Abdelall’s analogy between Chechenya and Palestinians misconstrued, ‘crude’

To the Daily:

In response to Brenda Abdelall’s column (Do as we say, not as we do, 10/31/02) I wish to reply (not that a newspaper as anti-Israel as the Daily is likely to print this). Abdelall’s column draws a crude analogy between the Russian-Chechen dispute and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Yet, unlike Russia, Israel must exist in daily fear that the so-called “Palestinians” and the nearby Arab states, namely Egypt, Syria and Iraq will attempt to destroy their entire country. The Egyptians simulate invasions in the Sinai peninsula, the Syrians sponsor the Hizbollah, and the Iraqis … well, that story is on the front page every day.

Second, Abdelall states that “The Palestinians are treated the way that they are simply because they are Arab.” If this is so, then why are Arab-Israelis given the rights of citizenship and given representation in Parliament? The Palestinians are treated the way they are because they have chosen not they way of other historic leaders who have led their people to peaceful solution, but because the leaders of the Palestinian people (to distinguish them from the Palestinian population at large) have chosen a violent, anti-Semitic path, the results of which the Palestinian people must bear.

Jonathan Prokup

Law school

Abdelall has fallen prey to ‘blame game’ despite pure intentions

To the Daily:

I don’t think anyone can argue with Brenda Abdelall’s view that suffering should be stopped, more specifically pertaining to the Palestinians in Israel (Do as we say, not as we do, 10/31/02). In fact, I think she would be hard pressed to find anyone that agrees that Palestinians should suffer … other than maybe some Arab regimes in the Middle East.

While Abdelall’s intentions are I’m sure quite pure, she has fallen prey to the blame game. How can she possibly suggest that these people are suffering for no reason? While it is my contention that both sides are reasonably to blame in this unfortunate conflict, it would be wise to mention that oppression of the Palestinian people has more to do with corrupt Palestinian dictatorships and regimes than it does with Israel. Why would the Israeli Defense Forces set up shop in the West Bank and Gaza Strip if they didn’t have to? They are fulfilling the duties of the irresponsible Palestinian Authority. Nothing can justify the razing of an innocent family’s home – no one argues this. However, when the IDF constantly finds myriad bomb factories and illegal weaponry outposts, they destroy these buildings. As a result, sometimes there are unfortunate casualties that occur. For Abdelall to assume the Israeli government is comprised of sadists is unfortunate and misguided.

Occupation is terrible, and occupation is brutal. However, who ever said it wasn’t justified? Just the other day, a study was released in Israel that has proven that new Palestinian textbooks deny the existence of Israel, blame Jews for all Palestinian hardships, and classify those who support Israel as infidels. If the PA plans on raising a new generation of Jew-haters, how can the world expect them to govern its’ people? Sadly, there is no choice but for Israel to remain where it is.

I am willing to criticize Israel when it is warranted. I will concur with Abdelall that something needs to be done to help the Palestinian people. I think, though, that something needs to be done together. Israel needs to shape up in respect to its human rights, but in order for that to take place, corrupt Arab regimes, like those of Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein, must be overthrown in order to prevent raising another generation of baseless Israel- or Jew-hating children.

Brad Sugar

LSA sophomore

Depiction of Latinos shows Daily staff’s immorality

To the Daily:

“I am going to wear sandals, a poncho, a rope for a belt, and am going to carry around a sack of oranges. I also have a sombrero that I am planning on wearing. The entire costume cost me $3.99.” This quote from the Daily (‘U’ prepares for Halloween, MSU gameday festivities,10/31/2002) is quite disturbing to me as an African American woman. This racist stereotype of a Latino living in the United States should not grace the pages of The Michigan Daily. Persons of Latin descent are people (not characters for amusement purposes) and should be respected as such. Prejudiced and racist depictions such as these make me wonder what kind of education students at the University are receiving and display the paucity of both morality and intellectualism among The Michigan Daily’s staff.

Tamiko Johnson

Public Health

Left needs to identify problems to correct them

To the Daily:

In Zac Peskowitz’s column Where the true internationalists stand (10/30/2002) he states, “Let’s briefly assume that I will never be able to understand what it is like to be a minority in this nation.” Peskowitz feels that he can relate and empathize with anyone and to any personal experience. What he fails to acknowledge is that understanding the viewpoint of another person is not merely an academic exercise. Experience, emotions, relationships: All of these factor in to the every day life of each individual, and is something that you cannot understand by mere rational means.

Peskowitz accuses the left of not wanting to live in a world where everyone is equal, everyone can relate, everyone can participate in a global community with no societal barriers or where certain groups don’t feel excluded from the mainstream culture. But in fact the left is fighting for all of these things, by the expansion of social programs and ideology value and enable each person in our society to more fully realize her/his individuality.

Peskowitz takes a very ridiculous position in simply dismissing this concern as a problem that unnecessarily divides society. He attacks liberals for recognizing problems in today’s society, but what he doesn’t realize is that you first have to recognize and explore problems before you can find the solution.

Catherine Morrissey

LSA freshman

Bush should be consistent in handling proliferation

To the Daily:

It is of greatest concern how President Bush is handling the North Korean refusal to disarm its nuclear program, as stated in the story North Korea has no plans to halt nuclear program. What concerns me, however, is not that they are trying to manufacture nuclear bombs, but how the ambiguity of President Bush is misleading the American people. Clearly, President Bush is for strict and immediate removal of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, even though we are yet to see concrete proof that such weapons exist. Just a few weeks ago North Korea admitted to the world that they possess such weapons capabilities and President Bush wants a peaceful negotiation? It is ridiculous how our foreign policy is skewed in such a way that a more heinous crime is being dealt with peacefully, yet an unproven one is being dealt with in full force.

The bias President Bush is having towards Iraq is uncalled for. Either he must adopt a strict policy for both countries or he must deal with both of them peacefully. It is up to the American public to voice our concern to him and show that the way in which he is representing our country is unacceptable.

Brandon Blum

LSA freshman

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