SJP Speaker Calls Peace Talks a Sham
By Alex Ellefson & Elizabeth Elizalde
Author Josh Ruebner told his audience in SUBO last Wednesday that peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders were a “sham” and would fail as long as the United States continued defending Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“The Israel lobby sets the agenda in Washington,” he said. “It doesn’t want the United States to establish a policy that will lead to human rights for the Palestinians. They want the U.S. to continue to be Israel’s lawyer to the international community.”
He argued that the peace talks were a cover, meant to show the world that both sides were working toward peace, while Israel continued to colonize more land in the West Bank.
Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of a Palestinian rights organization. He is a U.S. and Israeli citizen. In 1996, while still in college, he publicly called for “more understanding [by Israel] of the Palestinian position” after he witnessed a Palestinian suicide bomber blow up a bus in Jerusalem, killing 27 people.
The Students for Justice in Palestine invited Ruebner to speak at Brooklyn College where he promoted his book: “Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” as part of the club’s Right to Education Week.
During his lecture, Ruebner highlighted the United States’ military support for Israel to explain why the U.S. can not be considered an “honest broker” in mediating a peace deal.
“Under international law, when you provide a party of a conflict with weapons, you are on the side of the party you are arming,” he said. “How are we going to bring peace to Israel and Palestine when we are arming Israel to oppress the Palestinian people?”
He provided examples of the Obama administration defending Israel from international criticism.
In 2011, the U.S. was the only country out of the 15 member U.N. Security Council to vote against a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. Because the U.S. is a permanent member of the council, the decision vetoed the bill.
He also pointed out that the U.S. worked to undermine the Goldstone Report, which accused both the Israeli Military and Hamas of committing crimes against humanity during the 2008/2009 Gaza War.
“Today, it’s outright collusion between Israel and the United States,” Ruebner said.
However, Ruebner said that the decades-old conflict was not too complex to solve.
“In the twentieth century, we have seen the successful resolution of many different conflicts, which were labeled very complex,” said Ruebner, pointing to the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the resolution of the 800 year conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland.
He advocated for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) strategy to pressure Israel and the United States to engage in a sincere negotiations with the Palestinian leadership.
“People I’ve talked to in South Africa said that they never believed they would see the end of apartheid,” Ruebner said. “But lo and behold, when enough pillars were pulled out, the institution of apartheid collapsed. Today, Israel is teetering. The only thing holding it up is this sham peace process.”
SJP member Hana Johami said she found Ruebner’s lecture informative.
“Josh spoke about what Israel does to Palestinians and gave examples of different presidents, which I feel is relative to us as Americans,” she said.
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