CSUSB Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds’ Statement for Palestine
The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds at California State University, San Bernardino expresses its sadness about and condemnation of the Israeli racist and colonial violence against and oppression of the Palestinian communities under its control. Palestinians in Israel live as second-class citizens under more than 65 laws that discriminate against them. In the West Bank, Israelis inflict the violence of a settler colonial state through brutal military occupation, home demolitions, policing and surveillance, as well as through the construction of a wall that runs deep through Palestinian territory, cutting Palestinians off from their land and their families. In East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah, the Israeli government forces Palestinians out of their homes under the guise of a “real estate dispute” and has targeted mosques where Palestinians gather to pray.
In particular, we are shocked at the level of violent retaliation against Palestinians in Gaza, the most densely populated area in the world, which has resulted in the brutal killing of over 240 people, mainly civilian, including 66 children, 39 women and 17 seniors, according to the latest report from Haaretz newspaper. All of these lives were taken in a mere 11 days as Gazans continued to pull the dead from under the rubble. Additionally, close to 2000 people were injured as a result of ongoing Israeli air, land, and sea shelling. In a horrifying statistic, it is estimated that 20 families in Gaza have been completely eradicated by Israeli aggression. In addition to the loss of human life, The New York Times reported that the Israeli bombardment has damaged 17 hospitals and clinics in Gaza, including its only coronavirus test laboratory. Those bombardments sent fetid wastewater into the streets and broke water pipes serving at least 800,000 people. Sewage systems inside Gaza have been destroyed and a desalination plant that helped provide fresh water to a quarter of a million people in the territory is currently offline.
Israeli attacks, including air strikes and tank shells, resulted in the damage of at least 51 educational facilities, including 2 kindergartens, 46 schools, 1 university, 1 vocational training center, and 1 Ministry of Education facility among other vital infrastructure, according to the United Nations. In addition, Israeli military strikes internally displaced at least 66,000 Palestinians who have since had to seek refuge in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), causing further disruptions to the Palestinian people’s education and their lives.
Unfortunately, the current ceasefire will not end the brutal siege on Gaza that has been going on since 2007, effectively transforming Gaza into an open-air prison or concentration camp, controlled by Israel from land, sea and air. Since 2007, the people of Gaza have been put on a forced diet by the Israeli government’s practice of calorie count based on their control of the population registry. More than half of the population of Gaza, some 56%, live below the poverty line. 70% of the population is receiving aid according to estimates by the United Nations, and food rations constitute most of that aid. Unemployment in Gaza is around 45%, while 48% of the population is under the age of 18 and 70% of the young people in Gaza are unemployed with no hope for the future. We share these statistics and data to illustrate the realities of institutional settler colonial violence that has resulted in these conditions under which Palestinians are forced to live. A year after the brutal murder of George Floyd, we condemn all state-sponsored violence and terrorism.
It is also important to note that this latest episode of Israeli state violence should not be discussed in isolation of its history of colonial practices against Palestinians, especially since the majority of Gazans are refugees who were ethnically expelled from their homes and lands by the Zionist militias that created the state of Israel. The recent 213-page report from Human Rights Watch detailing “crimes of apartheid and persecution” by Israeli authorities highlights myriad ways in which Israel continues to push Palestinians their homes. Before HRW, the Israeli human rights organization, B’tselem, issued a similar report about Israel’s war crimes.
As a center committed to the study of Muslim and Arab worlds, we cannot be silent. We issue this statement in support and solidarity with the colonized people of Palestine and their resistance to the military and apartheid state of Israel. We understand that this is not just a Palestine-Israel “conflict,” but it is a one-sided humanitarian crisis fueled by US military aid to Israel as well as the circulation of biased mainstream propaganda that dehumanizes Palestinians on a daily basis. We also firmly believe this affects all of us and that our own liberation is tied to the liberation of all oppressed people around the world, including our Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Immigrant, Undocumented, and all other marginalized brothers and sisters. We salute the bravery and resilience of the Palestinian resistance in the face of colonial violence and call on our government to stop its complacency in yet another capitalist imperialist atrocity.
