uea(su) officer statement on palestine
Content note: death, violence, antisemitism, colonialism, racism, ethnic cleansing
In the past week, the Israeli government and occupation forces have resumed bombing and shelling of Palestinian communities in Gaza, in addition to the daily state-sanctioned violence against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The ethnic cleansing of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem is causing further outrage and repulsion around the world. Palestinians are being forced from their homes and families are being torn apart. Those who exercise their internationally recognised right to resist such crimes are met with force from the Israeli occupation forces. Hundreds are being killed and many more injured, meanwhile international media is being silenced.
UEA SU deplores and denounces this violence. We stand in solidarity with our Palestinian students and with all Palestinian peoples. UEA SU condemns the policies of the Israeli government and the actions of the Israeli occupation forces towards Palestinians and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Though they are physically taking place elsewhere, these crimes are felt viscerally by Palestinians around the world, including our students, their friends, and their families.
Several Israeli civilians have also lost their lives or sustained injuries due to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. We offer our deepest condolences to our Jewish and Israeli students in their grief. UEA SU supports the right of both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to life, liberty, justice, and self-determination in all of historic Palestine.
The actions of the Israeli government are not the actions or responsibility of the global Jewish community and are no excuse for antisemitism. It is not incumbent on British Jews to explain, defend, or otherwise give account of events in Palestine or their feelings and opinions towards them.
There has been a rise in antisemitism following the attacks on Palestinian communities. This includes antisemitic graffiti on a local business and the Adat Yeshua Messianic religious and community centre in Norwich. Such actions are repugnant. We condemn the co-opting of Palestinian trauma to justify antisemitic hatred and violence. All forms of oppression are as intertwined as they are deplorable. We stand in solidarity with our Jewish students and the wider Norwich and British Jewish community at this time.
For many of our students, all these events are causing pain, fear, and grief; please note the following resources are available to you:
- Report and Support: report racism, such as Islamophobia or antisemitism, to UEA Student Services via this service
- UEA Student Services’ Wellbeing Team: this team can provide support for the impact of these events on your wellbeing
- SU Advice Service: our advisors can offer guidance on managing and accessing support for the impact of these events on your studies
- Your Academic Hub: apply to your hub for academic concessions to mitigate the impact of these events on your studies
As your Union, we can do more. We reaffirm our support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. BDS is a non-violent Palestinian-led campaign calling the international community and businesses which operate in the Occupied Territories to withdraw financial and material support from Israel until it complies fully with international law. We will open up conversations with the University about their position on BDS, as well as the possibility of introducing ‘cultural trauma extensions’ to recognise how the cultural, community, and social trauma caused by events outside of the UK can affect students here and have a detrimental impact on your studies.
In love and solidarity to all,
Em Anderson – Welfare, Community and Diversity Officer
Ayane Hida – Postgraduate Education Officer
Lizzie Payne – Activities and Opportunities Officer
Callum Perry – Undergraduate Education Officer
Hamish Williams – Campaigns and Democracy Officer