Human rights activists reflect on Israeli occupation, present call to action to Harvard students

Around 180 students from Harvard University visited Birzeit University on March 23, 2019, to learn about the realities of Palestinian life under the Israeli occupation and receive reflections on the ongoing Palestinian resistance against the occupation’s structural violence.

Having visited the campus, the students met with Omar Bargouthi, a Palestinian human rights defender and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and with Janna Tamimi, the world’s youngest journalist.

Bargouthi, author of the book “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: the Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights,” described the apartheid and segregation practices that Israel imposes and explained how Palestinians strive to resist and counter them. He highlighted the important role of international solidarity movements in the Palestinian fight for liberation, whereby people around the world can use the nonviolent means of boycott and divestment to compel their governments and institutions to withdraw support for companies that facilitate the occupation.

Tamimi shared her story and related how she became involved in journalism at the age of seven. The 13-year-old activist asserted that from an early age on, she wanted to let the world know what happens to Palestinian children and document how Israeli violates their basic rights.

The students shared lunch with Birzeit University student members of the Right to Education Campaign, a grassroots movement that seeks to document, research and raise awareness about the issues facing Palestinian academic institutions under the Israeli occupation.