Palestinian supporters go wrong direction

By Joel Schwitzer

Tuesday afternoon, students walking past the union were witness to a rally that was ostensibly held to draw awareness to the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza. On either side of Anniversary Plaza, rally participants chanted a variety of slogans such as repetition of the phrase, “From the River to the Sea.” These words reveal an underlying extremist position where the real goal is the destruction of Israel. This kind of hate filled, radical language perpetuates the Israel-Palestinian conflict, rather than advocating a solution that allows for both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace.

As an institution of higher learning, the University is clearly a place for vigorous discourse around difficult issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But when this debate is framed by statements completely de-legitimizing the very existence of Israel, the debate is silenced before it can even start. How does one begin a dialogue over the tough issues when the other side begins from a position that undermines your very right to exist?

Furthermore, when protestors demonize Israel and call for its destruction, and organizers bring in a speaker who makes ludicrous and insulting charges about the beliefs of the Jewish people, they are creating an atmosphere that is detrimental to the free exchange of ideas and has the potential of inflaming tensions between segments of the student body.

It is both disappointing and troubling to see the direction that supporters of the Palestinian cause have chosen to go on this campus.