Typically, Ithaca College students lean toward liberal ideology. In addition, students might hear more pro-Israel voices regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict. These views are the majority, but quantity doesn’t denote inevitable validity.
Every voice deserves a platform, and members from the IC Republicans and soon-to-be college chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine are proclaiming theirs. Though they may be in the minority, these groups should be commended for questioning prevailing student views. More students should follow in their footsteps.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is surrounded by a tense debate in which dissenting views are often strongly connected with religious and political beliefs. Whether calls against human rights violations, pleas for peace negotiations or opinions on which country should claim Jerusalem, differing opinions make up the layered, delicate issue.
The conflict has stirred student response in the past, including an Israel Independence Day celebration sponsored by the Student Alliance for Israel and Hillel Jewish Community. The event was controversial, prompting some to praise the group and others to criticize it. Members of the campus community have also debated how the college deals with the issue and whether the majority of classes, programs and lectures tend to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine may receive backlash from others who carry a deep emotional tie to Israel. But, if students find their views and lifestyle to be outnumbered by majority voices, they should create their own outlet to foster dialogue and cater to underrepresented groups. Though disagreement may follow, such actions will ultimately spur deeper understanding and conversation.