The Jewish Student Union of UC Santa Cruz condemns the demonstration organized by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at McHenry Library today, and calls on students, faculty and all members of the UCSC community to speak out against this action.

At 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon, we witnessed members of SJP dressed in mock Israeli Defense Force uniforms blocking the entry of students to the library until they supplied “proper identification.” In doing so, SJP damaged our educational environment and conflated the security that we receive as students at this university with the constant threats and attacks that innocent Israelis have faced throughout Israel’s existence. We acknowledge that SJP’s demonstration had the intention of bringing awareness to the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, but believe that the demonstration lacked nuance or any attempt to educate passersby about the reason the separation barrier was constructed: ongoing terrorist attacks on Israelis from the West Bank. It’s critical that while opposing the occupation, SJP acknowledges the harm that terrorist groups like Hamas have done to the cause of Palestinian liberation.

We urge SJP to engage in a productive dialogue that is solution-oriented. All communities with a stake in this conflict must critically examine what our role is in bringing about a peaceful future for two peoples living side by side in independent, sovereign states. We hope all members of the UCSC community will work with us to promote mutual respect and understanding between students on this campus.

We believe that to truly advocate for peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians, we must avoid actions that promote bias and instead work together toward resolving our differences and taking productive action.