Barghouti to fearful Berkeley students: This is Alabama, 1963, please stand aside

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Mustafa Barghouti has written a letter to the Berkeley students and Senate, who will vote tonight. Excerpt:

Palestinian voices are too rarely heard in the United States. We have too few opportunities to present our narrative of loss and dispossession. Hear us tonight along with our Jewish friends and colleagues who are speaking up and saying that there is nothing anti-Semitic in backing Palestinian freedom and an end to complicity with a military occupation that strips us of our rights and dignity and many Israelis of their humanity. Both peoples need a just peace and this bill helps speed that day.

Look at the student coalition before you tonight. From my time at Stanford, I firmly believe that such coalitions are one of the most beautiful aspects of American life. It is not uniquely American, but it is to be treasured. And for all those students who are not part of the coalition, but fearful of it, I say we mean you no harm. We seek only to live in freedom and as equals. Israel’s military repression of us must end eventually. Do not stand in the way like those angry Alabama students 50 years ago blocking integration. You have, I trust, nothing in common with those students, but misplaced fear.

And to student supporters of the divestment resolution remember your fellow students’ fear. It is misplaced, but real. Whatever the outcome tonight, I urge you not to be angry or over-joyous. There is a long road ahead of us still, and we do not know which among those who oppose us tonight may, five years from now, stand with us.

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