A grass-root initiative in the United States is pushing back against the anti-Israel narrative with ‘Palestinian Apartheid Week’ in a bid to counter ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ – an annual tradition across North American and European universities.
The anti-Israel narrative, which calls for political isolation and the delegitimization of Israel over its policies regarding Palestinians, has gained significant traction in the West in recent years.
Students at Stanford University in California are working to “turn the tables” and foster the narrative of “Palestinian apartheid,” said Stanford MBA student Jonathan Rozenberg.
“College campuses are not a very friendly place for people who are Israeli or Jewish,” Rozenberg said.
“It’s not just during ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ that college campuses are so hostile toward Israel. But it is sort of the climax. They throw around the word ‘apartheid’ to bully anyone who walks around with a kippa or who openly supports Israel. It’s pretty nasty.”
‘Israeli Apartheid Week,’ which is run by the organization that goes by the same name (IAW), is an annual series of lectures and rallies at universities that began in Toronto, Canada, in 2005.
According to IAW, its aim is to “educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system.”
“For the longest time, all [pro-Israeli] students would do is fight the claims. But by even acknowledging the premise, you’ve lost the debate,” Rozenberg explained.
“The idea is to turn the tables, and put the spotlight where it really belongs, which is Palestinian apartheid.”
He shared that students are “taken aback” in response to the gimmicks of ‘Palestinian Apartheid Week,’ which includes tents called “safe spaces” to represent bomb shelters in Israel – used when civilians are under potential rocket fire.
“Students walk by and go, ‘Wow, that paints a different picture.’ That is the reaction we are looking for,” Rozenberg said.