Yesterday we visited a student booth in the plaza of UC Santa Cruz, inspired by a very creative ad poster that I came across (picture). The UCSC Committee For Justice in Palestine is a controversial yet strong-standing organization here on campus. We interviewed Elaine Ejigu, a knowledgeable member of the committee, on the social justice issues the organization hopes to bright light to. Elaine is a 4th year UCSC Legal Studies and Feminist Studies double major. You can contact her for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. – Eric Cleveland
Eric: What is the UCSC Committee For Justice in Palestine?
Elaine: The UC Santa Cruz Committee For Justice in Palestine is a school organization made up of students who are pro-Palestine and advocates of Palestine here at UC Santa Cruz. It is not unique, there are students for justice in Palestine all over the nation. Recently we had members, including myself, attend the National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference in Stanford. We all have the common goal and are currently in the process of trying to pass divestment, which is to take away funds from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. We face some opposition on campuses, but what we are trying to do is just educate and get the word out, and have as many people as possible see our side of it.
Eric: What is the Prawer-Begin Plan, and what is the underlying history behind it?
Elaine: The Prawer-Begin Plan is a plan by the Israeli IDF military and also the government. They are going to displace 30,000 people. The government has already been displacing Palestinians in Israel and Palestine since 1948, after the war, and they had a working relationship with the Bedouins, who are, like the Palestinians, an ethnic minority. They left them alone, but now they are saying, “We are going to take your land now. We are going to take your homes. You have this certain amount of time to leave”. 30,000 people will be displaced, basically.
Eric: What effect will it have on the Palestinian Bedouins if it carries through?
Elaine: Internally displaced persons, is what I’m thinking…I have no idea what the [Bedouins] will do. People living in occupied territories are already under terrible conditions, with a lack of water, food, and electricity, and are constantly being raided by the Israelian military. So, it’s probably not going to be good.
Eric: What are your hopes and goals for this rally?
Elaine: We want to reach out to the student population, we are doing that in as many ways as possible. We want to maybe encourage people to join our organization, or at least come to more events and find out more about it. When we try to pass divestment again and the SUA, which is the student government [at UCSC], we hope that more people will come out and support it, give testimonies at the meeting when we present it, and, who knows, maybe it will be successful.
Eric: How can our viewers help support your cause?
Elaine: Research it, a good link is the “US Campaign to End Israeli Occupation”, look up that website. Al Jazeera is a great news source that isn’t biased. Anything like “students for justice in Palestine”, anything about that or related. Even if you are pro-Israel, just try to balance your views. If you don’t know anything about the conflict, look at Palestinian voices and sources, as well as Israelian ones.
Eric: Do you have a website or social media outlet?
Elaine: We have a Facebook page, the UC Santa Cruz Committee for Justice in Palestine. Its public, anyone can look that up or like it. We also have the UC Santa Cruz Divest page. They both make posts, so that may be something to look up.