Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) gathered Saturday to build a plywood mock “Israeli Apartheid Wall” that will be erected on Smith Plaza all this week as part of the group’s Mock Wall Campaign.
The wall symbolizes barriers to equality all over the world, according to the group’s press release.
Danya Mustafa, co-chair of SJP, said the group hopes to call attention to not only the Israel-Palestine conflict, but issues concerning immigration and other social inequalities around the globe.
“We’re going to do the Israeli Apartheid Wall, which surrounds the West Bank and (is) inside the West Bank in Gaza,” she said. “We’re also going to do parallels with the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s especially important because New Mexico is a border state and a lot of people don’t know what’s going on in our own back yard.”
Julie Jaynes, member of SJP, said the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israeli lobby organization that aims to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, has a lot of influence on Congress and media. She said AIPAC influences the average American’s understanding of the conflict in favor of Israel.
“They (AIPAC) have created this sort of censorship against knowing what’s actually going on on the ground in Palestine, so it’s kind of our job as a student voice and an alternative media voice to bring that perspective to our campus,” she said.
Mustafa said the group decided to include other organizations in the weeklong project in order to call attention to both social and physical barriers. She said one way the group decided to do this was to break the week up by issue area. Each day will have themes associated with it, and discussions, street theater and film screenings that have to do with that day’s themes. Topics include indigenous rights, racism, classism, accessibility, gender and sexuality.
Students for Justice in Palestine said the UNM Israel Alliance will also erect a wall with what it calls “The Wall of Truth.” The organization could not be reached for comment despite multiple calls and emails.
The weeklong Mock Wall Campaign will include film screenings, panel discussions, street performance and other events. For more detailed information on all of this week’s events, visit UNMSJP.org/mockwall
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