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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Campus organizations host educational discussion on Palestine’s current events

Students spoke on the nation’s historical portrayals, present day outcomes

<p>Majd Afaghani, attends UF SJP’s discussion in Turlington wearing a Palestine kufiyyeh neck scarf on Thursday Oct. 12, 2023.</p>

Majd Afaghani, attends UF SJP’s discussion in Turlington wearing a Palestine kufiyyeh neck scarf on Thursday Oct. 12, 2023.

A crowd of around 100 UF students lingered inside and around a Turlington classroom — guarded by several police officers — for “Day of Resistance,” an informational lecture hosted by three UF organizations Thursday evening on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Islam on Campus (IOC) and Arab Students’ Association (ASA) hosted the discussion “Day of Resistance,” which the national chapter of SJP declared as a demonstration to all college campuses across the world on its Instagram. 

Omar Ateyah, a 22-year-old UF journalism senior and president of IOC, said the three organizations came together to organize the event in hopes of informing students on the nation’s history.

“We decided that it was really important to educate people on the decades of oppression that Palestinians have been experiencing,” he said.

Ateyah spoke during the presentation on the development of war between Israel and Palestine, emphasizing the need for resistance from “settler colonialism and apartheid.”  

Students presenting made historical connections of the current conflict to the Trail of Tears in the U.S. and Apartheid in South Africa. Other students highlighted the difference between Zionism and antisemitism; constructing a system of oppression; and propaganda.

Students like 19-year-old UF civil engineering sophomore Dareen Abukhalil said she attended the presentation to stand in solidarity with Palestinian resistance. 

“I came here to support Palestine about the ongoing human rights violation happening in Gaza,” she said. “Free Palestine.” 

Matthew Boughton, an 18-year-old UF computer science and math freshman, attended the event, expressing concerns for the nation’s vulnerability. Several of his friends are from Palestine, and he fears for their families, he said. 

“There’s a lot of propaganda, and I hope that people can better understand the situation and they're able to understand that all lives do matter,” he said.

Boughton believes the media should also address the historical buildup of the conflict so students can understand different perspectives of the situation.

“I hope for people to understand more of the 70 years conflict that’s happening right now,” he said.

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The lecture follows a candlelight vigil supporting Israel from Hamas Monday night, which ended in panic after a miscommunication among the crowd.

On Tuesday, UF President Ben Sasse wrote an email to Jewish alumni condemning Hamas and ensuring campus security for the possibility of any violent anti-Israel protests.  Board members of SJP and ASA said they haven't heard any addresses from Sasse regarding the war. 

Contact Nicole at nbeltran@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @nicolebeltg.




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Nicole Beltran

Nicole Beltran is a second-year journalism and economics major. This is her first semester as the race and equity reporter. She has previously worked as a translator and editor for El Caimán. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, trying new foods and drawing.


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