The Department of Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign condemns the ongoing seventy-three years of settler colonial violence against Palestine and the Palestinian people. Recently, the renewed assault on Palestinian life and land has taken the form of Israel bombing civilians in Gaza; the colonial eviction and subsequent displacement and homelessness of hundreds of Palestinians from the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere; settler violence against Palestinians in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and the use of indiscriminate violent force against the indigenous Palestinian people, such as the militarized assault again Palestinian worshippers in the Al Aqsa mosque last Monday. At the time of writing this statement, over 200 Palestinians have been killed in one week alone, including 60 children and 34 women. At this very moment, the Israeli military continues its bombardment of Gaza, the densest strip of land in the world, violently contained by air, land, and sea by the Israeli state. Israel has also destroyed journalistic infrastructures in Gaza, such as the Associated Press building, to prevent this latest massacre from reaching public eyes. Social media accounts have also been hacked and/or censored by tech giants in order to subvert scrutiny. Indeed, in addition to Palestinian lives, truth has been a casualty through the ongoing measures of censorship that disproportionately target pro-Palestinian perspectives, including those of educators.
As a department focused on the critical study of settler colonialism, racism, and empire, we condemn Israel’s ongoing settler colonialism of Palestine and brutal militarized violence on the Palestinian people. We view this latest upsurge in violence as part of the ongoing process of the militarized settler colonialism of Palestine and Palestinians. The U.S. continues to supply $3.8 billion of U.S. taxpayer monies to Israel. As a public land grant institution occupying the lands of the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations, we are obligated by the University of Illinois’ own complicity in settler colonialism to address this issue. We condemn the exploitation, theft, and colonization of land and labor everywhere, including in Palestine. To this we say no more.
We take our lead from the steadfastness of the Palestinian people who continue to fight for the integrity of their land and people with enormous bravery, courage, and resistance. At the same time, we know painfully well that they should not have to continue to pay with their lives and land. Again, we say no more.
Our solidarity is with the people of Palestine. We demand an immediate end to the airstrikes on Gaza and the colonization of Palestinian land in Sheikh Jarrah and beyond. In the words of the Palestinian Feminist Collective’s Love Letter to Our People Struggling in Palestine, we say to the people of Palestine: “we are with you. You are protecting a future in which Palestinians everywhere can live without fear of colonial violence.” We want the people of Palestine to know that they have our support, and that through our engaged scholarship and our collective voice, we will continue to uphold their/our demands for freedom