This March 11, 2009 marks the 11th annual Israel Block Party, an event that takes place on the South Mall of UT campus organized by Texans for Israel and Texas Hillel. Though the IBP is often advertised as a cultural celebration, the event is very much politicized, with tents asking you to write a letter to an Israel Defense Forces soldier, camo face painting, Bedouin tents, and postcards that say “Where in the Middle East are daughters valued as much as sons? Only in Israel.” Clearly, these signs and tents are meant to do far more than share a piece of Israeli culture, rather, they are meant to convince the University and greater Austin community that even in this time of occupation, apartheid and segregation, Israel is a country to be championed, right or wrong.
Every year the Palestine Solidarity Committee and its supporters give a public response to the Block Party. This is not an objection of culture, but of the very political nature of the event and the undemocratic policies of the state of Israel. Given the outrage over the brutal Israeli military attack on Gaza just a few months ago, it is more critical than ever to show this campus that we will not endorse injustice and occupation.
Please join us this year to show your support for the human and civil rights of the Palestinian people. We will meet at 3:30PM in front of the Texas Union on Wednesday, March 11 and go together to the IBP on the South Mall.
This year’s response to the Block Party will be in remembrance of the 4.6 million UN-registered Palestinian refugees, 780,000 of whom were forcibly removed from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel. Participants will dress as Palestinian refugees from 1948. If you have props and clothing, please wear it/bring them.
Palestinian refugees of al-Nakba wore a combination of both 40’s era Western and traditional dress.
-White button-up shirts, slacks, loose suit jackets
-Traditional galibiyas with suit jackets over them
-Fedoras or keffiyehs wrapped around the head
-Long Western dresses or skirts
-Traditional dress, wrapped with cloth belt
-Loose black or white (plain colored) scarves for weather protection
-baby dolls (representing child refugees)
-bundles of clothing tied with rope
-clay and metal pots
For a better idea of how to dress, see these photos:
If you do not have suitable clothing for this, please wear all black. To honor the solemnity of the Nakba (Palestinian catastrophe), this will be a peaceful response to the Block Party.
We will provide signs and some props. If you cannot meet us at the Union at 3:30 because of scheduling conflicts, please find us at the South Mall of campus. The event lasts through the evening.