This month, many people in the United States and across the globe are witnessing the controversial Israeli Apartheid Week which sheds light on the Palestinian liberation struggle.
The event started six years ago by a number of pro-Palestine activists and students. IAW is designed to show solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as encourage boycotts and divestment of Israeli products.
On this occasion, Palestinians and Israelis express their views and sentiments regarding IAW. Many Israelis believe that this event only draws more opposition and animosity toward Israelis and Jews.
Daniela Norris, a former Israeli diplomat and co-author of the book Crossing Qalandiya, believes that Israeli Apartheid Week reinforces the fear that Israelis and Jews are being targeted unjustly, “’Apartheid week’ only taps into this fear, or obsession, or whichever name you’d like to call this. Most Israelis would see it as just another proof that everyone is out to get us; therefore, everything we do to defend ourselves is justified. Many Israelis will tell you that we act the way we do because we fear that the Palestinians and the Arab world want to destroy us, and our behavior is merely a reaction to that. The 1948 and 1967 wars serve as proof to us.”
Norris also believes that boycotting Israeli products will not yield any productive results.
A Palestinian residing in Saudi Arabia, who requested to remain anonymous, expresses the following in response to witnessing Israeli Apartheid Week, “I am absolutely behind the Israeli Apartheid Week. I think we should be doing everything we can to make people aware and informed of what is going on in Palestine, and I emphasize the fact that it is Palestine, and I feel I have the right to call it Palestine, just the way the “Israelis” feel they have the right to call it Israel.”
In responses to Norris’s belief of the right for Israel to defend itself, she states, “All IAW is doing is informing people and stating facts. The Palestinians are fighting an honorable battle with people who are trying to annihilate and erase them off the face of the earth.”
Yifat Shaik, an Israeli pro-Palestinian activist, believes that the fear that is expressed by many Israelis and Jews is understandable. However, she believes that although this is the case, Israel Apartheid Weeks aims to draw information about the crisis that Palestinians face.
When asked why she is a pro-Palestine activist who denounces Israel’s policies, Shaik, responded, “It was only the war in Gaza that truly made me change. Something about [it] all didn’t make any sense. So I started researching- first [on] the internet, and then in reality (going to the West Bank etc.). And slowly, I started to change my mind. I am against what Israel is doing, simply because I see it as wrong, and that maybe I can try and change something.”