought of a group of college students eating falafel and listening to Israeli music while across the street their fellow students are having a dead-in and screaming about Israeli atrocities is saddening. I just don't know if Americans would be able to set aside their views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, even if those two peoples do finally work out a peaceful agreement.
Posted by Ariel Goodman