I was profoundly disturbed by the indecent demonstration in the middle of Plaza of the Americas on Tuesday that featured graphic images of aborted fetuses.
Opinion | Letters To The Editor
When J Street U at UF was asked to endorse the vigil in memory of three Muslim students murdered at UNC Chapel Hill, our Executive Board unanimously gave its support. As an organization which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — one Israeli, one Palestinian — we were shocked to find ourselves accused of supporting the “systematic murder of Muslims in Palestine and the Middle East” and as an organization that “actively perpetuates Islamophobia,” as Students for Justice in Palestine’s op-ed accused last week. Those hurtful statements reflect a deep misunderstanding of the principles for which J Street U stands. The piece also made a number of blanket statements that fail to distinguish the nuances between different Jewish and pro-Israel organizations, which have different strategies and missions. Our organization, J Street U, is the student organizing arm of J Street. We strongly support the well-being and self-determination of the Palestinian people, as well as Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state.
The argument made by Andrew Silver in his editorial “Refusing vaccines for veganism is a right” is ignoring a crucial part to the premise. He states that, if an outbreak occurs, then the unvaccinated employee should be put on paid leave or work from home (or in his case, excused from classes). Silver seems to think very highly of himself, and apparently believes that UF does also. Unfortunately, it’s not all about him or his dietary ethics.
The fatal shooting of Deah Shaddy Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha has sparked outrage. While mainstream media is still portraying the incident as a killing over a “parking dispute,” we know that this was a hate crime against the Muslim community. In turn, many communities are condemning Islamophobia. But what does their condemnation actually mean? A vigil at UF that happened Friday evening was endorsed by many different student organizations, including the Jewish Student Union and J Street UF, two organizations that actively perpetuate Islamophobia through their acceptance and funding of Israeli apartheid. What needs to be understood is that one cannot claim to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community while simultaneously supporting Zionism and Israeli state-sponsored terrorism against the Muslim world.
One and a half percent. That’s the percentage of UF students who showed up to watch the Student Government debate Tuesday based on the 500-person estimate by this publication. The Freshman Leadership Council is claiming that the debate was not recorded in any manner — text, audio or video — to protect the integrity of the debate. I was told that the Alligator live-tweeted the event, which is fantastic except that Twitter is nothing but sound bites, and a paper can only print so big of an article. Where is the integrity of an event if 98.5 percent of the university cannot see it in its entirety?
If there’s one thing this world has no shortage of, it’s opinions on the State of Israel. There are vocal proponents and vocal oppositions. The spectrum of opinions on Israel’s existence ranges from “shouldn’t exist at all” to “unconditionally” and yet, as with most political things, the middle of the spectrum is largely ignored. Although it may be the least-recognized group of advocates, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist. This is why the need for J Street U on UF’s campus is so pressing. The Middle East is, and always has been, a hotspot for political and religious tension. Ignoring this tension in favor of one group or another is illogical and unproductive. J Street U aims to change this.
Earlier this week in the column titled “SG has room for improvement,” writer Christopher Wilde attempted to make the case that Student Government and Swamp Party are not visible to students because the Swamp Party Facebook page went 114 days without posting an update.
My name is Ricky Salabarria, and I currently serve as the Swamp Party spokesman. I am very excited to announce that our party’s slate for the Spring 2015 Student Government Elections has been released. After three days of qualifying, slating and interviewing, Swamp Party is confident that we have selected the 50 most qualified and capable students to serve in the Student Senate and bring our university the experience it deserves.
On the very day that political cartoonists in France were murdered by Islamic radicals simply for exercising their right to freedom of speech, Students for Justice in Palestine member Amanda Nelson wrote an opinion piece urging the boycott of the only free country, according to Freedom House’s rankings, in the Middle East: Israel. Aside from her absolute lack of empirical evidence for any of the allegations she hurls at Israel, she provides no proof whatsoever that boycotting companies such as Elbit Systems or Caterpillar will have any sort of tangible, positive effect on even one Palestinian-Arab.
During our lifetimes, members of our generation have witnessed events that will define the 21st century. Some of these moments feel very close to home — the 9/11 attacks, for example. Others seem far away and disconnected from us.
I bet I can predict at least one of your New Year’s resolutions: working out more, eating healthier, losing weight? If I was right, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. This time of year brings a tsunami of reflection that inspires change. This specific tsunami, however, is fueled by a toxic epidemic that has taken hold of our society: thin privilege. On the flip side of discrimination rests a collection of benefits known as privilege.
In his Friday’s letter to the editor, Kyle Gorman expressed concerns about the location of Krishna Lunch on the Plaza of the Americas. Our current location offers sitting places and convenience for students, as well as accessibility for setting up and serving the lunch.
It’s a tale as old as time in The Gator Nation. The fierce dichotomy between bicyclists and pedestrians has been going strong as long as I can remember. There has been a constant struggle over who truly controls the pavement and where each party should dominate.
Thank you to the Alligator and to Tenley Ross for doing such a fine job on the story about Food Chains coming to the Hippodrome State Theatre today. I appreciate that Tenley interviewed so many people involved in producing and bringing this incredible documentary to Gainesville for its first ever showing.
[The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Alligator.]
Those speaking of academic freedom in relation to the academic boycott failed to mention the lack of academic freedom that Palestinians are afforded when they are denied access, funding, materials and mobility by the state of Israel on a daily basis.