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November 28, 2010

SJP discusses Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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Many San Diego State students were outraged after receiving an e-mail earlier this month informing them of another tuition and fee increase. In light of another fee increase, some of those students expressed their concern for how their tax dollars are being put to use during the Students for Justice in Palestine’s screening of “Occupation 101″ on Nov 18.

“The nearly $14,630 every one of 5.8 million Israelis had received from the U.S. government by Oct. 31, 1997, cost American taxpayers $23,241 per Israeli,” Retired foreign service officer Richard H. Curtiss stated. “That’s $116,205 for every Israeli family of five.”

According to, Congress provides at least $7 million per day in aid to Israel, more than any other country.

“We’re the ones who are supporting (the occupation),” filmmaker Abdallah Omeish said. “Yet we know nothing about it.”

“My financial aid got adjusted, and they’re sending more money to Israel,” treasurer of SJP Kavon Iraniha said. “It’s not that we’re just paying for it. (The government) is allocating things from student funding to (Israel) to commit these crimes. I believe if we tackle this issue, it’s basically like a domino effect; we could tackle a lot of human rights issues.”

“Simply just stop tax money to Israel,” journalist and founder of If Americans Knew Alison Weir suggested. “They reach and take money from your tuition.”

Students who were previously unaware of the harsh treatment of the occupation victims were shocked and awed by the emotional testimonies they witnessed in the film. Sniffles could be heard in all corners of the dark classroom during the film screening. Some even stepped out during the most graphic scenes.

Omeish and Weir were prepared for the film to be criticized and held a panel discussion after the screening, during which they answered questions from students and participants.

The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America stated in a film review, “The barrage of unsupportable claims and misrepresentations suggest that the filmmakers regard their target audience, college-age Americans, as easily manipulated and so uninformed about the relevant history that they cannot recognize the film for what it is 8212; unalloyed propaganda.”

“I’m not telling you to believe this film,” Omeish told his audience. “Go and do your own research. If you don’t know anything, then you can’t do anything. Your effort is something that can make a difference.”

Iraniha said state universities invest in some of the same companies that take part in the destruction of homes during the occupation, such as Caterpillar, a bulldozing company. Now that students are facing times of financial hardship, he hopes they will feel more inclined to learn about such issues and how their tax dollars are allocated.

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