Yesterday I attended the decision meeting of Victoria University of Wellington Student Union (VUWSA), to affiliate with Birzeit University in the West Bank, Palestine as part of a ‘Right to Education’ campaign. The process took about 1 hour.
Just before the meeting started I was informed that a group of Israelis’ had congregated outside the meeting venue. I decided to personally invite them to take part in the Student Union motion to help with Palestinians right to education, and to give them some old flyers I had made outlining some of Israels war crimes (updated version here). I found that many of them had pro-Israel flyers with them, so I swapped where possible. Except for one person named Jacob who was rather hostile in saying “get out of my face”, and “get out of my space” when I kindly invited him, I found everyone else was respectful and civilized. This was despite our views on the subject were clearly not the same after I asked the group “Hey, what do you think of all the Mossad propaganda posted around the campus recently?“.
After the motion successfully passed for VUWSA to affiliate, I also spoke with half a dozen students who identified with Zionism. Although they told me they believed strongly that Israel had the right to its own state, one of the students clearly indicated that they had never given much thought as to where Palestinians might be able to form their own state free from Israeli occupation.
I also spoke with Jacob again straight after the meeting. He told me I was a “green eyed nazi” because my flyer made reference to Israeli secretly harvesting Palestinian organs for profit. I tried to tell him that Israeli’s themselves have admitted this crime and to check the references on the flyer. His response was that he had already researched it.
30 minutes later while passing him on campus, he asked for my last name. While I continued walking I told him we were already best friends because we were already on a 1st name basis. He then attempted to make an unpleasant scene by shouting self-righteously for other wandering students to hear that I was “pure evil” and a “nazi” and similar. While he was shouting this at me his gaze shifted into empty space as if visualizing some invisible enemy. Not social – end of conversation.
Now what is interesting is that this guy had, just one hour prior to demonizing me, spent a couple of minutes preaching to VUWSA students about the heart-felt unity and peace that an Israeli university professor or two, had for their neighbor states & for the occupied Palestinians.
Actually my eyes are brown and I am of mixed race, 50% Aryan, 50% Pacific Austric. And last year when Paul Henry made unappropriate comments about the Governor General I spent more than a couple of hours on facebook encouraging his resignation.
Obviously in order to live harmoniously together it is important to respect and understand other peoples views even if the other party suffers badly from superiority complex. But when people call you names repeatedly because they can accept defeat, don’t accept anything you have to say, and basically fail to treat others as humans – what can you do? Sometimes you can lead a horse to water, but in this case the thirsty horse only thinks the water from Israel is good, and all other water is cursed.
Related page : What is fanaticism?