Topics The Diamondback
Annually, JSU hosts Israel Fest. This year’s event was disrupted by a protest orchestrating a “die in.” I am now taking this opportunity to voice to my perspective on what happened.
While one election cycle came to an end in the United States with the recent inauguration of President Obama, a different election came and went in the Middle East. You may be taken aback by that statement.
University students traversed the hallways of Capitol Hill yesterday to relay their message to lawmakers: If you care for Israel, show it. Joining forces with other local universities, seven students lobbied Congress on three main issues: continuing foreign aid for the country, combating the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons and raising awareness of the recent unity deal.
This week marks the third-annual Palestinian Solidarity Week at our university. The numerous provocative events that are part of the week do something far different than achieve its stated goals. The solidarity week’s events and the speakers the group brings to the university present distorted facts and extreme biases that ultimately seek to vilify and isolate Israel.
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.
As Israel’s ambassador to the US & historian Michael Oren spoke to a group of about 300 people, about 20 silent protesters stood outside with tape on their mouths to express their feelings on what they call the “Israeli occupation.”
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.
“Zo ha-medina shelanu,” they said in Hebrew. “It’s our state.” We were standing on a cliff at Rosh ha-Nikra, a scenic Mediterranean overlook on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Lebanese border. I had struck up a conversation with three Muslim Arab Israelis, and we were talking about what had brought us to this particular spot.
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.
College Democrats and College Republicans faced off in a debate yesterday, where hot-button issues such as stem-cell research, immigration, the war in Iraq and Israel dominated the discussion. The debate, held at the Hillel Center and organized by the Pro-Israel Terrapin Alliance, was the first and only debate between the two student groups.