SMC Club Hosts Presentation On The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

On last Thursday, November 29, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) club hosted a presentation in Santa Monica College’s Math Complex about the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict given by activist Omar Zahzah.

 Activist Omar Zahzah speaks on the history of Palestine and the historic events that led to the creation of the state of Israel at a meeting for the Santa Monica College chapter of Students of Justice for Palestine (SJP) on November 29, 2018 in Santa Monica, California (Oskar Zinnemann/Corsair Photo)

Activist Omar Zahzah speaks on the history of Palestine and the historic events that led to the creation of the state of Israel at a meeting for the Santa Monica College chapter of Students of Justice for Palestine (SJP) on November 29, 2018 in Santa Monica, California (Oskar Zinnemann/Corsair Photo)

The presentation, which was attended by a few dozen SMC students, gave a detailed history of the European colonization of Palestine, the development of Zionist ideas by Theodor Herzl, and the major events of the 1936 Palestinian general strike; the Holocaust, the declaration of the state of Israel, the Palestinian exodus of 1948, and the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the status of Palestinian refugees, the 1956 Israeli invasion of the Sinai, the Six Day War, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, the first and second intifadas, and the development of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Hesham Jarmakani, Associated Students Vice President and among those in attendance at the meeting, stressed the reasons why the presentation was given.

 Activist Omar Zahzah speaks on the history of Palestine and the historic events that led to the creation of the state of Israel at a meeting for the Santa Monica College chapter of Students of Justice for Palestine (SJP) on November 29, 2018 in Santa Monica, California (Oskar Zinnemann/Corsair Photo)

Activist Omar Zahzah speaks on the history of Palestine and the historic events that led to the creation of the state of Israel at a meeting for the Santa Monica College chapter of Students of Justice for Palestine (SJP) on November 29, 2018 in Santa Monica, California (Oskar Zinnemann/Corsair Photo)

“First and foremost, I would like to say that one of the reasons why I think this meeting should have taken place and I’m glad has taken place is that as of right now with every conflict and every issue, there is always two sides, there is always two perspectives,” said Jarmakani. “Lately there has been more and more of a pressure or a focus on one side [Israel], rather than the other and we would just like to shed some light in terms of what’s been going on.”

Zahzah, who has been involved in pro-Palestinian activism since 2012, warned the audience of the possible challenges facing activists in this field, such as being listed on the Canary Mission website, which has been accused by Israeli newspaper Haaretz of being a blacklist of pro-Palestinian activists. However, Zahzah remains optimistic.

“The fact that there is this much opposition shows we are working on a cause for justice. We are facing insurmountable odds to ameliorate the oppression of an oppressed group. This is always how it has worked throughout history. The odds seem insurmountable when the stakes are the highest precisely,” said Zahzah.

Jarmakani hopes that SMC students walk away from the presentation with more knowledge about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The fact is that it’s not just a dualistic, black and white, answer to a question that’s been going on for 70 years. It’s a problem that has been going on for 70 years but there is so many layers and different dimensions to it and hopefully we can layer those dimensions out,” said Jarmakani.