Statement of Solidarity with Palestine
May 21, 2021
The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people as they continue to fight for the right to land, life, dignity, and freedom. We mourn the staggering loss of life, in which over 200 Palestinians have been killed in one week alone, including 64 children and 38 women at the time of this statement. The latest upsurge in violence has taken the form of deadly airstrikes, unauthorized evictions, beatings and imprisonments intended to terrorize and displace Palestinians. Media distortion and censorship has further suppressed Palestinian narratives, and threatened freedom of speech and academic freedom. With our colleagues from the Palestinian Feminist Collective, Palestine and Praxis: Scholars for Palestinian Freedom, National Women’s Studies Association, Association of Asian American Studies, Middle East Studies Association, Gender Studies Departments in Solidarity with Palestinian Feminist Collective, UCSC Feminist Studies, UCSC Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, UIC Global Asian Studies, UCSD AAPI Studies Program, UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies, UC Davis, UIUC Asian American Studies Department, Princeton University, and Yale Ethnicity, Rights, and Migration, we understand that such violence and intimidation are but the latest manifestation of seventy-three years of settler colonialism, racial apartheid, and occupation.
As an academic department situated on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples, we oppose settler-colonialism in all its forms, from Tovaangar to Palestine. We condemn the exploitation, theft, and colonization of land and labor and we strive for freedom and justice for all peoples. Asian American Studies, which traces our history to the Third World Liberation Front Strike of 1968, has long advanced a critique of imperialism, militarism, and settler colonialism in the United States, Asia, Oceania, and elsewhere. We condemn the exchange of military tactics and financial support between the United States and Israel, noting how U.S. counterinsurgency techniques and military equipment used during the Vietnam War were then extrapolated to the Occupied Territories; how the Israeli military’s policing of the apartheid wall dividing Jerusalem and isolating the West Bank has influenced the U.S.’s own brutal border security policies along the U.S.-Mexico border; and how Israel has too often upheld its support of Asian and Asian American individuals as proof of multicultural democracy, over and against the ethnic cleansing of Palestine via a process of “yellow-washing.”
At this moment of historical juncture, we call for the end of evictions of Palestinians from their homes, especially in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and in the South Hebron hills. While we commend the ceasefire of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which as of May 19th, 2021 have killed hundreds, injured thousands, and displaced over 40,000, we insist that the 15-year-old blockade on Gaza must be lifted immediately. We call for an immediate end to state and settler violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel, including mob lynchings, imprisonments, and the beatings of protestors. We demand an end to the military occupation of the West Bank and the renewed assault against Palestinians who have joined the protest. We implore the Biden administration to halt all funding to Israel until it complies with international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and stops its crimes against humanity and human rights violations. We condemn the 735 million dollar weapons sale to Israel that the Biden administration has recently approved.
We remain inspired by the ongoing resilience of the Palestinian people. We salute the “Unity Uprising” as people across all parts of Palestine (inside historic Palestine, Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank) and around the world rise up together to say, “Enough is enough.” We remain committed to teaching about Palestine in our classes. We stand in support of our students, who even as they mourn and grieve, remain committed to activism and advocacy in all forms. In sum, we lend our voices to uplifting the struggle of the Palestinian people as part of our ethical, scholarly, and pedagogical commitment to knowledge relevant for justice and freedom for all people and geographies of the world.
The Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles