Complex, not contradictory, values
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is colorful, complicated, and at times brings contradiction. Just this week, rocket fire from Gaza fell in southern Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces used tear gas on peaceful protesters in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh.
For almost every argument, there is a counter, and for almost every historical claim to land, there is a reply. The current discord between Israel and Palestine results in a daunting daily life whose problems can sometimes feel intractable.
UNC’s pro-peace activist community has chosen to embrace the conflict’s color, complication and contradictions with passion and nuance, using this understanding of complexity as the foundation for solving the conflict.
David Horowitz, on the other hand, frames the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a hawkish, inflammatory manner that all but precludes the possibility of peace.
Though Horowitz may seem to present a “unique perspective,” (as one recent letter to the editor asserted), his views don’t bring diversity to the discussion; they bring polarity.
The members of UNC Students for Justice in Palestine and J Street UNC believe that we must look to each other if we are serious about peace. We must find strength in plurality — of voices, ideas and perspectives.
In order to make progress toward peace, we must first recognize that being both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian need not be a contradictory identity.
This means that the respective rights of both Israelis and Palestinians — for self-determination, security and social justice — must be honored. And both communities must work to actualize these rights.
Though we ostensibly come from different ideological origins, UNC’s SJP and J Street UNC have nonetheless arrived at very similar destinations. UNC’s SJP was founded to give a voice to the Palestinian cause in the search for a just peace. J Street UNC is part of a national nonprofit that aims to engage students in the process of achieving a two-state solution as an expression of Jewish values.
At bottom, both of our organizations hope to allow for conversations that are as nuanced as the conflict is complex.
This mutual respect has fostered a sense of community. We recognize that in order for two different peoples who love the same land to find peace, we must not see each other as potential enemies, but as potential partners with compatible values.
This belief has enabled us to educate and engage the UNC campus, to explain that one need not choose between being pro-Israel or pro-Palestine in order to be pro-peace.
We are proud to stand together in our belief that UNC’s pro-peace community can and must be used by other universities as a model. Only through this sort of collective action will our generation reach peaceful futures for both Israelis and Palestinians.