I congratulate the student senate on its Wednesday, Feb. 1 vote banning the sale of Sabra hummus! Thank God the 13 students in the senate took such a brave and consequential step against chickpea paste. I was especially pleased that the senate voted for the ban to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and to recognize their suffering. Then it occurred to me, since our student senate is so good at resolving international issues and aiding the oppressed, could we, dare we, stop at hummus?
No! Our student senate should express its solidarity with women who have the right not to be sexually mutilated. Two hundred million women in 30 countries have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM). Let’s take just one country. In Egypt, for example, the United Nation’s Children’s Fund says 91 percent of girls are subjected to FGM, and 77 percent of those procedures are performed by medical professionals. To express solidarity with oppressed Egyptian women, we should logically ban economic activity that enables their oppression, including all tourist travel to Egypt, all exhibitions of Egyptian art or artifacts and all classes by or about Egypt, by members of the UCR community.
Our student senate should express its solidarity with LGBTQ+ persons who have the right not to be murdered because of who they love. In Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, according to a 2016 study by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, homosexual acts are punishable by death. We should ban all travel to, and products from those countries including all petroleum-based products. To do this most effectively, the senate should ban students and professors from driving motor vehicles on campus. Any use of gasoline helps create and sustain a market for oil producers who support the murder of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
If the senate cannot or will not support women or members of the LGBTQ+ community and insists on only supporting Palestinian and Muslim students, then I would request that the senate at least do this honestly and consistently.
Hasn’t it occurred to our senate that Palestinian and Muslim students are aggrieved whenever someone uses a cell phone or laptop since Israel is a center for high tech research and development? Don’t they know that cell phone technology was developed in Motorola’s Israeli research and development center, Microsoft has two research and development centers in Herzliya, Israel and Israeli flash memory developer Anobit developed the flash storage chip for Apple products? Our senate must ban all cell phones and laptops on the UCR campus, and do so today!
Our Palestinian and Muslim students are aggrieved that Sabra gives money indirectly to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), and so they should be. It’s an outrage. It’s unsupportable, and we are truly fortunate that our senate recognized that chickpea paste was the villain behind all that. But we are overlooking an even greater affront to the sensibilities of our Palestinian and Muslim students. That is, of course, the United States of America. After all, in 2016, the Obama administration signed an agreement to provide $38 billion over 10 years to Israel with the specific intent to improve the military capabilities of the IDF. I propose a ban on all USA products, funding and personnel on the UCR campus.
While the chickpea paste in question is offensive to our students, it can hardly be less offensive than Egyptian vacations or historical artifacts, or motor vehicles powered by Middle Eastern oil, or high tech products contaminated by pernicious Israeli software innovations, or products or services or personnel from that Israeli-enabling international outlaw, the United States of America. In the name of liberty, equality and solidarity, let’s ban them all!