Students for Justice in Palestine commemorate ninth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week

Kelsey Leyva

Kent State Students for Justice in Palestine are attempting to give students at Kent State University a better understanding of what it means to live in apartheid.

This week marks the ninth annual Israeli Apartheid Week, according to the Israeli Apartheid Week website. IAW is an international series of events including lectures, rallies and film screenings to raise awareness about Israel’s segregation policies and to gain support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel campaign.

Due to varying schedules at universities and in cities worldwide, IAW takes place on slightly different weeks. IAW starts in late February in Europe and moves through countries such as South Africa, Canada and the United States in early to mid-March, according to the IAW website.

Ghassan Rafeedie, graduate anthropology student, is a member of SJP and has played an active role in the coordinating of the events for Kent State’s rendition of IAW.

“What we want people to take away from our events is an understanding of the Palestinian perspective,” Rafeedie said. “The purpose of this week is to educate students and give them an idea, as best we can, of what apartheid really looks and feels like.”

In order to give students a point of reference of the conditions in Palestine, SJP is having a screening of the documentary “5 Broken Cameras” at 6 p.m. Thursday in room 317 of the Kent Student Center. According to the Film Forum website, the documentary by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi takes an international tragedy and puts it in the perspective of a family’s life.

“You’ll be able to see some of the things we can’t express perfectly by educating from a distance,” Rafeedie said. “For example, we could never truly explain the humiliation of daily life under a military regime, but this movie, to some extent, can.”

Rafeedie is hopeful that students will walk away from the events with a more clear understanding of the conflict between Israel and Palestine then what the media is currently providing.

“We hear the mainstream media talking about the conflict constantly,” Rafeedie said. “We’re rarely hearing about how Palestinian refugees cannot return to the homes they were forcibly evacuated from merely because of their race and religion. Our goal is to teach people about the conflict and teach them that while American complicity is a part of the past, it doesn’t have to be a part of the future.”

Contact Kelsey Leyva at [email protected].