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Community Opinions: ‘I <3 Hamas’ presentation expressed bias

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I <3 Hamas.

Universities have historically been hotbeds for political activism and breeding grounds for spirited protests and demonstrations. Not so much at Carnegie Mellon University. Like almost every other Carnegie Mellon student, I have, many times, been lulled into a world comprised solely of homework, tests, and deadlines, with little or no interjection of passionate college students actively engaging me in their fight for or against some issue. I was rudely awakened from this apathetic, dream-like state after reading an advertisement for an event titled “I <3 Hamas, and Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You,” hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine and the University of Pittsburgh on Sunday, Oct. 24.

The premise of the show was apparently to showcase the experience of a Palestinian-American woman, Jennifer Jajeh. Instead, what could have been an interesting story of a unique experience was given a title that should be offensive to the entire University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh community, “I <3 Hamas.”
How could the University of Pittsburgh fund a program that proclaims its love for an internationally recognized terrorist organization? I had to see it for myself. “I <3 Hamas” by any other name would have smelled a little sweeter. In addition to the proposed one-woman show, “I <3 Hamas” became a setting where it was perfectly acceptable to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel while supporting a known terrorist organization.

To add to the shock of my sudden reawakening to the world of protests, propaganda, and solidarity, I was informed that The Pitt News had refused to print the included statements by StandWithUS Emerson Fellow Samantha Vinokor, which detail the opinions and feelings of those students more inclined to democracy, human rights, and coexistence:

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that currently controls the Gaza Strip. After Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas began to use the territory as a launching pad to send rockets into Israel, with over 8,000 rockets falling in range of Israeli cities.... Hamas terrorists have been documented using Palestinian children as human shields to guard militants.... Hamas is currently holding captive an Israeli soldier named Gilad Shalit, who was abducted on June 25, 2006, and [Hamas] has violated international law and the Geneva Convention by refusing to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Shalit.

“The Hamas Charter, which is the governing doctrine of the group, uses as a source The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an anti-Semitic document also quoted by Adolf Hitler. It calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, a democratic nation and one of America’s strongest and closest allies. It calls for jihad, or martyrdom of its adherents. It is an anti-Semitic document, and says that the Day of Judgment will not come until the Muslims fight and kill the Jews. Jennifer Jajeh, the performer of this play, advocates on her blog for a ‘one-state solution.’ She falsely accuses Israel of being a colonizing nation and of occupation and ethnic cleansing. She also supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the State of Israel.

“As you may be able to tell, I don’t <3 Hamas. What I do <3 is the University of Pittsburgh, an institution at which I am proud to be a student. That is why I was so disheartened to find out that the Allocations Committee of the Student Government Board allocated $2,524.42 to this event. Knowing what we do about the group named in the title, this is not something that I feel student money should be going to support.”

By facilitating a program that, by nature of its title, is offensive, and by refusing to print an ad that illustrated why it was offensive to anyone who stands for peace, democracy, and human rights and against terror, martyrdom, and the use of human shields, the University of Pittsburgh and The Pitt News showed an inexcusable bias that should be immediately understood and equalized. I am proud to say that, even in the depths of our apathy here at Carnegie Mellon, we still seem to know right from wrong.