Palestinian Activists Protest “Arab-Israeli” Diplomat

Pal-Activistby Jerika L.H.

A group of students and community members joined in protest at UC Davis in the late afternoon of March 7th to draw attention to the atrocities brought against the Palestinian people, as well as to stand in opposition of guest speaker George Deek- a self described Arab-Israeli Christian who serves as a diplomat for Israel in the Norwegian and Nigerian embassy. Deek was invited to speak on campus by the Aggies For Israel group in a talk called “The Art of Middle East Diplomacy” – a title which many felt were disrespectful to the struggle and suffering of the Palestinian people who are currently living amidst traumatic conflict and unimaginable violence.

The group rallied under shared sentiments of anti-colonialism, anti-zionism, and anti-racism, and expressed their views by participating in a collective walk out of the event. The protesters released a statement in which they further explained why Deek’s presence is incongruent to the sensibilities of those concerned with Palestinian plight.

“While we recognize our actions to be minimal in relation to the history of Palestinian resistance we invoke, we felt a responsibility to reject the zionist agenda that George Deek furthers – a settler-colonial agenda that is xenophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Black. We refuse all efforts to normalize the Israeli occupation and recognize that the state of Israel was born and remains possible through the genocide and displacement of Palestinians. We did not participate within the established framework of the event because we are aware of how discourses about ‘dialogue’ and ‘democracy’ function to silence anti-zionist voices. We recognize that Israel’s voice is already over-represented in the media, our classrooms, and history books and refuse to provide the State another platform through which to normalize colonial violence. We have no more ‘tolerance’ for Israeli propaganda.”

As it currently stands, 95% of land in the Jordan Valley is inaccessible to Palestinians despite its location in the West Bank. Ethnic displacement, the control and confiscation of basic necessities such as water, and oppressive measures that have banned the development of new infrastructure in Palestine has raised international concern for the violation of Palestinian freedoms.

The chronic loss of human life is the most notable critique of Israel’s operations and role in the conflict. The United Nations have documented that it is Palestinian civilians who have endured the lion’s share of the death toll. A 2014 study indicated that between July 8 and August 2 alone, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip, along with 66 Israeli soldiers.

Among those lost Palestinian were 495 children. In response to this death toll, an Israeli government official told the BBC that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had killed 1,000 “terrorists” during the assault on Gaza. This erasure of Palestinian life and death has been a continued point of criticism among many who have raised an eyebrow at Israeli political and military tactics. Deek has been quoted as calling the Palestinian people “slaves to the past, held captive by the chains of resentment, prisoners in the world of frustration and hate.”

While Deek mentions that his main goal is the continuance of hope, some have wondered to what degree is hope a privilege to those not having to raise their families in bomb shelters. Yet, while his theory is that the depictions of suffering come from an overly embittered Palestinian memory, the death and despair is not as far back in the historically rear view as Deek purports. Presently, 475,000 Palestinians are living in emergency shelters due to the destruction of approximately 17,200 homes and 244 schools which have suffered irreversible damage due to Israeli attacks. These statistics barely knick the surface of a true portrayal of life in Palestine, which many have described as a living hell.

Activists cite George Deek’s presence on campus as yet another political attempt that “seeks to assimilate Palestinians into non-existence”. It is mentioned that what he calls “The Art of Diplomacy” seriously undermines the combat of daily life which has become a quotidian reality for the Palestinian people and their right to life unencumbered.

Protesters referred to Deek as a “colonial collaborator” who is integrally linked with “the Israeli state’s foundational anti-Blackness, Israel’s investments in prison systems and [in] direct involvement with American policing.”

The Pro-Palestinian supporters and community ended their released statement of action with the following. “ We note the continuity between the foundational racism of Israel and that of the United States, and see the continuity between Israeli anxiety over the reproduction of non-white, non-Ashkenazi bodies and the history of sterilization of indigenous and Black women in the United States. We, therefore, are opposed to entities that impose or directly enable these injustices to persist, and we will not tolerate or allow for such people to have a platform to speak on our campus, nor will we engage in pseudo ‘dialogue’ with them.”

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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65 Comments

      1. Miwok

        Surrounding him like the video shows and chanting was a form of Greeting?

        Damn, I thought “intifada” was a War Cry of Tolerant students. The irony of those who WANT to be listened to, and those who LISTEN, is obvious. I am surprised the PD was not called. I would have been offended, and I am, just by watching this behavior. I worked at that place, and this is not acceptable.

