Various UC Santa Barbara campus organizations published online statements standing in solidarity with Students for Justice in Palestine and Palestinian liberation.
The statements of solidarity are in light of the three-week-old siege of the Gaza Strip by the state of Israel following an Oct. 7 attack on Israel by militant group Hamas and subsequent attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel. The attacks include a blast that killed hundreds of people at Gaza City hospital on Oct. 17, a blackout that cut off phone and internet service for more than two million Palestinians in Gaza that was restored 34 hours later on Sunday and the halting of water and food supplies from the strip.
The Israel-Hamas war has killed 1,400 people in Israel, 8,005 Palestinians in Gaza and 116 Palestinians in the West Bank, according to the Gaza’s Ministry of Health, Israeli officials, international observers and aid groups.
Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) has held various activist events following the attacks in support of Palestinian liberation, beginning with an informational meeting on Oct. 9, a “March for Palestine” protest followed by Liberation Concert on Oct. 21 and a campus walkout on Oct. 25.
UCSB’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) published an “Official Statement on Palestine” on Oct. 12, extending its solidarity and condolences to the lives lost in the Gaza Strip, alongside collaborating with SJP on events in support of Palestine.
“We condemn the Israeli occupation, their targeted and indiscriminate killing of civilians, and hold them accountable for the current escalation of violence occurring in Occupied Palestine,” the statement read. “In our faith, it is our duty to engage in critical self-reflection and to actively challenge complacency in order to become a closer community.”
MSA noted the importance of “highlighting the struggles of the Palestinian people and not allowing Israel to free themselves of any blame” in the statement.
“It is important that we all stay informed about the issues and severity of the situation in Palestine,” the statement read.
El Congreso de UCSB published a statement on Oct. 13 to the UCSB community and the community at large in solidarity with Palestine.
“El Congreso de UCSB stands in solidarity with Students for Justice in Palestine, and with Palestinians around the world,” the statement read.
El Congreso spoke to its historically activist purpose as an organization to reaffirm its support toward Palestinian liberation.
“Historically, El Congreso has stood for and supported the liberation of all marginalized peoples both on and off campus,” the statement read. “We will always stand with all oppressed people who are globally resisting supremacist violence, genocide, settler colonialism, and ethnic cleansing.”
The Afghan Student Association (ASA) at UCSB published a statement on Oct. 14 alongside a reposted Instagram post from Revive Afghanistan NZ, reaffirming Palestinian struggle and condemning Chancellor Henry T. Yang’s email statement on Oct. 13 on the ongoing attacks.
“We are writing today with deep care for our students, staff, and faculty, as well as our broader campus community, who are impacted by the violent attacks on Israel and escalating devastation in the region,” the email statement from Yang read. “Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, the countless Israeli and Palestinian civilians who are impacted, and all who are affected near and far.”
“We, the Afghan Student Association at UCSB, reaffirm the validity of the brave Palestinian people in their struggle against ethnic cleansing,” the statement read. “This is a struggle that we, as Afghan students, know all too well.”
ASA defined the meaning of supporting Palestinian resistance in their statement.
“Supporting Palestinian resistance is not supporting the death of innocent civilians, but the right of Palestinians to fight for equal rights in accordance with the rights afforded to their Israeli neighbors,” the statement read.
“We will always stand united with Palestine in the face of imperialism and colonial conquests.”
UCSB’s Black Student Union published a statement on Oct. 20 to the UC community to formally declare its solidarity with Palestine, condemning the UC for its “failure to acknowledge the escalating humanitarian crisis in Palestine.”
“On behalf of the Black Student Union at the University of California, Santa Barbara, we formally declare solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in opposition to the settler colony of Israel’s oppressive, illegitimate regime,” the statement read.
“The University of California, as an institution, prides itself on principles of justice, inclusivity, and global awareness, yet its deafening silence amidst ongoing atrocities speaks volumes,” the statement continued.
The statement echoed the demands of SJP to the UC: a formal apology from the UC Board of Regents regarding its statement on the war, an acknowledgement of Palestinian lives and statehood, acknowledging Israel “as an apartheid state” and full divestment of the UC from “corporations that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine.”
“As long as we have our voices, we shall continue to combat oppression,” the statement read. “We grieve for all those whose lives have been taken, not only as civilians but as liberators.”
“We recognize and support the inherent rights of the indigenous people of Palestine,” the statement continued. “Our ideals are aligned to the liberation of Palestinians and for all our allies across the diaspora.”
The Associated Students (A.S.) Black Women’s Health Collaborative (BWHC) released a statement to the UCSB community on Oct. 23, expressing support for Students for Justice in Palestine and for Palestinian liberation.
“We mourn alongside the families and give condolences to those affected by the ongoing tragedies in Gaza and West Bank,” the statement read. “We acknowledge the systemic oppression endured by Palestinians for generations.”
BWHC defined the ongoing siege as “not merely a conflict” but “a profound liberation movement tirelessly fighting for justice” in the statement.
“The world has fallen short, consistently failing Palestine in every conceivable dimension,” the statement read. “This is a stark example of imperialist exploitation with a significant power imbalance.”
“We strongly condemn the genocide of the Palestinian people and recognize the generations of settler colonialism inflicted by Israel,” the statement continued.
A version of this article appeared on p. 1 of the Nov. 2, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.
CORRECTION [11/2/2023, 12:12 p.m.]: The original version of this article had incorrect hyperlinks corresponding with two of the details regarding the contextualization of the siege of the Gaza Strip, along with incorrectly reporting that “thousands” were killed amidst the blast at a Gaza City hospital instead of “hundreds.” The article has since been corrected.