Georgetown Israel Alliance apologizes, defends inappropriate tweet

Yesterday, Georgetown’s pro-Israel student group, Georgetown Israel Alliance, stirred controversy when they posted on Twitter about the race riots in Israel targeted at Sudanese and Somalian asylum seekers. In their Twitter, @Hoyas4Israel, the group said: “Israel! Be nicer to those Africans we’re murdering, maiming, and raping in Somalia and Sudan. Yours always, the freedom-loving Arab world.” Within the next few hours, several students reacted on Facebook and Twitter condemning the inappropriate nature of the post. The group took down the post shortly thereafter.

Initially, GIA responded indignantly. About an hour later the group tweeted: “Slightly surprised at the backlash from pointing out the irony in Al-Jazeera’s damning coverage of African refugees of Arab states in Israel.” The group did not initially feel the comment merited an apology.

Later that night at around 10pm, the group apologized, explained and defended their post in a subsequent five tweets.

The GIA would like to apologize for any offense caused by an earlier tweet. To be clear: the GIA condemns the vicious riots in Tel Aviv. The tweet was merely an expression of our view that Israel is, as often happens, held to an unfair standard on the issue of African refugees. It was also comment on the fact that the refugees themselves have received considerably more attention than the conflicts that spawned them. Nativism in Israel is ugly and should be condemned, but is not unique to Israel in nature or degree. Finally, the situation has been used as an blanket indictment of all Israelis despite the participation of but a tiny minority in the riots. Our comment was written hastily and emotionally and we regret any offense.”

Screenshot by Twitter user @samioj

11 Comments on “Georgetown Israel Alliance apologizes, defends inappropriate tweet

  1. I can’t believe they apologized for this! The point seems entirely valid. The refugees are from Sudan, shot at in Egypt, deported from Yemen, and one was literally crucified in Saudi Arabia. Look it up!

  2. Israel is held to an unfair standard, therefore, their violence is justified? Nativism should be condemned but it’s ok because it hasn’t only happened in Israel?

    My problem is don’t condemn something and justify it at the same time. That is neither apologizing for what they said nor is it defending their beliefs.

    And they have a problem with blanket indictments? Because clearly their tweet of the Arab world of murderers and rapists is not a blanket indictment.

  3. I see their point, but this was pretty dumb. I know some of that group and I feel like this was more because of excessive exuberance than malice. I also read quite a bit of Al-Jazeera and it is a little ridiculous how much attention these refugees have gotten without any mention of who is persecuting them or the fact that not a single Arab country will take them in. +1 on the crucifixion find also. That actually happened

  4. How is Israel held to a higher standard than any other country? Atrocities in Arab countries dominate Western news, and I see no lack of criticism from any part of the globe regarding them. Human rights abuses and bigotry are equally wrong everywhere. Israel supporters, spare us the martyr complex. You are not a fragile little refugee camp, you’re an increasingly authoritarian state with a nuclear arsenal and the military and political backing of the most powerful countries in the world. If you want to run with the big boys, you can’t shout oppression when your policies are critiqued and opposed on the world stage. Welcome to global politics.

  5. I think Al-Jazeera’s coverage on Israel, when viewed as a whole, taking into account their coverage of other issues globally, has been fair. It’s time us Jews stop attacking every critic. We are not perfect.

  6. This non-apology is disingenuous, because there was never a mention of Al Jazeera, and their other tweets belie such standards.

    Take for example. Or their affection for the racist output of @ThisIsPalestine.

    The moral standards of these pro-Israel activists are funky. On the one hand, they want us to believe that Israel is a better place than those countries around it and the country it usurped — Israel is liberal, tolerant, feminist, gay, green and high-tech — but when it suits them, they claim that Israel is held to a double standard.

    Which is it? Either Israel is a superior place of such civilization that we should forget the crimes against Palestinians, or it’s a normal place like everywhere else whose leaders must abide by international law, be held accountable for its crimes and not treated as an exception.

    It reminds me of what William Burroughs wrote in Queer: “He can revel in the satisfactions of virulent bitchiness and simultaneously see himself as a saint. Quite a trick.”

  7. Get over yourselves. This is actually pretty funny. Either way, America’s little better. I’d almost rather be Sudanese in Israel than Mexican in Arizona.

  8. No, no you wouldn’t. God Damn that statement sucks.

    The GIA was trying to point out in a sarcastic albeit poorly worded, confusing way that the Arab World is currently criticizing Israel for race riots…. while the Arab countries crucified, tortured, expelled and otherwise abused the same refugees. Its hypocritical to the extreme.

    State sponsored murder =/= deportation of illegal immigrants =/= crucifixion. All are important issues but you’re doing a disservice to the world when you equate Arizona with the situation in Israel.

  9. Let’s be really clear. The tweet from GIA was, without any doubt, racist. There should be no way to justify it. Now, even if some folks think it was naïve, simply in poor taste, a bad attempt at humor, etc., I encourage you, as Benjamin Doherty did, to take a look at the organization’s other tweets. This account is filled with racist and offensive garbage…it’s frankly embarrassing that a recognized student organization would post stuff like this.

    But if there’s anything to take away from this, it’s really significant that GIA feels comfortable posting stuff like this online in the first place. In fact, the tone and substance of their messages mirror the increasingly xenophobic stances that Israel and its supporters are having to adopt in order to justify policies that violate international law, human rights, and continue to strip Palestinians of their basic dignity. GIA isn’t alone…they just seem to be parroting the most hardline defenses of Israel, which these days, are necessarily paranoid and racist.

    In the same vein, when the GIA says the riots—and I can only assume that, in their eyes, this includes their initial making light of them—are a minority position in Israeli society, that’s not necessarily true. When asked if the recent violence constituted a pogrom, the Israeli Interior Minister himself said, “I cannot judge a man whose daughter gets raped. I cannot judge a young woman who cannot walk home.”

    Now, hey that sounds like a great GIA tweet, doesn’t it?

  10. Cole: What a great, articulate response. Preach

    Viva Palestina

  11. Just browsed their feed and that’s not really a fair characterization of it. They’re sarcastic sometimes, sure. But to call them racist for taking one side in what is essentially an ethnic and civilizational conflict is a gross and misleading oversimplification. Whatever your views on Israel are, and yours seem pretty obvious, it’s not fair at all to label them racists for defending what is admittedly a much maligned country. After all, the part of this tweet that people are calling racist is the collective “Arab world” part. The rest is insensitive, but “Arab world” seems to be where the problem lies. How is that any different from your insinuation that Israeli society as a whole, and not “a small minority,” is responsible for the riots?

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