Not expecting argument is ridiculous

By Jon Youakim

Editor’s note: Jeffrey Gross vigorously disputes the characterizations made in this letter. Read his response at the link on the side.

Cafe Intifada last week at Allen Hall was to share songs, poems and voices against oppression. It was a three hour event filled with great music and words of empowerment for justice. However, Jeff Gross decided that instead of engaging in sincere dialogue he would rant and demean others to incite a response.

Gross did not have a song to sing, a poem to read or anything but hatred to express for this event.

He was not singled out for his religion or deprived of free speech. It was actually the leaders of the event and many of the audience members that pushed for him to finish speaking and plugged the microphone back in after someone had unplugged it.

He continued on his rant stating attacks by Palestinians on Israelis since 2000. Gross tried to justify the Palestinian civilians killed by Israel as collateral damage and that Palestinians were the only terrorists. He went further to state that the land belongs to the Jews because God gave it to them after 5,000 years of persecution. He then left and was not “driven from the room.”

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Leaders of the event wanted him to stay to discuss these issues. It was clear, however, that he was not there for constructive or civil dialogue, but to demonize the event and antagonize people, then claim to be victimized.

So, while Mr. Gross may have felt deprived of free speech, he clearly was not. Yes, he was confronted by an audience that responded to his rant with words and questions of their own.

Why should that make him feel unsafe?

For him to expect that no one would question his statements that Israel does not oppress or is justified in its oppression at an event against oppression is just ridiculous.