Generally, I try not to take part in too much dialogue regarding Israel and Palestine simply because it often feels like a circular discussion with no acknowledgment of truth or dissent on either end because my peers are too deeply ingrained in their personal beliefs to truly allow themselves to be swayed by views that do not parallel their own.
I say this not to berate anyone, but to make it clear that despite an individual’s level of education and knowledge, the role that a person’s upbringing plays in their identity also serves to heavily entrench them in the beliefs that correlate. In essence, if you are a Muslim then almost by definition you support Palestine, and if you are Jewish (referring mostly to American Jews), then you are more than likely a supporter of Israel.
Before reading about this BU senior’s decision to hold up a Palestinian flag at the Shabbat 1500 event on campus, I immediately knew there would be a serious backlash from the Jewish population at this school. Ordinarily, I would neither support nor condemn vocalizing political views at an event like this, but I can say on behalf of this student why he chose to do something like this. As someone in the comments section of this article stated, the disproportionate amount of Jewish/Israeli supporters and community far outnumber the Islamic/Palestinian one and is not immediately apparent unless you are part of the latter minority, and therefore any attempts to make a conversation regarding the mentioned conflict can hardly be conducted peacefully without an overwhelming number of proponents for one side to the point where the opponents’ views are drowned out.
As soon as this op-ed gained attention, it jumped to becoming one of the most-read articles on Pipe Dream for the week. The comments section generated some good discussion, but plainly painted an accurate picture of how back-and-forth conversations regarding the conflict often becomes. Instead of viewing the incident as isolated and trying to figure out why the student would do such a thing as what I would call a peaceful demonstration, a barrage of furious commentary materialized instead, with calls of ignorance and antisemitism. I was initially taken aback, but later deemed this response as standard considering the demographics of our student body. What pains me about this article and the response to it was the predictability from start to finish: one student taking a stand, a uproar of disapproval, and then back to flat lining.