This last weekend, Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights organized a rally to “end the Israeli apartheid against Palestinian citizens.” Not even in their wildest dreams did they imagine that they would finally solve the generation-spanning Levantine conflict by getting a few hundred college students onto the Stanford campus.
“We’ve been accused of ‘preaching to the choir’, of ‘not actually making anyone aware of our events until after they happen’, or of doing ‘relatively few tangible actions that in any way actually affect those living in the West Bank or Gaza’,” said one SPER member. “But we’ve always been reaching out and reminding people of the existence of a conflict that makes newspaper headlines on a weekly basis. And now all that hard work has finally paid off.”
At first, negotiations between the campus pro-Palestine and pro-Israel societies ground to a halt, but certain elements of the carefully planned and executed conference slowly thawed the political freeze. In a considerate move, event planners had provided both traditional Arab and Israeli foods, intermingling on the tables.
“That really made me feel comfortable, as though both groups were being treated equally and we were on even footing. When I saw a plate of Israeli couscous next to a fresh shawarma sandwich, I knew we could move forward.”
After a few hours of ice breakers and team building activities, the atmosphere in the conference room was unrecognizable. Students who had opposing political views were discovering they had an amazing amount of shared experiences, like growing up in LA and attending the same prestigious private university. Everyone left with a greater understanding of the “other,” as it were, and the conference will be remembered as one of the finest moments in political history.
As of press time, tensions were on the rise along the Gaza-Israeli border following yet another bombardment.