August 20, 2019 | 81° F

Israel not biased when demolishing homes

Letter to the Editor

In a recent letter to The Daily Targum, “Students do not need to be sheltered from reality,” John Lisowski asked what was wrong with the Students for Justice in Palestine’s eviction notice campaign. He makes the argument that the information on the SJP fliers was “accurate and uncontested,” and asks for someone to explain why students should have to be sheltered from these “facts.” As they say in the vernacular: challenge accepted.

Israel does indeed demolish Palestinian homes. Israel also demolishes Israeli homes, and even Christian homes, or anyone else for that matter who doesn’t build a home according to law or code. New Brunswick does the same, and so does any government that has laws and rules as far as what constitutes a home built in accordance the law. Homes  — whether Palestinian or Israeli — built illegally on state lands or on lands that the builders do not own, or are not built to code, get demolished, and their “owners” are evicted. I’d love to see Lisowski try to build a house on University property without paying for the land or getting the proper permits, and then see if he would be allowed to keep his house. Many Palestinians believe that they can build a home wherever they please in the State of Israel without consulting with government. Often, though not always, those homes are demolished.

The SJP flier conveniently leaves out the fact that the overwhelming majority of “evictions” were issued due to the illegality of Palestinians having built there in the first place. Their homes, sometimes one-room, makeshift structures, are not built to code and lack plumbing or even electricity. Like most campaigns built on propaganda, the SJP also leaves out the inconvenient truth that dozens of the homes demolished, some belong to Palestinians that participated in terrorism. Israel has the policy, whether you support it or not — I personally don’t — that anyone who engages in terrorism loses their home. It’s a law meant to deter acts of terror. SJP clearly did not inform people that most house evictions were simply illegal construction or belonged to suicide bombers and their families. Other homes were destroyed in Gaza during a war begun by Hamas, when they placed their rockets next to civilian homes — an international war crime.

Palestinians and Israelis who follow the laws of the land, build legally according to code and pay their taxes don’t get evicted from their homes or have their homes demolished, as SJP would like you to believe. Those who break the laws, however, often do.

Interestingly, SJP doesn’t follow codes or rules either. According to university code, no student organization is allowed to distribute fliers without approval by student life. SJP knew this rule, yet blatantly and wantonly violated it and then bragged about it, sending a clear message that they don’t have to follow rules and that students’ rights to privacy is second to SJP’s politics.

Fortunately, our university does have rules, and we follow them so that we can maintain a respectful, inclusive and diverse community where students, like me, can feel that they have their own private space, and where their personal space is respected. SJP has no respect for university regulations, students’ privacy or the truth.

I encourage my fellow students not to follow the lead of John Lisowski and others like him who rely on a 30-second Google search for answers about complex issues. Get the facts, get educated and please, don’t support student groups that feel they can violate University policy and students’ privacy whenever their cause deems it necessary.

Jacob Binstein is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in Jewish studies and information technology and informatics.

By Jacob Binstein

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