Continuing the dialogue incited this week with discussions and rallies in support of Israeli and Palestinian causes, a lecture last night examined the relationship between Zionism and humanitarianism.
“Zionism is the political movement to secure self-determination for the Jewish people,” said Amy Goldstein, the national director of the international affairs department at Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. “It talks about just the Jewish people. Many people believe that if it’s not about other people then it must be racist.”
Recalling a situation where a bomb was found in an ambulance, she addressed the effects of politicizing medical centers.
“When medical facilities are used and manipulated for political purposes there are unseen consequences,” Goldstein said. “Now Israel doesn’t want to let ambulances in. They have to check every ambulance … an unseen consequence.”
Responding to questions posed about the perception of Israel in the rest of the world, Goldstein directed her remarks to Israel’s current military actions.
“The Palestinians have not lived up to their commitments,” she said. The Palestinians “have not dismantled the terrorist infrastructure – they have arrested few people. … We need to go in and get the structures that train suicide bombers and snipers.”
She added that terrorists lists have been sent many times to Yasser Arafat without reply or acknowledgement.
Some students believed that Goldstein stopped focusing on Zionism’s links to racism when she discussed other aspects of the Middle East conflicts and Hadassah’s accomplishments.
“Their organization, created through Zionism, does great things,” LSA senior Nikhil Patel said. “I didn’t want to hear every good thing that they have done – that wasn’t the issue. … She didn’t mention how Zionism was related to racism.”
“She provides other aspects of Zionism that people don’t really hear about,” said LSA junior David Post, one of the organizers of the discussion. He added that her experience of sitting on the United Nations as a representative for Hadassah allows her to give an interesting perspective.
Goldstein addressed students in Angell Hall last night.
She also addressed students at the Medical School yesterday morning about the humanitarian aid Hadassah provides relating to hospitals and medical care.