Respect

This is a republication of an original article written by Rebecca Horwitz and Lauren Marks in the George Washington Hatchet on Monday, April 19, 2004.


It is a shame that on a campus that prides itself on having a diverse student body, there are people who believe unfounded personal attacks are a productive form of communication. In response to Fadi Kiblawi’s editorial titled “Standing with a Racist” (April 15, p. 5), a piece riddled with misrepresentations, we, the co-presidents of the GW Student Alliance for Israel, would like to address the claim of SAFI “affirming support of racism.”

SAFI continues to stand by its belief that the “GW campus will benefit from a celebration of diversity.” In line with this goal, the GW Israel community has supported left-of-center programs such as “Do Palestinian Textbooks Really Teach Hatred?” with Professor Nathan Brown and right-of-center programs like the upcoming Walid Shoebat event. SAFI provides the resources for bringing together differing viewpoints. It does not mean that we individually or collectively agree with the viewpoints expressed by any one particular person. We fully expect that Mr. Shoebat, unlike Mr. Kiblawi, will present his viewpoint without resorting to inflammatory or hateful comments. In addition to this, we have had and will continue to have numerous programs that celebrate the vibrant and diverse cultures of Israel.

SAFI is a large, inclusive organization – not just Lauren Marks and Rebecca Horwitz. Our more than 800 diverse members are proud of our record of working with different cultural groups like the Black Student Union and the Organization of Latin American Students, as well as with groups that hold conflicting political views. We have organized and participated in several programs promoting the coexistence of Israel and the Palestinians in peace and security. If Mr. Kiblawi were interested in anything more than name-calling, he should have attended one of the Students for Peace and Justices’ dialogues on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he has not. Instead, Mr. Kiblawi shows a clear preference for tantrums. This past fall, Mr. Kiblawi failed to show even a modicum of respect to the formerly imprisoned Soviet dissident and current Israeli Minister, Natan Sharansky, during his visit to campus.

If Mr. Kiblawi sincerely wishes to engage in a thoughtful and respectful dialogue about the important issue, a fundamental respect for human life and dignity, we encourage him to participate in some of the valuable programs like those of Students for Peace and Justice. We only ask that if Mr. Kiblawi wants his viewpoint to be respected he perhaps refrain from personal attacks on those who hold differing views from his. As the sage Hillel admonished one of his critics, “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself.”


About the Author

Rebecca Horwitz and Lauren Marks are the co-presidents of the George Washington Student Alliance for Israel.