In letter to the editor, Kiblawi misrepresented content of Prof. Litvak’s lecture on Israel

To the Daily:

The Jewish Law Students Association is proud to host scholars such as Prof. Meir Litvak, an internationally respected Israeli professor who spoke at the Law School on Monday about the struggle for peace in Israel. In a letter to the editor (Litvak’s lecture, suggestions deny Palestinian rights, 02/0503) Fadi Kiblawi discussed concerns that he had with Litvak’s talk. We would have been interested to discuss these concerns with him, but he was not present at the event.

Perhaps it was due to Kiblawi’s absence that he misunderstood the content of Litvak’s speech. Most of Litvak’s statements cited in the letter to the editor were in response to a question regarding solutions that have been proposed for peace. Litvak mentioned several proposals, including a physical separation between Israeli and Palestinian territories. He noted that, while this option was clearly undesirable, some Israelis had suggested it out of frustration with ongoing terrorism and the Palestinian refusal to pursue other avenues toward peace. Litvak concluded that, absent compromises from both sides, the only option would be to “continue the present situation,” with which neither Israelis nor Palestinians are satisfied, “and wait for a miracle.”

Jewish law students at the University are proud of our school’s diversity and our community’s interest in hearing ideas presented by speakers from all cultures, perspectives and backgrounds. Within the Law School, and within the University at large, we realize that it is only through an atmosphere of honest communication and mutual understanding that we can truly enjoy the intellectual and social advantages that are afforded by sharing our differences.

Debbie Atlas
Eric Bailey
Aaron Cutler
Dan Hadar
Jackie Remesnitsky
Manny Shachmurove
Robert Sherman

Executive Board
Jewish Law Students Association

Kiblawi’s comments on Litvak had no correlation with reality

To the Daily:

Fadi Kiblawi (Litvak’s lecture, suggestions deny Palestinian rights, 02/05/03) misrepresents Israeli politics in general and Prof. Meir Litvak’s speech in particular. As Litvak stated, most Israelis are “short-term hawks but long-term doves;” they have a deep desire for peace, but they refuse to negotiate with a society that condones terrorism. A unilateral Israeli “solution” involves withdrawal from the occupied territories and the construction of a dividing wall between these territories and Israel proper. However, Kiblawi’s so-called “Apartheid Wall” has nothing to do with apartheid. Indeed, the Israelis have no desire to rule the Palestinians. Therefore, if the Palestinians continue to reject reasonable compromises, then Israel has no choice but to unilaterally wash its hands of the entire affair.

There are four things that the Palestinian apologist must someday accept:

1) If the Palestinians want their claims of Israeli “apartheid” to be taken seriously, they must also confront the blatant repression that is endemic in Arabic society. In particular, how can they ignore the vicious gender apartheid of Saudi Arabia, where women cannot travel abroad without the permission of a male relative, or walk alone in their own neighborhoods without fear of beatings by the religious police?

2) If the Palestinians want their claims of Israeli “occupation” to be taken seriously, then they must also admit to the brutal occupation of Lebanon by Syria. Lebanon, whose capital was once considered “the Paris of the Middle East,” has been occupied by 35,000 Syrian soldiers since 1975. The Syrians have been ruthless in their suppression of anti-government dissidents.

3) If the Palestinians want their struggle to be legitimized in the eyes of Americans, they must adopt the strategy of non-violence. They must accept the techniques of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, and they must explicitly reject the terrorist tactics of Hamas, Hezbollah and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

4) The Palestinian “right of return” is a political fantasy and a practical impossibility whose only purpose is the demographic destruction of Israel. Palestinians get angry at Israeli settlements because they are built on Palestinian land. This is a fair complaint – the settlements must be ended. But pre-1967 Israel belongs to the Israelis, not to the Palestinians.

The Intifada has been difficult for Israel to bear, but it has been utterly catastrophic for the Palestinian people. Now is the time for the Palestinians to adopt a pragmatic, peaceful approach that they have consistently rejected in the past. If order is not imposed from within Palestinian society, then Israel will have to impose it from the outside.

James Mickens

Rackham

Daily should refrain from publishing advertisements containing ‘propaganda’

To the Daily:

I am writing to the Daily in regards to an advertisement published in yesterday’s Daily, by the “Committee for a Safe Israel.” My question to the Daily is, do you use discretion or even read the advertisements you publish? I am tired of opening the Daily and seeing a giant advertisement devoted to a super-Zionist organization that attempts to sway students opinions through typical Israeli propaganda. Yesterday’s particular advertisement accused the United Nations and specifically Secretary-General Kofi Annan of terrorism for asking Israel “to live side by side with a Palestinian Nation.” In addition the ad criticized the United States for allegedly funding Palestinian Liberation Organization “terrorist” activities and the “terrorist” United Nations’ refugee camps, have the Israelis forgotten that the United States allocates almost $5 billion to Israel each year and is their number one ally in the world? I think that the students at the University should be able to read the Daily knowing that the writers and staff of the Daily do not support pure propaganda and actually have some knowledge about what the Daily chooses to publish.

Mariam Muzaffar

LSA junior

Smith’s column did not provide a viable cure for the nation’s education system

To the Daily:

If Luke Smith (NASA, we have a problem, 02/06/03) actually believes that the country’s education problems would be solved by budget cuts to NASA, then he is far more ignorant than his article makes him seem. I choose not to even address his uninformed opinion of the legitimacy of manned space flight or astrophysicists’ Make-A-Wish Foundation as he would call it. I would rather like to point out that if he is honestly concerned about the government wasting his tax dollars, maybe he should actually look at the numbers from previous budgets. In 1999 of the actual discretionary spending of the government, slightly less than half ($262 billion) went to defense spending, no doubt to drop million dollar bombs on $20 tents. Education received $56 billion dollars, while not nearly as much as it needs, far more than the $18 billion spent on “General Science, Space and Technology,” a fund that doesn’t just benefit wasteful astrophysicists, but also wasteful scientists, engineers, doctors, and other people who basically spend their entire lives trying to improve the quality of his. So I ask him to please find a soap box on the Diag to spout his ignorant ideas and to leave needless propaganda out of the Daily.

Ankoor Bagchi

Engineering senior

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