Texans for Israel’s continued insistence on declaring their rally as “pro-peace” calls to my mind the absurdly-named “Peacekeeper” nuclear missiles proudly kept in the United States military arsenal. It’s not enough to declare an empty support for peace, it must be accompanied with sincere and genuine actions and desires to promote peace, including the condemnation of violence. The Texans for Israel self-described “pro-peace and pro-Israel” rally occurred in the context of Israel’s military operations on Gaza, where today the United Nations humanitarian chief Sir John Holmes said he was shocked “by the systematic nature of the destruction,” and this context cannot be ignored. In effect, the Texans for Israel rally was organized to support Israel’s decision to drop two million pounds of explosives on the densest population on earth. Texans for Israel refuses to condemn Israel’s acts of mass violence which have resulted in the deaths of over 1300 people, including over 400 children, in the past month. Texans for Israel’s actions and statements do not promote peace.
The Palestine Solidarity Committee organized a counter-protest in order to communicate a very simple message to Israel’s supporters on our campus: oppression is not peace. It is not peace to drop bombs on a civilian population. It is not peace to drop bombs on UN schools, hospitals, and relief warehouses. It is not peace to wall-in and enforce a total blockade on 1.5 million civilians. It is not peace to keep 3.5 million people living under a brutal military administration for over 41 years.
The participants in the counter-demonstration are also pro-Israeli and pro-peace. The only difference is that we understand that to be pro-Israeli and pro-peace, you must be pro-Palestinian as well. Palestinians and Israelis live on the same land, under the same government, but with starkly different rights and freedoms. It is not peace to promote one ethnic population at the detriment of another, it is an act of violence.
Co-chair, Palestine Solidarity Committee