Feb 18, 2011

#BDS: Hampshire SJP protest IDF soldier's talk on campus

"Dear Community Members,
We are issuing this statement as concerned members of Hampshire’s Students for Justice in Palestine to inform the community about the event that took place on Thursday, February 3, 2011. We feel that the letter that President Fried sent out the following day omitted crucial information about what took place that night and that it is necessary to clarify the nature of this specific event.
Sergeant Benjamin Anthony of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) came to give a presentation on behalf of his organization, Our Soldiers Speak. The sole purpose of this organization is to present the lives of Israeli soldiers and the wars they are a part of in a sympathetic light, with no mention of the Palestinian civilians who suffer as a result of these wars. As such, they implicitly and explicitly defend the internationally recognized war crimes soldiers like Sgt. Benjamin Anthony have participated in.
Appalled that an soldier from an occupying army was coming to speak openly on our campus, a multi-generational group of students and community members participated in a collective protest during the event. Our protest had multiple goals: to call attention to the fact that there was no space for the voices of Palestinians to speak to the injustices committed against them by such soldiers like Sgt. Anthony, to challenge his purported “a-political” participation in the occupation of Palestine, and to offer a safe space for support and remembrance of those thousands silenced, killed, and displaced by the Israeli regime. In the interest of transparency, we would like to outline the steps we took to carry out each of these goals."
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