Students, community members continue to protest in support of Palestine

Students, community members continue to protest in support of Palestine

The support for Palestine continues as old and new protesters show up in the past and foreseeable Saturdays to share their signs and voices, including veterans and Jewish supporters. 

For the foreseeable Saturdays in Corvallis, Oregon State University students and community members will continue protesting in front of the Benton County Courthouse, which was organized last Saturday by the Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, including further collaboration with Veterans for Peace.  

Azeem Hussaini, an OSU graduate who studied political science, helped start the SUPER organization on campus in 2017 said that it was “amazing” to see the turnout at the rally. 

SUPER is a multi-campus organization ith chapters at other universities such as Portland State University and University of Washington.

At OSU, due to most of the members from SUPER graduating in 2018, and issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization went dormant. However, students are working to re-establish the organization

Hussaini described the energy at the rally as a mix between helplessness and hopefulness. 

“I think we’re trying to mirror the spirit of the Palestinians,” Hussaini said. 

According to him, the protestors want to be reflective of the “fighting,” “despair” and “hope” that the Palestinians may be enduring. 

“There’s one state that has amazing military capability, that has the backing of the United States … against (Palestinians) who have literally nothing,” Hussaini said. 

In reference to the U.S. sending aid to Israel, such as money and two Iron Dome systems, he believes that we – U.S. citizens – are all implicated. 

“That’s why you see a lot of people in the U.S. coming out, because our tax dollars go to the suffering that we’re seeing,” Hussaini said. “I think it’s important for all of us to come out and support, and show the U.S. government that we don’t agree with this.” 

Gallup, a global analytics and advisory firm, reported that in 2023, U.S. adult sympathy has risen to 31%, up from 26% last year. While U.S. adult sympathy for Israel has declined to 54%,the lowest since 2005, down from 55% last year.

“I do not like that Israel and the U.S. is using my family’s trauma (and) hardships to justify the genocide and brutality against the Palestinian people,” said Pydge, a Jewish protestor and art major at OSU. “I have to be out here for my own family’s sake.”  

Pydge described themself as “energized,” “determined” and “passionate.” They perceived the situation between Israel and Gaza as Israel committing acts of terrorism against Palestinians, while calling the U.S. support for Israel an “abomination.”

Brenna Gannett, a second-year bio health science major, who accompanied Pydge to the rally said that describing the situation between Israel and Palestine as a “conflict” is misleading and a version of propaganda, though she’s not surprised at the U.S. support for Israel.

“They don’t care about Jewish people,” Gannett said. “They care about having influence in the Middle East.”

Earlier this month, The New York Times published an article citing how progressive Jews are feeling left “abandoned” by people on the left. 

“Jewish liberals are distressed both by what is being said and what was left unsaid in the initial statements from universities, schools and corporations after the attack,” The New York Times said. 

In response to Jewish people on the left feeling they may be politically homeless, Gannett claimed that it isn’t about being against Jewish people, and it never was. To her, the protests are against Israeli occupation and violence. 

Gannett claimed that a lot of people in the “free Palestine movement” want to protect Jews and live peacefully with them. 

“We’ve always lived in a diaspora, so I think that it’s fine to continue to live in (a) diaspora,” Pydge said. “Israel is not our home.” 

Veterans For Peace is a global organization of military veterans and allies, with a network of over 140 chapters, who want to build a culture of peace. 

The organization has been active since 1985, and holds a non-governmental organization seat at the United Nations. 

“We have multiple missions, but the main one is to stop our government from interfering in the affairs of other countries, and to put diplomacy over warfare,” said VFP member and protestor Rick Staggenborg.

Staggenborg believes that all U.S aid to Israel should be seized until they comply with international law. 

Earlier this month, the Public Broadcasting NewsHour reported that Hamas, the political party in control of Gaza, and Israel have both been accused of breaking international law. 

However, “enforcing the law amid the fog of war is difficult. Holding perpetrators to account once conflicts are over has often proved elusive,” according to PBS. 

According to PBS, the Geneva Conventions state, “civilians, the wounded and prisoners must be treated humanely in wartime. They ban murder, torture, hostage-taking and ‘humiliating and degrading treatment’ and require fighters to treat the other side’s sick and wounded.”

As of the time of this article, the Associated Press reported that the death toll among Palestinians has risen to 8,000 – mostly women and minors – while the death toll among Israelis is over 1,400 – mainly civilians killed in the initial attack on Oct. 7. 

