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  • Vincent Latigue

"Our Freedom is Incomplete without the Freedom of the Palestinians"

By Vincent Latigue

Photo via Getty Images

Since October 7th my mind’s been inundated with images of some of the most despicable acts of savagery and barbarity that humanity has to offer. But I think that there in lies the problem with this issue, and how we as Americans choose to think about it. Because violence in Israel did not start on October 7th, as a matter of fact, much like America’s own founding, violence was in its inception. Much of what has happened since Hamas killed roughly 1,200 Israelis and took several hundred captives seems to have less to do with combating “terrorism” and more to with removing people from their land. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that “This is a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness, between humanity and the law of the jungle.” With over 20,000 Palestinians dead since October 7th, I can’t help but agree that this is between humanity and the law of the jungle, and it is very clear that the law of the jungle prevails.

As the self-proclaimed leader of the free world and supporter of the only democracy in the Middle East, the United States Government has without exception been Israel’s strongest supporter and ally. In 1986, during a debate on whether to override a Presidential veto of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, President Joe Biden, then a senator, said that “it [Israel] is the best $3 billion dollar investment we make. Were there not an Israel the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.” A line that he then repeated during a visit from Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the summer of 2023. As the only democracy in the Middle East continues the democratic tradition of indiscriminately bombing civilian populations, restricting access to food, water, and places that won’t be bombed, it has become abundantly clear to me and millions of others in the United States and abroad that this genocide cannot continue.

While American-made and American funded war machines continue to be used by malicious actors across the globe, and particularly Palestine, ordinary Americans are doing what they can to stand up to our government being complicit in crimes against humanity. Organizations like UMSL’s Middle Eastern Student Association and Muslim Student Association are leading by example and showing other student organizations what it means to stand up for something, regardless of the consequences. Groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine can show us that appealing to our humanity can surmount any divide created by faith and exacerbated by lobbying groups and politicians eager to dehumanize those who we have the most in common with.

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” Nelson Mandela said during a speech on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in 1997. While the United States continues to use its veto power at the U.N. to stall any meaningful resolution or intervention, the South African government filed a case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of war crimes. With the common refrain of “both sides” used to curtail any meaningful conversation or understanding of the inhumanity and barbarism that continues to manifest thanks in large part to our government's support, it is good to know that there are people and places out there that have not given up hope, and that refuse to be complicit or complacent in the face of adversity.

May we all find the strength to continue to show that American people don’t want to be complicit in genocide, just as the Palestinians continue to find the strength to fight and resist a brutal occupation.

Works Cited

Ibrahim, Nur. “Palestinians Forbidden from Collecting Rainwater Because It’s Deemed ‘Israeli Property’?” Snopes,, 22 Nov. 2023,

Frayer, Lauren. “Israel Revises down Its Death Toll from the Oct. 7 Hamas Attacks to about 1,200.” NPR, NPR, 11 Nov. 2023,

Liles, Jordan. “Was a ‘children of Darkness’ Post Deleted from Israel PM Netanyahu’s X Account?” Snopes,, 18 Oct. 2023,

User Clip: Joe Biden: Were There Not an Israel the USA Would Have to Invent an Israel to Protect Her Interest in the Region., C-SPAN, 11 May 2021, Accessed 31 Dec. 2023.

Ayyash, M.Muhannad. “Biden Says the U.S. Would Have to Invent an Israel If It Didn’t Exist. Why?” The Conversation, 25 July 2023,

Fayyad, Huthifa. “Nelson Mandela and Palestine: In His Own Words.” Middle East Eye, 11 Feb. 2020,

“Proceedings Instituted by South Africa against the State of Israel on 29 December 2023 .” Proceedings Instituted by South Africa against the State of Israel on 29 December 2023, 29 Dec. 2023,


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