Letter to the Editor: Addressing “ethnic conflict” inaccuracies

Alexis Salem, President of Winona State Students for Palestinian Liberation

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In the Feb. 20, 2019 issue, the event “State Violence Beyond Border: US, Israel, and Tactics of Control” was written about and referred to as “ethnic conflict.” This letter is to address the inaccuracies of that statement.

Many Palestinians criticize this usage because it seems to implicate that there is equal power between Israel and Palestine. This is dangerous to the marginalized Palestinian narratives because it does not frame the reality of the plight of the Palestinian people.

It also doesn’t account for US financial foreign aid to Israel. This is unacceptable because it continues the narrative that Israel is defending their homeland. The presentation offered critical data on Israel occupation of Palestinian land and human rights violations.

The presentation largely dealt with Jewish Voice for Peace’s political campaign to end deadly exchanges between U.S. law enforcement and Israeli security forces, and challenge state violence and discrimination in both countries.

As they state, “One of the most dangerous places where the regimes of Trump and Netanyahu converge are in exchange programs that bring together police, ICE, border patrol and FBI from the US with soldiers, police, border agents, etc from Israel. In these programs, ‘worst practices’ are shared to promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing practices that already exist in both countries, including extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders” (https://deadlyexchange.org/about-deadly-exchange/ ).

As discussed in the presentation, Minneapolis police and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office received training via a deadly exchange following the murder of Philando Castille for “crowd control” and also sent police to Standing Rock where non-violent NODAPL protesters were met with tear gas and batons.

If you’d like to get involved in these issues you can contact the president of Winona State Students for Palestinian Liberation at [email protected]   

Alexis Salem


President of Winona State Students for Palestinian Liberation