A newly formed Pro-Palestinian student group at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)’s Carey Law School is pushing students not to visit Israel on an annual week-long tour promoted by the school, claiming the seven-day trip is “Israeli government-linked propaganda."
Penn Law Students for Justice in Palestine (PLSJP) released a petition urging the Penn Law ITrek (August 15-22) program to be cancelled.
“ITrek is a politically motivated endeavor, meant to whitewash and perpetuate Israel’s decades-long oppression and dispossession of Palestinians. We urge you not to participate,” they wrote.
They called the tour of the Jewish State part of a “well-organized and well-funded campaign designed to improve Israel’s image among Americans and deflect attention from its ongoing human rights abuses.”
Accusing Israel & Co. – the “entity behind ITrek” – of “targeting its programming at students at elite law, business, and policy schools” in order to reshape “unfavorable public opinion of Israel” by recruiting “tomorrow’s leaders and change-makers,” the group claimed that the trip’s goal was to pretend to “ provide a semblance of balance” while hiding a nefarious hidden agenda.
“This approach is consistent with a strategy advanced by right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson, which aims to appeal to ‘progressive,’ ‘social justice oriented’ students by promoting a pro-Israel message while avoiding overt propaganda,” they said. “Moreover, the few encounters that you may have with Palestinians fail to give you a sense of what life is actually like for most Palestinians.”
They concluded, “We understand and share the desire to visit Israel and Palestine without ignoring the experience of Palestinians. We at PLSJP are working to understand and discuss whether such options exist coming off a global pandemic and while an apartheid regime continues to hold power and inflict violence.”