“Apartheid week” is being held this week, hosted by student groups Bears for Palestine, or BFP, and Berkeley Law Students for Justice in Palestine, with the goal of covering “the origins of Israeli apartheid and how it affects Palestinians today.”
Events began Monday and will continue throughout the week, ending with an “apartheid wall assemble” Friday.
“Apartheid week” was planned in collaboration with various Palestinian clubs across campuses in the United States and Canada, said a BFP representative who wished to remain anonymous due to security reasons, in an email.
They noted that the topics and discussions brought up during this week are important to Palestinian Americans and international students, since many have family members who have been “directly affected by the occupation.”
“This year, the United States has already given $3.8 billion to Israel. It’s only March. Since the year started, we have heard reports almost every week about different villages Israeli Defense Forces have been raiding,” the BFP representative said in the email. “We’re constantly worried that the next person we hear about dead will join our long list of family members who have passed at the hands of the regime.”
On Monday, they hosted a workshop discussing the debate around “greenwashing” in Palestine.
Tuesday’s event, titled “Apartheid: The Matrix of Control,” consisted of a workshop with Palestine DeCal facilitators, covering how Israel “controls” Palestinians in occupied territories, the representative said.
On Wednesday, they hosted a screening of “Farha” and had a Q&A with the director Darin Sallam. Thursday’s event, titled “Youth: The Yearn for Return,” consisted of a workshop about Palestinian activism over the years, the representative said, along with a panel discussing questions accumulated throughout the week.
Friday’s planned event consists of a makeshift wall, which they plan to plaster on campus. The BFP representative added that the event and wall were supposed to represent the separation of Palestinians.
“As Palestinians, we’re always attacked when we try to speak about our injustices. The truth is hard to hear, and many choose to be ignorant,” the BFP representative said in the email. “We’re just asking for our basic human rights. We demand our right to return and live in our ancestral homeland without the constant fear of death and erasure.”
A campus sophomore, who wishes to remain anonymous for safety concerns, said in an email that it was “wonderful” to see many people on campus coming together to discuss Palestine.
The source added that the events serve as a reminder of the reality of the “trauma, difficulties, and hardships” Palestinians face.
“It’s incredibly heartbreaking that people have become so desensitized to violence, specifically violence occurring in the MENA region,” the source said in the email. “These events not only bring people together, but they educate us on what a free Palestine really is, and challenges us to unlearn false narratives that have been embedded in our education system and the general media.”