Let’s not talk

A carefully detached piece by Sarah Ngu investigating why Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine are refusing dialogue with Hillel about Israel and Palestine. Must read.

It’s very worrying how eager CSJP are to import an anti-normalisation campaign into their campus and act out their hostilities on Hillel as if they were a legitimate proxy, and as if the conflict and power differential between Israelis and Palestinians also existed in Columbia. This amounts to a campaign to ostracise a Jewish organisation – one which is also concerned about injustice against Palestinians – on the basis of a political test.

CJSP’s policy is that of a group which which is proud to view the conflict as simple. In this they resemble their actual opponents. The security-preoccupied right in Israel also view things simplistically. They also burn with injustice, they too insist they have no alternative, and they too talk with individual enemy leaders off the record.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in peaceful stable democracies should be educating ourselves and generating ideas for conflict resolution, not recreating the conflict on campus at the request of some of its antagonists in a way which here is destined to become pro-Palestinians versus Jews.