Letter to the Editor: Understand bias behind “Perspectives”

Letter to the Editor

Last summer, UVM student leaders were invited to attend Maccabee Task Force’s Perspectives Trip, a propaganda campaign designed to obscure the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Unfortunately, Hillel at UVM has decided to bring back the Perspectives Trip this year and is once again inviting UVM students on a tour of an apartheid state.

Maccabee Task Force was founded by Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing billionaire who was one of the largest contributors to President Donald Trump’s campaign, according to a September 2016 Guardian article.

Maccabee Task Force brings student leaders on propaganda trips. While these trips are designed and funded by pro-Israel groups, Maccabee Task Force presents them as neutral.

Maccabee Task Force’s explicit goal is to combat criticism of Israel, which it equates with anti-Semitism, according to their website. An organization which believes any support for Palestinians is anti-Semitic cannot present an unbiased view of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Since its creation in 1947, Israel has operated an apartheid regime based on the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, according to activist group War on Want’s website.

Apartheid is a system where crimes against humanity are committed within the context of institutionalized, systemic racial hierarchy, according to the International Criminal Court.

Palestinians have a right to return to their homes, according to Article 194 of the UN General Assembly, but Israel refuses to comply, offering “peace deals” which leave millions of Palestinians displaced and without equal, democratic rights.

Israel is colonizing even within the territories of the West Bank and Gaza, building new settlements and bulldozing Palestinian homes. Since 1967, Israel has built 150 settlements in occupied Palestine and demolished over 27,000 Palestinian homes according to a November 2016 Al Jazeera article.

Supporters of Israel are intervening so aggressively on college campuses because the relentless and enduring Palestinian resistance is finally breaking through to the American people, especially young people.

During the Great March of Return, Palestinians in Gaza, most of whom are internally displaced refugees, protested for their right to return to their homes, according to a March 30 Al Jazeera article. Israel responded with extreme brutality, killing over 150 Palestinians and injuring over 10,000, including the murder of 31 children, according to Amnesty International’s website.

The actions of the Israeli state make it increasingly difficult for American progressives to support a transparently repressive and undemocratic state. Israel’s supporters are desperate to propagandize to student leaders in order to cut off the head of popular anti-apartheid consciousness.

Israel receives the strong loyalty and support of the American right because of its role in the neoconservative agenda, which is why conservatives like Adelson are funding trips like the Perspectives Trip.

A trip paid for by America’s far-right, which centers the voices of Israeli government spokespeople and limits access to Palestinian voices, is not going to provide a fair representation of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The funders of the Perspectives Trip will not provide a balanced trip because it is not in their interests.

UVM student leaders should not accept this offer. They should boycott Perspectives, listen to Palestinian voices and answer the call for international solidarity.


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