Tariq Abu Khdeir said the only reason he survived Israeli police violence was because he is American.
Khdeir, who was a special guest for Students for Justice in Palestine’s annual fundraiser Palestinian Nights Oct. 24, is just one of the several teenagers and children in Palestine who suffered this brutality firsthand. Many of the victims do not survive, but since this incident was recorded on video, he was rescued by the United States after his video went viral in July 2014.
Student organizations like SJP make it their mission to spread awareness about the Palestinian struggle through activism and fundraisers.
SJP began its fundraising event with Khdeir’s testimony of his experience with the Israeli police. He explained as he was watching a protest take place from an alley afar, two members of the Israeli police came from behind and attacked him viciously.
Dina Elabd, a senior biology major and member of SJP, said most of the students at Temple are not as informed as they should be about the ongoing violence in Palestine.
“It would be a surprise to meet someone who actually knows what is happening in Palestine,” Elabd said. “The events that SJP holds make the attendees much more aware of the events in this country.”
“SJP is not exclusively just for Palestinians, it is for everyone who believes in this common cause … anyone can be part of this multicultural group,” she added.
Kelsey Hollenbach, a senior women’s studies major and vice president of SJP, said the group aims to hold these types of events once a year. Along with the organized rallies, they also provide teachings and film screenings for students who wish to learn more about these issues.
This particular event was targeted to benefit Playgrounds for Palestine, an organization that builds playgrounds for kids in Palestine. SJP provided half of its $2,000 proceeds to this cause.
Although the issues were serious, organizers said the event proved to be inspiring and entertaining.
Elabd, who attended the fundraiser two years ago, returned to witness the same passion that inspired her to be a part of SJP.
“People get very passionate at these type of events because they begin to reminisce on their culture,” Elabd said. “There’s also traditional dance and traditional food, which reminds them of their country.”
Gail Vivar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.