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Israeli Apartheid Week at the University of Manchester

From the 23rd to the 27th of February, Action Palestine is running events, stalls and talks to increase awareness of the conflict in Gaza

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Israeli Apartheid Week begins next week at the university (23rd – 27th of February), organised and run by Action Palestine, a secular society at the university concerned with raising awareness of the plight of Palestinians.

We spoke with Einass Bakhiet, Treasurer of Action Palestine, about the events and aims of the week ahead.

“Israeli Apartheid Week [raises] awareness of the Israeli occupation, and all the injustices and the suffering of the Palestinians,” she said.

“We want to educate students and raise awareness about Action Palestine, so people can get involved in our future events.

“In the week we have something exciting which we won’t disclose.” On Tuesday, the film ‘Five Broken Cameras’ will be shown in Club Academy from 6:30 – 8pm, a film about a Palestinian man who is protesting for the wall to be taken down.

“On Wednesday, we are holding a Palestinian Pub Quiz at Kro Bar [between 6 and 11pm], and on Friday we also have a talk by a really interesting activist called Danyah Jaber. She’s an activist in Palestine, and she’s talking about the importance of activism on campus.” She will be talking in the Catholic Chaplaincy from 5 – 7pm on Friday.

“Every day we’re trying to raise awareness, invoke some kind of change, [encouraging] students on campus to actually do something,” she said.

Israeli Apartheid Week is a series of events held internationally, among other things aiming to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign,

The overall aim is particularly to appeal to “those who don’t know or are misinformed, even those who are against the campaign, because it’s really important for them to understand. We’re often stigmatised as being anti-Semitic, and that’s not the case at all.

“The occupation is not even a political campaign. It’s pure injustice, and so that’s why we don’t say we’re a political society, just one raising awareness so we can help those denied the right to their freedom and self-determination.

“In many ways it’s true that the conflict has political, economic, and psychological implications, but we’re not a society that has a political aim. Action Palestine is first and foremost a humanitarian and campaigning society.

“Our aim is to encourage a greater consciousness of the apartheid policies, and to encourage even small acts which can have a significant impact on the way people perceive the occupation.

“Throughout the whole week we’re giving the opportunity for people to get involved, with stalls every day. [You can] sell refreshments, you can do anything to raise awareness. The main aim is to get [the conflict] back on the student agenda.

“In the first semester, we pushed forward for a referendum for the twinning with Al-Najah [University, Palestine] to be strengthened. We hope that we get lots of people interested, and then they’ll help us to implement the policies.

“Israeli Apartheid Week allows us to raise greater awareness of the conflict, particularly since it is a global movement in solidarity with all those who promote genuine human equality.”

  • Frank

    I’m actually furious reading this. “Our aim is to encourage a greater consciousness of the apartheid policies” is the biggest joke I’ve read all day. Your aim is to continue the media war against Israel, maybe because like to see a genocide of Jews rather than blame the true enemy – Hamas – for the horrific things happening to Palestinian people. Here are some that should demonstrate what the real evil is:

    1) Israel is NOT an apartheid state. Israel is only free and democratic country in the Middle East and has only remained as such by fighting tooth and nail. People in Israel enjoy freedom of speech, religion and sexuality. They even have a gay pride festival. Not a single other Arab country that does that. In fact Israel is so democratic even expat Arabs who live there are allowed to, and are, elected into government. Israel is the furthest thing from an Apartheid state in the Middle Easy and the naming of your event, “Israel Apartheid Week” is the most singularly infuriating and disingenuous thing I have seen in a while.

    2) Hamas has disgusting foreign policy – ones assumed as they were elected this is supported by Palestinians – but this is the main reason for this conflict. They will not stop attacking Israel and breaking every truce (yes every truce has been broken by Hamas) until every last Jews is dead. Hamas do not want a two state solution, they want a “all Jews dead” solution. They want to impose Sharia Law and enforce their barbaric subjugation of everything free and democratic. Israel would not need to occupy if Hamas would live in harmony. But they won’t and Israel and has the right to defend itself.

    3) Hamas DO NOT want to end the siege and occupation of Gaza. In 2005 when Israel pulled out of Gaza, rockets were still fired at them as they pulled out. This resulted in Israel tightening the borders as a response to these rockets. Hamas do not want peace, Hamas want to avoid partitioning (two state solution) because that would essentially cement Zionism as a success. Israel want a two state solution, they want to live peacefully in a single state – that is the point of Zionism. But Hamas will perpetuate this conflict and throw as many of its innocent citizens in the way of Israeli rockets for as long as it can to avoid Israel ever being a successfully partitioned power. Hamas would rather be destroyed themselves than see a Zionist homeland.

    4) Hamas use women and children as human shields for their rockets for propaganda purposes, packing civilians like sardines into schools and hospitals with missile launchers so it is impossible for Israel avoid human casualties when they retaliate against Hamas fire-power. Israel drop flyers to tell people to evacuate and Hamas tell them to stay. Hamas then use these civilian deaths which they have orchestrated from their own benefit in their propaganda campaign against Israel.

    If you want to support a barbaric group of terrorists in a war against the last bastion of democracy in the Middle East feel free. But Hamas constantly fire rockets to aggravate Israel, Hamas denied and then admitted to kidnapping and murdering three Israel teens in the West Bank. Hamas want death, war and barbarism to spread through the land. The problem is not Israel, nor do I believe the problem is Palestinian people. The problem is Hamas. If you want the occupation to end, Hamas must end. Israel do not want to destroy Gaza, this is clearly proven by the fact they have the fire-power to turn Gaza into a crater – but they don’t. They want a cessation of hostility and it is madness to expect them not to defend themselves until this happens.