Listings All Letters to the Editor
Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) was featured on the Humans of Virginia Tech Facebook page. The main theme of the tabling demonstration covered in the post was to blame Israel for all Palestinian hardship without any room for competing dialogue. This post became a battleground for toxicity and name-calling and ultimately left no room for any type of discussion.
On Sunday, December 29, The New York Times published an article regarding the “Open Hillel” vote, which took place three weeks ago at Swarthmore College. This article couldn’t be more wrong.
And the pendulum swings from one end to the other: In the name of fighting extremism and inaccuracy, the guest column “False Assertions” has provided a deluge of spurious clichés and platitudes notoriously used by anti-Israel advocates. Israel is not an occupying foreign power — international law and years of Jewish presence in the land vouch for Israel’s legitimacy.
The university’s chapter of Hillel is proud of the role that it has played, in collaboration with other faith groups, in fostering a campus environment that is tolerant of freedom of expression. Its initiatives have been important in creating a community where students can engage with one another constructively.
The war in Gaza has been at the center of the world’s attention for the past two weeks. The media have discussed the end of the six-month cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, the launching of rockets and mortars into southern Israel, and the subsequent Israeli retaliation, including ground operations in Gaza.
The GMU Law School hosted an event called “Separate is Never Equal: Stories of Apartheid from South Africa to Palestine” last week. The very title of the event speaks volumes as to the falsehood of its premise, and the guests for the event were an unfortunate selection.
A number of Law Center student groups hosted a seasoned Supreme Court and Circuit Court litigator, who spoke about claims filed against state sponsors of terrorist attacks. Steven Perles’s litigation practice at the Perles Law Firm, P.C., where he is the senior attorney and founder, includes many cases under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).
In his response to my letter Monday, Hicham Yaktin calls for the imposition of a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is unfortunate that Yaktin would deny the Palestinians their right to self-determination and control over their own collective destiny. It is equally unfortunate that Yaktin would see in Israel’s demise an “equitable” solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Having studied in Israel for a year before college as well as for a semester this past spring, I can say with confidence that going abroad to Israel is an incredibly valuable experience, war or no war. As I sat on my living room couch this summer with eyes glued to the news, I found myself cringing knowing that the news philosophy, “if it bleeds, it leads.”
According to The Washington Post, the movement to divest from Israel was sparked by a speech given in 2000 by University of Illinois law professor Francis A. Boyle. Dozens of campaigns emerged on college campuses across the nation, from Berkeley to Ohio State to Yale.