Friday afternoon, I experienced my first college protest. It wasn’t exactly the stereotypical screaming across street sides, but it was interesting in its own right. I planned this Pro-Israel Peace rally in response to a pro-BDS protest that was advertised during UCSC’s Apartheid week.
I found myself confused by the situation. The pro-BDS camp was filled with elderly community members. It felt as though we were on different planets. They ended their protest asking us to talk with them, to solve issues, to come to an agreement. I would be enthused if these were my peers. If my friends and strangers put down the ‘fists’ then we could find a common ground. But on campus BDS is divisive. On campus BDS is intrusive to campus. And on campus BDS is anti-semitic.
I never expected to feel so divided and segregated on a college campus. BDS doesn’t come with dialogue or negotiation. Friends, classmates, and even strangers are divisive on an issue that many don’t know much about. It’s frustrating to talk to people about BDS; primarily because the talking is often met with silence or screams. It is difficult when close friends don’t even want to learn about the problems with the BDS movement because of the political stigma that is associated.
After Friday, I was pleased with the amount of honks from drivers that drove by in favor of our peace message. However, I was even more pleased with the students that stopped us to ask questions. We need more students asking questions. Questioning their facts, knowledge, and most important each other.