“What’s really going to stop the genocide is the Israeli people standing up (and) admitting their government’s wrong,” Staggenborg said. “They need to demand that (their) government stop the genocide.”

Staggenborg believes that the only path to peace and prosperity is a one-state solution, as long as everybody has equal rights and are allowed to live there. 

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  • G

    GNov 3, 2023 at 7:40 pm

    Pydge uses they/them pronouns.

  • H

    Heather HallNov 3, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Why is a newspaper publishing such a one-sided article — an article that is better described as pro-Hamas propaganda than the factual and balanced story that should have been “reported”? No mention here of the fact that Hamas has blocked Palestinians from fleeing to the south to avoid the fighting and it has a long history of using the Palestinian people as human shields, including children. This war was started by Hamas which perpetrated atrocities which can only be described as animal-like: murdering children, burning families alive, raping women with such force that their pelvis was broken and then parading them through the streets covered in blood. Yes, I feel for the Palestinians, but as long as they embrace terrorism and embrace Hamas, they will continue to suffer. Over 50 years ago, Palestine along with other Muslim countries, attacked Israel for no good reason and they lost their territory to Israel as a result. They have had more than 50 years to make a peace agreement and virtually every world leader has been willing to help. But they have stubbornly refused to do so. Instead, they have embraced terrorism as a way of life and now they are propagandizing American students by attempting to justify the horror of the terrorist tactics that Hamas promotes. People who are intellectually mature enough to be in college should be able to clearly see that we must condemn the torture and murder of children and the rape of women as utterly unacceptable. The extended problems and that exist in Palestine do not justify the recent attack on Israel. Personally, I think Palestinians will be a lot better off if Israel is able to wipe Hamas off the earth, as is their goal. That will free Palestinians to move towards the peace and prosperity they deserve.

    • O

      Orange SpillmanDec 6, 2023 at 12:15 pm

      “Hamas has blocked Palestinians from fleeing to the south to avoid the fighting and it has a long history of using the Palestinian people as human shields, including children.” actually it has been well documented that hamas treats their hostages with much more dignity and humanity than isreal ever has! you can look up videos on Instagram very easily! make sure you’re getting your information from first-person sources like people living in Gaza and live-broadcasting what they’re witnessing! isreal is known for using children as human hostages and often spins the narrative to accuse hamas of what they do. is it justified in your opinion that idf can just pluck a Palestinian custodial worker off the street and carry him into a combat zone to use him as a shield? because that video is online and it is not easy to witness! imagine yourself, having to work outside all day long, and a cop grabs you out of place and starts dragging you into a random home where they intend on find and shoot people.

      “Over 50 years ago, Palestine along with other Muslim countries, attacked Israel for no good reason and they lost their territory to Israel as a result” this is actually completely untrue! not sure where you heard it. a simply google reveals that isreal invaded Palestinian land on purpose in 1948 because they chose to, and Palestinians were forced to resist as they were violently relocated. the fact that you see land as territory that can be lost or gained is deeply troubling too. do you believe native American people lost their territory when colonialists came here? do you believe that someone has to put up a stand to keep what’s theirs? that’s the mindset of a theif

      your conflation of every Palestinian with a terrorist is simply racist! you should be ashamed.

      it’s RICH that you call upon us American students to condemn acts of terrorism such as torture, rape, the killing of children and targeting of medial vehicles, attacks on hospitals and journalists, the use of violent propaganda — except wait! I have just made a list of explicitly documented isreali actions ! you can look them up too. why don’t you condemn the idf ?

      your comment ends with the unilateral support of isreal to “wipe hamas off the earth” but just like isreal I hear what you are really saying — you think it is okay if all Palestinians end up dead because of this. I am very ashamed of you, and I know that your children and friends are too.

      I hope that you learn! you clearly have motivation to speak up for what you believe in! are you willing to invest time into seeing a Palestinian’s point of view? if you genuinely sat and watched Gazan children and Innocents being murdered you would not feel comfortable saying what you have said. I saw someone on Instagram today tell someone watching on without empathy to know that a part of their humanity has died.

  • M

    Meredith McClaryNov 3, 2023 at 2:08 am

    The only problem with the romantic notion of a one state solution, or even a two state solution is it ignores the simple fact that the 2017 Hamas Charter still calls for the abolition of Israel and calls for a Muslim state. This is not only going to be rough on Jewish people, it isn’t going to be good for Christian Palestinians.