  1. zaqzaq

    The Palestinians have created the conditions that they live in.  Hamas has turned the Gaza strip into a cesspool through their continued attacks on Israel.  It is hard to have any empathy for a people that have chosen violence over peace resulting in worse living conditions.  The Palestinians and the Arab countries have lost three wars and are living with the results.  The only peace that the Palestinian leadership in Gaza want involves the complete destruction of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews from this land.  They made their bed and now the can lay in it.  I also fail to see any link between Israeli policies and anti-black issues.

    1. Frankly

      I agree.

      I think some day science will uncover physiological differences between people that have filtered into left and right ideological groups.  With the left group being hard-wired to see things through a myopic filter of groupism and fairness…. and then that devolves into a victim mentality.  And the right ideological group having a much more diverse but jumbled filter… that sometimes makes them seem uncaring by those in the left ideological group.

      You can see it in our politics.   The Democrats are supporting someone with a history of lying because their groupism/fairness filter overwhelms their consideration of moral fortitude.  And the Republicans are fine with a combative race over many different issues covering a range of moral, ethical and policy considerations (including a sense of fairness).

      With respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The only reason that it continues to have legs in our new world order is that those with the ideological left wiring see the Palestinians, as being mistreated and victims… even as they, the Palestinians commit to slaughtering as many innocent Israelis as possible while rejecting Israel’s right to exist.  Those with the left wiring cannot process these other moral considerations in light of the their overwhelming feeling that things are just not fair for this oppressed and miserable group of Arabs.

      And the Palestinians… and all Islamic terrorism groups for that matter… harvest and leverage this tendency of the political left.   That is why these murderous thugs can continue.  They are supported by a percentage of the Western population that becomes obsessed with what they see as oppressed victims groups and thus don’t participate in the condemnation of their immoral acts.

      If there is some Darwinism explanation for these tendencies of people to filter this way, I would love to hear it.  I think many of our problems in this world are because of this tendency of the ideological left group to ignore other moral considerations over groupism and fairness.  However, without this I wonder if we would just have another set of difficult problems.

      I actually welcome the debate of these two groups.  Where I get militant is when the left group goes so far with their fairness doctrine that they attempt to shut down debate.  That is an action that will lead to a revolution.  And it might be already underway with President Trump or Cruz.

      1. The Pugilist

        “I think some day science will uncover physiological differences between people that have filtered into left and right ideological groups.  With the left group being hard-wired to see things through a myopic filter of groupism and fairness…. and then that devolves into a victim mentality.  And the right ideological group having a much more diverse but jumbled filter… that sometimes makes them seem uncaring by those in the left ideological group.”

        Physiological means physical.  You’re describing psychological differences.

        1. Frankly

          Research by scientists that are generally liberal?

          Note one other common trait of liberals… when they get hit with an opinion that is inconvenient to their worldview, the demand scientific proof knowing full well that there are no scientists willing to do the research because the threat to their careers within their liberal science-political bubble.

          I think Jonathan Haidt, a liberal by the way, does a fine job explaining these things.  Note that there are plenty of facts presented.   Maybe you should do some research on scientific work refuting his work?

          Or maybe you should step outside your moral matrix and consider other points of view.

        2. The Pugilist

          Let’s review this conversation:

          You said: “I think some day science will uncover physiological differences between people that have filtered into left and right ideological groups.  With the left group being hard-wired to see things through a myopic filter of groupism and fairness…. and then that devolves into a victim mentality.  And the right ideological group having a much more diverse but jumbled filter… that sometimes makes them seem uncaring by those in the left ideological group.”

          I pointed out that you misused the term “physiological”

          Your response: “Brain wiring.”

          I pointed out that brain wiring is not physiological, it is more likely psychological.

          You respond by quoting a social psychologist.

          Really?

        3. Frankly

          Hey DP or TP… blogs are a place for opinions.  My opinion stands.  I think scientists will one day uncover physiological differences in the brains of liberals and conservatives that help explain why they are liberal or conservative.  I do agree that psychology plays a big part… and that human brains are malleable from learning and experience… but it is my opinion that there is something else going on.   I know plenty of families where the parents are either conservative of liberal and one or two their kids are the opposite.  I also see evidence that liberal or conservative traits are largely genetic.

           

        4. Alan Miller

          So the world is divided neatly into liberals and conservatives?

          No, it’s actually divided into those that believe that the world is divided neatly into liberals and conservatives, and those that don’t.

        5. tribeUSA

          I’m a scientific researcher, and although not in the area of neuroanatomy and physiology, Frankly’s speculations seem like pretty reasonable hypotheses to me–I do know that a lot of research is going on in this area; and it seems to me that it is likely there will be found to be some relationships between subtle differences in structure/physiology that could have a large effect on nueroprocessing modes–what is unreasonable about this? Pugilist, it seems to me your objections amount to quibbling.

