SJP provides details of mission through film

By Aaron Youngblood

Students and visitors watch the documentary “Occupation 101” during a special screening event hosted by Students for Justice in Palastine. Photo by Wedad Yassin


Many BenU students received a “Notice of Eviction” claiming their properties were to be demolished. The “notices” were actually flyers promoting the screening of the award-winning documentary, “Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority,” which provided details of the mission of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).

The film depicted many scenes of demolished Palestinians homes  whose owners did not receive an eviction notice  SJP hosted the event to raise awareness of the issue that affected many families.

“The goal of showing ‘Occupation 101’ was to raise awareness to the students at Benedictine University about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Batool Jafri, the president of SJP.

The documentary includes interviews from various American and Israeli scholars and human rights advocates. The film goes deeper than current American media coverage of the topic, claiming the media refuses to let the truth come to light.

“We’re only hearing a fraction of the story. You are about to witness images and testimony largely hidden from mainstream America,” says narrator, Alison Weir about the film.

The documentary gave background details of the conflict, claiming it to be more than just a myth that the conflict between Arabs and Jews has been ongoing for thousands of years.

“[The American] media portrayed Mideast violence as though it’s an inherent part of the culture and region, implying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an ancient problem with little hope of solution.” However, the conflict began with the Zionist movement, a belief that the Palestinian land rightfully belongs to the Jewish population.

“The bottom line in all of this is to make Palestinians leave their country, it’s a very hard term, I know, but in a sense it’s a kind of ethnic cleansing,” said co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Jeff Halper.

The film also explores truths about the conflict and the U.S.’s involvement in it. “We wanted to raise awareness by letting [students] know how we as Americans are involved in the conflict,” said Jafri.

According to the documentary, America gives one-third of its total annual foreign aid to To what???. “If you watched the documentary…our government gives eight million dollars a day currently to Israel,” Jafri continued. “Our economy is horrible and we continue to give money to Israel to such a polarizing issue.”

Omar Ali, the vice president of SJP, says, “We chose Occupation 101 because it’s the best documentary because it depicts Palestinian life and Palestinian struggle from every angle.”

Ali found the evening to be a success. “We got a very diverse group that came. Overall it went well and we appreciate all of the support.”

Attendees enjoy pizza during the Occupy event. Photo by Wedad Yassin.