On campus last night, Israeli Deputy Consul General Gershon Kedar said Iran’s influence in the Middle East could be a hindrance to any developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
At a lecture, “Exploring the Dynamic U.S.-Israeli Relationship,” Kedar spoke to about 60 attendees on a variety of topics relating to the Middle East including the extremism of Arab-Israeli conflict to the possibility of a two-state solution to the conflict.
Kedar mainly focused his discussion on Israel’s more immediate neighbors, largely avoiding the United States’ role of in the peace negotiations.
Discussing the effect of Iran’s geopolitical position on Israeli peace negotiations, Kedar said that for the other countries involved, “Iran is the problem, not Israel.”
Kedar spoke frequently about the negative effects of Iran’s influence in the region on the Middle East peace process.
“Iran’s nuclear umbrella will … make (Arab countries’) regimes that much more unstable,” he said.
Kedar lectured for only a few minutes, with most of the event’s time being consumed by questions from the audience.
One of the questions raised several times concerned the recent Goldstone report, released by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report criticized Israel for human rights violations during last year’s Gaza conflict.
Kedar said the report was unacceptable because it assumed Israeli guilt, rather than providing an unbiased objective observer.
He added that the government is “not willing to play ball,” when it comes to the report.
“The mandate from the beginning states that Israel is guilty, that we just have to figure out what the punishment is,” Kedar said.
He likened the commission’s findings to a juror entering into a trial, already sure of the defendant’s guilt.
The lecture was sponsored by the American Movement for Israel, the largest pro-Israeli group on campus.
LSA sophomore Richard Kallus, a member of AMI board, said the group brought in Kedar to show campus a unique perspective on the issue.
“We want to show a different viewpoint from what most people are seeing in the American media,” Kallus said.
LSA junior Kimberly Lemkin, who attended the lecture, said she thought Kedar’s lecture was well rounded.
“I thought he was very informative,” she said. “He presented both sides. (He explained) how it’s not just an Israeli-Palestinian issue — the surrounding areas are involved.”
Lemkin added that she wished there would have been a little more history in the lecture.
“Maybe if he went over a little more of a history of the conflict, just to say how emotionally both sides are involved,” said Lemkin. “Just a recap I guess.”
LSA sophomore Elise Aikman agreed.
“I would like to know more about the history of U.S.-Arab relations,” she said.