There is a cruel irony and violence behind the notion of a festival celebrating “Mid East Culture” (which references the intentionally vague term middle eastern, and erases the multitude of people indigenous to the Middle East) being organized primarily by CIPAC, Cornell’s zionist chapter of AIPAC . CIPAC actively promotes Israel as a free democratic state, often by positioning it in contrast to the “violent and barbaric” Arab countries that surround it. CIPAC has continuously stood in support of Israel’s foreign policy, and occupation of Palestinian land and people.
CIPAC’s direct support of racist Israeli policies, the IDF, which has terrorized the Palestinian people for decades, and the ongoing support of the US’s imperialist ventures in the Middle East, puts this group in direct opposition to the progress and liberation of Arab and non Arab people in this region. Ultimately, CIPAC’s decision to co-opt the term “Mid East” represents their desire to steal exotic imagery, foods, dances, and a wide array of cultures from the Middle East in order to create a consumable, whitewashed monolithic, Middle Eastern identity they can call their own.
This type of cultural genocide normalizes the idea that Israel is the center of Arab culture in the Middle East, washing away any reminders of Israel’s active role in destroying Arab culture and life.
This year, I thought “trolling” would be the best way to raise awareness of this ridiculousness. And let us never forget, that the final frontier of occupation and apartheid is the invisibilizing of those who are occupied, in this case, the Palestinians.
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