Fordham Students Raise Awareness for Palestine

Photo via Newsweek

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On Monday, April 15th, Fordham University felt summer coming in full swing. Students lounged on Eddie’s Parade as the sun shone down and temperatures reached upwards of 75℉.  For some, however, the beautiful day was an opportunity: a number of Fordham students in front of Dealy and Hughes used banners, flags, stickers, and their voices to raise awareness on campus for recent developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zionist tension and conflict have been present in what was to become Israel and Palestine. Tensions came to a head in the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the same year that the nation of Israel was founded (backed by the U.S. and UN). 700,000 Palestinians—roughly 75% of the population—were dislocated in an event that has become known as the “Nakba,” or catastrophe. The developments of the conflict in 2023 and 2024 have been called a “second Nakba” by some, including Israeli minister Avi Dichter. 

Since October 7, 2023, over 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been slaughtered by Israeli forces, of which roughly 40% were children. In comparison, only ~1,200 people have died in Israel. Sources estimate that over 80,000 Gazans have been injured, and only 10 of the strip’s 36 hospitals still stand. Bombing has destroyed roughly 60% of civilian homes and 90% of schools, displacing 1.7 million people. 

In January, the International Court of Justice ruled Israel’s actions in Gaza a plausible genocide. The nation has intentionally and systematically violated the 49th Geneva Convention, targeting aid workers, hospitals, using chemical weapons against civilians, etc. Global councils have experienced conflict in attempting to address the genocide. South Africa, echoing Amnesty International’s label of the Israel-Palestine conflict as an apartheid, has formally accused Israel of genocide. The United States, however, has made no such efforts, and in fact vetoed Palestine’s recent bid for membership in the United Nations. 

On the 15th, the Fordham Palestinian Solidarity Network provided stickers sporting slogans such as “Free Palestine” and “Fight Zionism” along with Palestinian flags to students who wanted to show their support. Banners featured information about the war and resources students could access.

This event encapsulates important developments in the Fordham community and its Palestinian representation. Since 2015, students have made attempts to organize and raise awareness about the violence and injustice in Palestine. In November of that year, students at Lincoln Center formed the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and submitted the club for approval. After over a year of administrative consideration, the club was denied official status. Students embarked on a drawn-out legal process, working with Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights to sue Fordham University. In 2019, the court overruled Fordham’s decision, and the club was allowed to operate officially for one year before the status was overturned yet again. Today, the SJP operates on a grassroots scale, attempting to raise awareness despite administrative obstacles and a lack of funding. 

At Rose Hill, Fordham students who want to show their support for Palestine can turn to the Palestinian Solidarity Network. This organization, unlike the informal SJP, is an officially sanctioned student association. It seeks to correct the “spread of misinformation” on the Palestinian genocide by providing students with resources to educate themselves and by lifting up Palestinian voices on campus. 

Fordham students are proving their dedication to a just future in Palestine by speaking out despite administrative resistance. The PSN will continue hosting events throughout finals season and is always looking for volunteers.

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This article was edited by Brianna Budhram and Natasha Tretter.