      2. ryankelly

        The Democrats are supporting someone with a history of lying because their groupism/fairness filter overwhelms their consideration of moral fortitude.

        Nope.  If you are talking about Hilary, I disagree.  Democrats just see past the 10 years or so of FOX News/Republican attacks and the calculated campaign of hatred and whisper campaign of misinformation started by the likes of Karl Rove and carried on by others.  If there were such a thing as a groupism/fairness filter, it has been turned on hard by the outrageous and relentless attacks, while at the same time engaging in a strategy of obstruction of any and all action.  Hence, Trump.

        Yes, I know that this article isn’t about presidential politics, but I had to respond.

      3. hpierce

         goes so far with their fairness doctrine that they attempt to shut down debate

        Obviously, to me at least, you have not watched the Republican “debates”, or you are looking for a second career as a somewhat “edgy” comedian.  Go for it!  You’ll be great!

        1. Frankly

          You have lost me here.  The GOP debates don’t have any debate rules.   The topic is the campus Palestinian sympathizer crybullies attempting to shut down any debate they see as pro-Israel.  I am guessing that very near 100% of those people would identify as liberal… or else they would be Palestinians.

  2. Barack Palin

    A very one-sided article.  Maybe David can get someone to write a column giving the Israeli side of the story.

    Here we have a speaker and we don’t even hear about what he spoke of, the story is basically all about the protesters and their views.

    1. David Greenwald

      My view is this: First of all, I think Jerika is going do a story getting the other side. But I disagree with the need to do that within a single article. We know this is one side of the story. Frankly we know what the other side of the story is. She chose to do an article highlighting the views of the protesters. Everyone reading this understand that this is one side of the story in a very heated, longstanding, divided debate.

        1. The Pugilist

          I don’t think anyone forced you to read the article or comment.  Obviously the author was covering the perspective of the protesters.  I happen to believe they are wrong.  But I don’t have a problem with them exercising their opinions.

        2. TheAuthor

          As an anthropologist, writing is often a tool to be able to step into the mindset of someone who has a completely different reality than you do. Even if they hold different political beliefs, you are afforded the opportunity to understand how they legitimize their ideas. I often read a lot of anthropological work written about people who share different views than me because it helps me learn 1)where they’re coming from 2)how they got there- what experiences support their views   3) If their claims hold water using their own logic and standards.   It also helps me to see why and how I’ve developed my own views, as well as challenges them. While I can completely appreciate you do not agree with the views, I hope the article offered you a glimpse into the reasoning of those who do. The goal of a good debate is to see those with opposing views as adversaries, not enemies. Once you can understand how and why they legitimize their ideas, we can reach a deeper level of analysis and exchange. Thanks again for reading and commenting. Hope to hear more from you in the future.

        3. tribeUSA

          TheAuthor–good post; glad to see your contribution to the discussion.

          On a lot of prior Vanguard threads; I had thought how good it would be to have an anthropologist wade into the discussion–hope you stick around on the Vanguard; I have a lot of respect for the anthropological approach to better understanding of the human world and to human self-knowledge.

    2. TheAuthor

      Hi Barack Palin,

      Thanks for your comment. I will have a follow up article featuring an interview with Aggies For Israeli, which gives them the opportunity to give a rebuttal and share their views.  I did not attend the event so I would be unqualified to give an account of the speech. I am, however, trying to get a transcript of it as soon as possible to make available. I was made aware of this issue when I intercepted the Statement of Action, which I quoted throughout the piece. You are correct that I happen to understand the frustrations of the protesters. I am generally on the side of any population facing oppression, as I am most concerned with preserving human life regardless of politics. I hope you will stand by for an update on the Aggies For Israel side of the issue. Thanks for reading!

  3. Tia Will

    Maybe I misread this, but it sounds like they were protesting his policies, not trying to stop him from speaking.”

    Could you clarify what actually happened ?  From my read of your story, it sounded as though the protesting students were in the hall where he was speaking and then waged a disruptive “walk out”. This to me is a tactic commonly used to be as disruptive as possible and could be argued as an attempt to “silence” the speaker.  If however, the protest were conducted prior to, outside of, or after the presentation, then I would see it as a legitimate expression of the protestors views and not an attempt to silence.

    Another question. Was this speaker sponsored by the University and therefore paid for by student fees or was there a fee to attend which covered the speakers cost or was the cost covered by pro – Israel groups or organizations ?  I think that the students would have a very valid point if their student fees were used to defray costs of a presenter who they feel represents values that they abhor without a balancing point of view also being presented at the same time.

