Students for Justice in Palestine set up a symbolic apartheid wall on Monday, May 15, as part of its Palestine Liberation Week. The wall is erected outside of The Arbor, standing for the second year in a row.
Slated from May 15-19, Palestine Liberation Week focuses on education and activism around the Israel-Palestine conflict.
“It’s a way for students to have to look at the wall and to have to learn about Palestine because it’s something that’s so big that you can’t ignore it anymore,” third-year sociology major and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) President Jwan Haddad said.
The wall presents a variety of panels regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. The leftmost panel provides greater context to Palestinian history, speaking to points in history like the commemoration of Nakba.
“Palestine has been continuously inhabited since the earliest periods of human history by the Indigenous population, going back to the Canaanites,” the wall read.
One of the panels also displayed information regarding Zionism in connection to the conflict.
“Zionism emerged in the late 19th century as an international and political movement founded by Theodor Herzl, the establishment of a homeland for exclusively Jewish people in the historic land of Palestine,” the wall read.
The wall has sparked controversy, including a whiteboard displayed from across The Arbor with alternative perspectives on the conflict.
Reactions have reached social media as well, with United Gauchos, a student organization publishing its first Instagram post on Tuesday titled “What the Anti-Israel wall at the Arbor won’t tell you.” The post describes the wall’s alleged fallacies and it “eras[ing] Israeli voices and experiences.”
“It takes a supremacist approach that frames Palestinians as the only ones with a legitimate connection to the land, instead of recognizing the humanity and rights of both groups,” the post read.
United Gauchos alleged the wall’s explanation on Zionism to be misleading.
“Anti-Zionism generally supports stripping those basic rights away from Jews and forcing them to live as a stateless minority,” the post read. “You can be a Zionist and also support Palestinian rights.”
Discussion around Israel and Palestine has historically been a contentious topic at UCSB, particularly regarding proposed Associated Student Senate resolutions that call for UCSB and the UC Regents to divest from companies that profit off of alleged human rights violations by the Israeli government against Palestinians.
Anushka Ghosh Dastidar contributed reporting.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the May 18, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.
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