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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

AS Government Affairs speaks on the Israel-Hamas conflict

Milca Elvira Chacon
AS GAC ending their biweekly meeting on Oct. 20

Associated Students’ Government Affairs Committee released a message regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The statement recognized and empathized with those affected by the ongoing conflict, provided links with information on the issue and highlighted GAC’s support for student’s First Amendment rights. 

It also called on the campus community to continue seeking peace and respect among each other during this time.

AS President Autumn Alaniz-Wiggins drafted and presented the statement during GAC’s biweekly meeting on Oct. 20. 

While drafting a statement, Alaniz-Wiggins struggled to articulate a proper announcement because of the lack of Palestinian and Muslim presence in Chico. 

Alaniz-Wigginz emphasized the necessity of clubs like Calmena on campus. She said it was a former Chico State club carried out by Middle Eastern international students that ended around two years ago. 

“When things like this happen, there’s not a lot of counterweight to like, really figure out how the students are feeling because they’re super invisible on campus, which is unfortunate,” Analiz-Wiggins said. “And so even drafting this I don’t really have anybody to go to but Hillel because we don’t have a Calmena, I can only rely on like myself and my network to kind of draft up language.”

Additionally, Alaniz-Wiggins and Chico State’s Chief Diversity Officer Joseph Morales reviewed the statement with Chico State’s Jewish Hillel President Gil Klein-Cohen. 

While Hillel didn’t officially endorse the message, Klein-Cohen is thankful the organization’s thoughts and opinions were sought before the statement’s publication.

“Speaking personally, and not on behalf of Hillel, I appreciate that the committee’s message encourages deeper analysis of the facts and historical perspectives. Civil dialogue and shared understanding are vital even in times of intense conflict abroad,” Klein-Cohen said.

Following the revisions, the GAC released the statement to the AS website and posted it on Instagram.

 “I also appreciate that the statement condemns violence on both sides and wish that there was added recognition that Israel has the right and duty to defend itself from future Hamas terrorism. It is heartbreaking that civilian deaths and injuries are the inevitable result of the war Hamas has started,” Klein-Cohen said. “My heart is with the civilians in Gaza living through hell without remorse from Israel or Hamas. For their sake and for everyone in Israel and Palestine I hope for peace.” 

Since Alaniz-Wiggins is double-majoring in multicultural gender studies and sociology, advocacy is important to her in moments like these. 

“When I joined student government, having been director of social justice and equity last year, I didn’t want to just be complacent and no matter what type of event came up, I wanted to be like, hey, Chico State has a chance to be at the forefront of these issues,” Alaniz-Wiggins said.


Milca Elvira Chacon can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Milca Elvira Chacon
Milca Elvira Chacon is a journalism major with a minor in Broadcasting. She was a contributor for The Orion last semester, but is now officially working for the student-led newspaper. She hopes to strengthen her writing skills and contribute to stories that will positively impact the community. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and working out.

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  • J

    Jesse svetlich // Nov 8, 2023 at 8:44 pm

    We condemn the violence on both sides. The brutal apartheid regime carrying out genocide and the prison camp inmates trying to break out. Both are equal.

  • C

    Christopher M Hill // Nov 8, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    While I can sympathize with their lack of ability to find information, the AS statement is pretty bad.

    There are strong whiffs of “We condemn violence on both sides, but the South African government has the right to defend itself from the Umkhonto we Sizwe terrorists.”

    I know and admire many individuals in Hillel, but this is an organization that receives funding from the Israeli government as well as from far-right Israeli politicians like Naftali Bennet. It is far from a neutral representative of the Jewish community, but an organization with an explicit political commitment to Zionism.

    This commitment is so explicit that it has caused splits in the organization in the past, as Hillel maintains a blanket ban on any of its chapters cooperating with Jewish organizations that oppose Zionism, even when the issue of Zionism is not relevant to the particular event in question.

    There are non-Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews (including some Israelis) in the Chico State community, as well as Zionists who are not compromised by direct financial ties to the Israeli government. Was there an attempt to look into other points of view?

    The references to cross-cultural understanding and dialog sound nice and all, but it also betrays a lack of knowledge about Palestinian culture.

    Yes, there are Muslim Palestinians, but there is also a substantial Christian minority, most of which has been driven out of the country by violence and dispossession. There are also Palestinian Druze, Samaritan Israelites, and even a small minority of Jews who identify as Palestinian rather than as Israeli. Where do they fit into the statement?

    The section on the conflict, putting aside the general problem of equivocating between a professional army with nuclear capabilities and a mostly unarmed population, with a small number of guerrilla insurgents, does not even agree with the sources in its citations. The reference to “over 1,400* innocent Israeli civilians” killed by Hamas is incorrect, as the source, using Israeli numbers, is clear that 400 of this number are military or police officials.

    This number is also not of killings caused Hamas, but of all Israeli deaths caused by the conflict. Hamas is but one insurgent group in Gaza, (albeit one of the most influential ones) and these deaths include also people killed by other insurgent groups, mob violence, as well as those who, according to surviving eyewitnesses, were killed by Israeli forces, including the majority of the 112 people killed at Kibbutz Be’eri.

    One need not doubt the positive intentions of those who drafted the statement to see that the impact of the letter is to legitimize the claims of the Israeli government. It is not a message of solidarity for both sides, as if that were possible, it is a justification of the perpetuation of massive crimes against the Palestinian people, crimes that, and by extension, a great crime against the Jews of Israel and Palestine, who shall continue to suffer from the inability to combine freedom and safety with apartheid.

    “When a real and final catastrophe should befall us in Palestine the first responisble for it would be the British and the second responsible for it the Terrorist organizations built up from our own ranks”

    “Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our two thousand years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us.”

    – Albert Einstein