Executive Board of the Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds
- To donate to the victims in Gaza: The United Nations Relief & Works Agency For Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinian Children Relief Fund (PCRF), Gaza Mental Health Foundation (Boston-based), or Oxfam America.
- A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, Report by HRW.
- A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid, A Report by the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’tselem).
- Is Israel Guilty Of Apartheid Against Palestinians? An investigative report by AJ+.
- Database of Discriminatory Laws in Israel, by Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel).
- ICC Launches War Crimes Probe into Israeli Practices, by the Associated Press.
- International Criminal Court’s (ICC’s) Statement on Investigating Israeli War Crimes.
CSMAW’s Statement in Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement
The The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds (CSMAW) at California State University, San Bernardino is saddened and outraged by the murders of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black individuals. We recognize the deplorable systemic racism that permeates the past and present of the U.S. and stand in strong solidarity with those who seek to make fundamental changes to the system. CSMAW is part of a global movement that advocates for peace and justice. Our commitment at CSMAW is to strengthen our solidarity with those of MENA (i.e., Middle East and North Africa) and BIPOC (i.e., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in North America and globally through our teaching and community outreach.
CSMAW also recognizes the contribution of Black Muslims who comprise a third of the American Muslim population in our nation’s civic, athletic, artistic, and civil rights movement, with leaders such as Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Keith Ellison, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, T-Pain, to name a few. At CSMAW, we organize events to raise awareness about the struggles of Muslim populations and other religious and/or indigenous groups in MENA, most of whom are people of color and live in Global South. We acknowledge the similarities between their plight and those of people of color everywhere, including the Black Lives Matter movement. We condemn racism, anti-Blackness, and white supremacy in all of their forms and are committed to fighting to dismantle them. An injustice to our Black siblings is an injustice to all of us. We declare unequivocally that Black Lives Matter in this country and around the world.
CSMAW Quick Links
The Center for the Study of Muslim & Arab Worlds (CSMAW) at CSUSB serves as a flagship for international dialogue and academic excellence for students and faculty as well as the local and international communities. The Center supports research, lectureships, curriculum development and community outreach in order to advance the study of Islam and the Middle East.
Book Discussion: The Hundred Years' War on Palestine
with Dr. Rashid Khalidi, The Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University
February 25, 2021| 12 - 1:30 pm
Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, discussed his latest book, “The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017,” during a livestream that was viewed by more than 100 people worldwide.
The United States & Iran: From Manufactured Crisis to the Brink of War’
February 6, 2020
Author and journalist Dr. Gareth Porter is the featured speaker at the talk sponsored by CSUSB’s Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. The event is free and open to the public.
Director of CSMAW, Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb, was selected by the CSUSB Office of Student Research as one of 2020 Research and Creative Activity Faculty Mentor Awardees.
Faculty selected for this award have shown exceptional dedication to student’s success for careers in research, teaching, and preparing them to meet the highest professional and ethical standards as scholars. As a recipient of this award, you will receive $2,000 towards your professional development funds.
Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, a well-known Palestinian psychiatrist and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programs was joined by Professor Liliana Conlisk-Gallegos to talk about militarizing borders and its impact in the cases of Gaza and the Mexican borders.
This panel seeks to deconstruct the current confluence of populism & Islamophobia to understand its growing manifestation & utility in political discourses domestically & abroad, & to assess the role of mass media in advancing racist & Islamophobic agendas.
With a decade-long artistic journey that has both paralleled the rise of social media and borne witness to major sociopolitical shifts in Syria, Omar Offendum discusses how he's been able to develop a special blend of Hip-Hop and Arabic poetry to bridge cultural divides.
Lena Khan, one of the first female filmmakers to enter mainstream Hollywood as a director. Her first feature film, THE TIGER HUNTER, featured a Muslim character in a lead role and played in theaters nationwide to tremendously positive reviews. Lena recently sold a television show and is now directing a feature film for Disney.