    1. zaqzaq

      Tia,

      I agree with most of your comments here.  I do not agree that every presentation by a speaker must have a balancing viewpoint at that presentation.  Not all presentations should turn into a debate.  A different speaker with a different viewpoint can make a presentation in a different forum on campus.  I also believe that it is appropriate for the university to host a number of different viewpoints on different topics to provide a healthy balance for students.

      1. David Greenwald

        I agree with this. From our perspective, I also believe that not every article we have should internally balancing viewpoints. Sometimes I think it’s important to present one perspective. Commenters can provide added perspectives, follow up articles can present theirs.

      2. Frankly

        If not a point counter-point debate, then there needs to be an accounting of the separate speakers with opposing opinion/bias to uncover the institutional bias at work.

        The VG would be easily labeled as having a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli bias from this accounting.

        But I never see protests by the right-leaning groups denying a pro-Palestinian speaker. In fact, I think the right-groups want that since they see those people as being pretty much self-incriminating unless they lie… which they frequently do.

        1. The Pugilist

          “The VG would be easily labeled as having a pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli bias from this accounting.”

          Is this article reflective of the Vanguard’s position on the issue?

        2. TheAuthor

          Hello Frankly,

          Thanks for reading and sharing your views. There’s nothing I love more than a good debate. In most instances, critiques help me strengthen my writing and my work as a journalist, so I appreciate your skepticism. Keep them coming.

          One thing: Every article has a disclaimer and in no way seeks to speak on behalf of the Vanguard. See below:

          Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

          Happy reading!

    2. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I think that the students would have a very valid point if

      > their student fees were used to defray costs of a presenter

      > who they feel represents values that they abhor without a

      > balancing point of view also being presented at the same time.

      Do you also feel that every college sex ed class should have a super right winger telling kids that pre-marital sex, birth control and abortion are all wrong (and will result in them all going to “H E Double L”?

      I’ve met very few people that really want to hear “both sides” of every issue and when they say “balanced” it means that they want someone who agrees with them to also be there.

      I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that Tia does not want someone telling her unmarried patients that pre-martial sex is a sin every time she prescribes them birth control.

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that Tia does not want someone telling her unmarried patients that pre-martial sex is a sin every time she prescribes them birth control.”

        I honestly do not care if someone wants to point out their view that pre marital sex is a sin.  All of my patients are 18 or over with the unusual exception of a pediatric consultation. These women are adults and can make up their own minds. I do not believe in limitations on free speech with the safety exceptions such as not yelling “fire” in a theater. I believe in this so much that I believe that protesters outside abortion clinics have a right to verbalize their concerns as long as they do not physically block or attempt to otherwise intimidate women and providers from entering the clinic or threatening or attacking them.

        I have even expressed my support for the Westboro Baptist Church members’ right to speak about what I consider their totally abhorrent and disgusting beliefs.

        So yes, not only might you be, but you are completely and definitively wrong about what Tia thinks !

    3. TheAuthor

      Tia, you are correct. The protesters spoke their peace at the beginning and then left. It was in no way a replay of what happened several years ago at a talk I went to where a heckler was present.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiymOE_F278

      The speaker was there to promote Israel and may have been paid from the Aggies for Israel fund- it remains to be seen.

      1. Barack Palin

        The speaker was there to promote Israel and may have been paid from the Aggies for Israel fund- it remains to be seen.

        And if he was?  Don’t other groups fund speakers on campus?

        1. TheAuthor

          Yes, exactly. Meaning he does not need to be balanced in his speech. He was contracted by a particular group who were interested in his views.

  4. Tia Will

    zaqzaq

    The Palestinians have created the conditions that they live in.”

    The veracity of this comment depends on where you decide to draw the historic line on creation or causation. Palestinian’s living under oppressive circumstances today most certainly did not create the state of Israel. They did not create the rise of Hitler or Mussolini that created the need, as opposed to just the desire , for a Jewish state. They did not create the laws that severely restricted the number of European Jews that were given refuge in the US thus vastly increasing the number of Jews that were slaughtered by the Nazi’s and their collaborators. Israel did not spring up naturally as a peace loving nation in a barren desert. It was inserted artificially in response to genocide and the massive failures of the US and European nations to stop that genocide from occurring.

    In my view, there is much fault to go around none of which is the fault of the children who are now, in their turn being victimized.

    1. The Pugilist

      This is one case (AND ONLY ONE) where I think Frankly is right, everyone on both sides acts as a victim and in fact everyone on both sides has a legitimate claim to victimhood.  But to solve the problem we have to get past victims and villains and forge a meaningful middle ground.

