Since the antisemitic terror attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas terrorists on Israel, a full-scale war has broken out. That day, a member of the leadership of the BYU Arab Student Association (ASA) posted supportive messages of the attack, and other events since then have signaled concerning views of other members in the ASA club leadership.
On Oct. 7, one ASA club leader shared a post from an account known as @amani containing the following message: “As we speak: the highest escalation of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation in recent memory is taking place right now.”
“[W]hat’s happening right now is very obvious and has happened many times throughout history. An occupied people that has been under brutal military apartheid for decades is resisting its colonizer,” the post from @amani continued.
The ASA student leader shared this post on her story and highlights titled: 🇵🇸 <3. Another story post on her highlight reel was this one of several news headlines combined with some of her thoughts on the day of the terror attacks:
The quotes, as seen from the story highlight screenshot, include:
“[B]uzzwords and phrases like ‘attack on Israel’, ‘militants’, ‘conflict’, and ‘war’ are meant to misdirect and mislead.”
“[W]hat’s been happening in [P]alestine for the past 70+ years is NOT a conflict. It is NOT a war. [I]t is occupation, apartheid, colonialism, and dare [I] say, genocide.”
“[T]he [P]alestinian people have every right to defend themselves and resist occupation from their oppressors. [D]o not let western media tell you otherwise.”
In another post she shared on Oct. 7 from the account @middleastarchive, the ASA club leader posted a photo of a car waving Palestinian flags and wrote the caption on her Instagram story, “It’s free Palestine until Palestine is free.”
Another post shared by the ASA student leader on Oct. 7 was an announcement made by the “Party for Socialism & Liberation” (@pslsalklake) in Salt Lake to hold an “emergency demonstration” on Oct. 8. This post’s caption reads: “In recent hours, the Palestinian resistance launched a historic new counteroffensive against the unrelenting oppression, murder, torture and occupation carried out by the Israeli apartheid regime. This Israeli oppression is bought and paid for by U.S. imperialism.”
In subsequent posts to her story, the ASA student leader posted a video of her at the protest the next day holding a sign that said, “Free Palestine until it’s free.” According to another video on the page, other members of the ASA club leadership attended the protest as well.
The Cougar Chronicle reached out to the ASA club leadership for additional context for the posts and comments, but the ASA did not respond. After the request for comment, the ASA leader’s Instagram page was taken offline.
In addition to these posts, other members in the leadership of the ASA appear to have similar feelings about the Israel and Palestine war. When some of the ASA students were in the library on Oct. 25, a student by the name of Alvin Guo claimed to overhear some of their conversation about the war in Israel. When he walked up to the students, he began to ask questions regarding their views.
Guo told the Chronicle that one student said Israelis were “evil” and wanted to “kill all Palestinians.” When Guo asked them to condemn Hamas, the students would not do so and said it was not relevant to the conversation. Guo later identified two of the students as members of the ASA club leadership.
Overall, Guo said of the experience, “I feel deeply ashamed when those merciless, unreceptive, unprincipled, and unjust students attend a Christian college while embodying anti-Christian doctrines.”
Additionally, while tabling on that same day, the ASA group displayed a false depiction of the Israel-Palestine territory dispute.
When MSNBC used a version of the map in 2015, the network had to issue an apology live on air afterward. In addition, when the New York Times ran an opinion piece in 2021, the deputy editor justified its usage, saying, “This artwork is not meant to represent any historical boundaries and it is not meant to serve as a literal, factual map — our data graphics department would handle such maps. This was an illustration conveying a sense of shrinking space for Palestinians. It is art.” The map has been proved to be false propaganda over and over.
The same day the ASA was tabling, the Daily Universe published a story titled, “BYU Arab Student Association aims to foster unity in times of strife.” The author concluded the piece, saying, “BYU Arab Student Association plans to host more educational events, such as Palestinian Voices, an event where Palestinians will come and share their voices, at the end of November.”
The Chronicle asked for comment from BYUSA on why a club such as ASA would be approved on campus if its leaders promulgate these views and the organization did not reply. The BYUSA approved ASA club was seen tabling a second time on their Instagram story with some of the same members mentioned in this article after the Chronicle reached out for comment. BYU administrators were also CCed and we have yet to receive any response from BYU officials.
Written by: The Cougar Chronicle
The Cougar Chronicle is an independent student-run newspaper and is not affiliated with Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.