Monday, April 21, 2014

Advertise with us »

Viewpoint: An offensive oversimplification


Published December 16, 2013

I was terribly disheartened by this week’s mock eviction, the accompanying viewpoint and subsequent coverage by the Daily. While every government has flaws — and Israel is certainly no exception — the events of this past week presented a completely one-sided and misrepresented view of a complex and multifaceted issue. The Palestinian people have surely suffered and continue to suffer, but demonizing Israel as the sole cause of this suffering is dishonest and pushes us further from the ultimate goal of peace.

Particularly offensive was the claim that Israel is an “apartheid” state. South African Apartheid institutionalized racial segregation through a system entrenched by law. Not only does Israel not have any of the racist policies that were present in South Africa, but also it is the most diverse country in the region, with Arab citizens having full rights and playing an active role in the political process. In fact, incitement of racism or any discrimination based on race or religion is a criminal offense in Israel.

In a region of the world where women are treated as second-class citizens, the LGBTQ community is ostracized and a representative government is just a pipe dream, Israel stands alone as a beacon of tolerance, rights and democracy. I understand the concerns of the Palestinian community but portraying Israel as a country that disregards human rights is inaccurate.

I pray for a day where we finally see peace in the middle east but actions like this mock eviction only serve to spread hate and demonize one actor in an extremely complex conflict. Instead of creating a forum for constructive discussion, this week’s fiasco only further polarizes the issue.

In the future, I hope our school community can come together to have an informative and meaningful discussion of the many concerns on all sides of this conflict.

Daniel Schwaber is a Public Policy junior.