Israel-Hamas war

UP Muslim students urge boycott of Israel goods, call for Palestine freedom

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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UP Muslim students urge boycott of Israel goods, call for Palestine freedom

PROTEST. People participate in a pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Israeli Embassy, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Bangkok, Thailand, October 21, 2023.

Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

‘What Zionist Israel is doing to Palestine now is what Nazi Germany did to the Jews then,’ say Muslim students from the state-run University of the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Muslim students from the state-run University of the Philippines (UP) urged a boycott of Israeli goods as they called for the freedom of Palestine from the “unlawful, unrighteous, and unjust occupation” by Israel. 

In a statement, the UP Muslim Students’ Association (UP MSA) and the UP Association of Muslim Students (UP AMS) said they “strongly condemn the unconscionable injustices and pure evil being inflicted upon the Palestinian people.” They said they “do not condone any attacks made against innocent civilians, regardless of their religion, nationality, and political affiliation.”

UP MSA and UP AMS noted that “the State of Israel, under its extremist Zionist regime, is not the ancient Kingdom of Israel that King Solomon,” also known as Sulaiman bin Dawud in Islam, “once righteously and wisely ruled.” They said Israel “runs an apartheid regime where Palestinians are second-class people.”

“The Filipino people and the people of the West should also know that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. We recognize the Jews who bravely object and reject the Zionist State of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and call for freedom of the Palestinian people. What Zionist Israel is doing to Palestinians now is what Nazi Germany did to the Jews then,” the students said.

“It is hate and dehumanization of the ‘other’ that exacerbates these issues,” they continued. “Let our generation not make the same mistake.”

TIMELINE: A brief history of Gaza’s 75 years of woe

TIMELINE: A brief history of Gaza’s 75 years of woe
‘Free Palestine’

UP MSA and UP AMS then issued a 10-point call to action, which seeks to “condemn Zionist Israel’s siege of Gaza – virtually a plan to ‘sink Gaza’ and its two million inhabitants, 800,000 of which are children, ‘into the sea.’”

The Muslim students also called for “a boycott of all Israeli-made products and services as a way to cut off the State of Israel from revenues that fund their war machine and their unlawful, unrighteous, and unjust occupation.”

Read their complete statement dated Thursday, October 19:

UP, the leading state university in the Philippines, is one of the Filipino schools maintaining vibrant hubs for Muslim students in this predominantly Catholic country. The university is known for its tradition of activism.

The UP MSA and UP MSA statement echoes the calls for protesters worldwide demanding an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. This narrow strip of land has seen nearly two weeks of intense air and artillery strikes, which, according to authorities, have killed at least 4,100 people.

Israel is gearing up for a ground war in Gaza aimed at eradicating Hamas, the group that rampaged into Israeli towns on October 7, killing 1,400 people and seizing hostages.

In the Philippines, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss on October 11 that the Philippines stands with Israel in the Gaza conflict. 

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the country’s autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines, however, approved an October 17 resolution “condemning acts of violence and collective punishment against Palestinians and calling for the immediate declaration of an unconditional cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.” – with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email pat.esmaquel@rappler.com