        1. TheAuthor

          Haha. Come now. Give yourself more credit. Clocks are becoming obsolete. We will keep you relevant and say you are like an ipod that only plays one song stuck on repeat. Occasionally, it’s exactly the song someone wants to hear and hits the spot. 🙂 Thanks for your humor Frankly. Have a great evening.

           

    2. zaqzaq

      It is the fault of the parents of those children that voted Hamas into power in the Gaza strip after the Israelis pulled out of Gaza.  There was an opportunity for peaceful self determination.  Instead Hamas used Gaza as a launching ground for military attacks on Israel.  The misery, destroyed homes and loss of life, that is mentioned by the protesters occurred as a result of this Hamas policy decisions in Gaza.  They had a choice and decided on a military (some call it terrorist) course of action.  Hamas hides military assets behind human shields and the Israelis cause significant collateral damage when they respond militarily.  Neither side wins.

      You can go back in time to a number of points.  How the English restricted Jewish immigration to their territories after WWII.  The manner in which the English pulled out and the war between the Jews, Palestinians and Arab countries that followed resulting in the formation of Israel.  The attempts by the Arab neighbors to use military force to destroy Israel resulting in territorial gains.  Until both sides learn to trust each other and agree to live in peaceful co-existence these conditions will not change.

  5. Misanthrop

    They disrupted and left after they made their point however rudely. The speaker presumably went on with his presentation. Its too bad they didn’t stay and listen and then voice their complaints by questioning the speaker on their grievances. That would have been in the best tradition of the university to have a full airing and discussion of the issues.

    1. The Pugilist

      I kind of agree with this.  However, this is one issue where the twain will never meet on.  It’s too bad because there is a lot of middle ground to cover.

    2. TheAuthor

      This is indeed a tradition. When the Pro-Palestine folks have their apartheid wall up, the AFI clan come out in protest and there is a big display. It is a dance they do. If Aggies for Israel release a statement or plan of action I will be more than happy to cover it. While I cannot say that I am balanced or opinionated in my writing, I am definitely not for shielding readers from information that does not serve my case. I am all for people getting 100% of the information on both sides. It basically the only thing that separates writers from cult leaders 🙂  Thanks for reading.

      1. Miwok

        As a former person who supported the Anthropology Dept, at UCD, I am curious how you interpret the actions of these peoples.

        Some of the Grad students I supported in international trips, went “native” and one brought back a boyfriend after a year in the Jungle, chasing wildlife, and another graduated and took his family to Tanzania. But many of the professors were basically “ugly Americans”,  just arrogant tourists if they went out of country at all. They had preconceived conclusions, based on the Grant they were awarded, and much research is cased on that.

        I wonder if TheAuthor is an educator, or student? Is this article just an opinion, or report on what happened, not filtered? I only ask because of my experience seeing an event reported not as a reporter, but filtered with their views. I applaud TheAuthor as trying not to get in the way of the story.

  6. Alan Miller

    I went to this but only caught the last 20 minutes as I wasn’t able to get home early as I’d hoped.

    This guy was fantastic.  I was enthralled with what he had to say about why things were not working and what needed to be done to move Israel forward and countered much of anti-Israel propaganda.  I wish I had seen more and had more time so I could share his message.  I am waiting for a video of his speech to go on-line — if anyone finds it first please share it here.

    Was hoping seeing his picture this was coverage of the speech — but, well, this is the Vanguard.

    Appreciate that he was able to speak, and that the protesters were able to protest.  As long as that is the case, we are still in the USA at UCD.  I understand some campuses are simply banning “politically incorrect” speakers.  That is the end; we cannot ever go there.

    I didn’t catch the protest — just two guys sitting on the ground outside and about a dozen cops inside and outside.

  7. ryankelly

    This conflict has gone on for many decades now.  If people with opposing viewpoints can’t even talk, listen and interact in an educational setting, thousands of miles away from the region, then I can’t see a way for any progress being made.

    1. South of Davis

      Ryan wrote:

      > I can’t see a way for any progress being made.

      I predict that UCD will spend money (from of the housing budget) and build Jewish only and Palestinian only “safe spaces” on campus.  It is funny to think about but 100 years after Brown v. Board of Education we may be back to “separate but equal” schools where people will be “safe” from others that don’t look like them or have different views on issues…

       

        1. hpierce

          Pugilist… your moniker indicates you’re looking for a fight… I’ll bite… neither Hillel nor the Islamic center are “schools” per se, nor are they residential in nature… both are open to all, although there are expectations for respect for their traditions by ‘outsiders’.

        2. The Pugilist

          I still find that a difference that is more cosmetic than anything else.  I get it, people object to the notion of segregated spaces.  But the reality is a safe space is a safe space.

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