Chalk drawing of the schedule for Occidental College's Palestinian and Israeli Justice Week, inviting students to attend the lectures, film-screenings and discussions held to educate students about the two-state solution.
New York, March 12, 2012—OneVoice's Occidental College Chapter brought the movement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to their campus last week, hosting a film-screening, lecture, teach-in and panel discussion.
Occidental campus lacked any student activism about ending the occupation and the conflict, and OneVoice’s chapter felt it was important to give students the chance to join the conversation. The events maintained a pragmatic tone geared toward inviting constructive discussion and encouraged students to engage with an open mind.
"It's pointless to work towards peace by staying on one side of the conflict – you need to work with both sides," said Dina Yazdani, an Occidental student and president of the OneVoice chapter. "The week wasn't about being anti-Israel, or anti-Palestine. It was about being pro-peace."
As part of the week’s event, OneVoice members erected a mock-checkpoint in the middle of campus. The installation, which contained fliers detailing the obstacles to negotiations, such as continued construction in the settlements, as well as human rights violations, was intended to represent the current stalemate and impediments to achieving a two-state solution. The students also highlighted how OneVoice works to overcome these obstacles and the role US students can play in helping the movement.
“It was all about the complexities of the conflict,” said Yazdani. “The people who didn’t come and learn what it was all about, who didn’t read the stats, they got upset about it. The people who did, who learned about the preconditions, received it very well. They understood it was about depicting the stalemate.”
At the student-led teach-in on the conflict, students listened to personal accounts of others' experiences working in Palestine and Israel and the complexities often glossed over in the media that permeate the conflict.