Many of you saw the tarp hanging between the Library and Old Main as a part of Israeli Apartheid Week sponsored by Macalester Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER). Our understanding is that SUPER decided to hold Israeli Apartheid week to show the current problems between Israel and Palestine. We, as Macalester students who try to see everything through an inquisitive and critical lens, also see the need to condemn the Israeli government for many of their current policies. We see the need for peace now more than ever, and we see the need to change the status quo in Israel and Palestine to ensure a stable and sustainable future for all in the region. However, we also see a complex and nuanced situation and we do not see holding Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) on our campus as productive in the struggle toward peace.
We do not see Israeli Apartheid Week as constructive in building a space for inclusive dialogue. Last semester several student organizations—including SUPER, J Street U and the Middle Eastern Students Association—came together to plan Israel-Palestine Week under the auspices of the Shalaam Coalition. The week consisted of diverse guest speakers, movie screenings, student discussions and panels. Shalaam did not strive to represent any one standpoint, but rather to embrace the various perspectives held by students on this campus. Shalaam succeeded in portraying some nuance and complexity and in creating a place for this dialogue for the first time in Macalester history.