Action at Hillel event inappropriate

On Tuesday, April 1, the campus Hillel hosted an event in which journalist David Makovsky, a Middle Eastern specialist, gave a talk to a Champaign-Urbana audience.

Makovsky presented factual information and proposed mindsets conducive to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He acknowledged that both sides need to make concessions before an agreement is reached. His talk was far from Zionistic and certainly displayed no militarism or bigotry.

Following Makovsky’s speech, he opened a question and answer forum during which supporters of both sides respectfully posed questions. In the Thursday, April 10 edition of The Daily Illini, Academic Professional David Green wrote a letter to the editor stating his discontent with the program’s substance. He claimed that he was harassed for interjecting “an alternative perspective regarding Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation.” He added, “My comments were substantive and not personal.”

We witnessed Green jump to his feet and, screaming, interrupt Makovsky’s response to a question. He was asked to quiet down and to allow Makovsky to answer the question, yet he continued to speak in a raised voice and was asked to leave.

Tranquility was restored; however, upon leaving, Green stooped next to one of the men who had confronted him and instigated another shouting match. Green struggled with guests who, attempting to prevent an escalation, moved between the two men to restrain him.

After his departure, the program continued with a reception in another room where Makovsky answered further questions for roughly an hour. Questions asked by both sides were respectful and thought-provoking; the event continued without further disruptions. Green’s academic “professionalism” only served to deepen the divide between the two sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Makovsky promoted a deeper understanding of both sides and advocated a willingness to find common ground. Green’s actions were entirely inappropriate and counterproductive.

Danielle Perlin

Sophomore in Media

Jacob Jaffe

Sophomore in LAS