Israel’s Sharon is no better than Hamas

To the Daily:

Jonathan Goldberg’s praise for President Bush’s
Middle East policy (Jewish voters are not ignorant, will vote to
support Israel in 2004, 03/19/04)
is unwarranted and
disrespectful to those on campus who support peace in the Middle
East. Bush’s hard-line and immoral backing of Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon is not beneficial to the peace process. For a
just Middle East peace, the United States needs to have a fair and
evenhanded policy and end its unquestionable support of Ariel
Sharon — Sharon being the same man who in the 1980s lost his
position as Israeli Defense Minister after an Israeli government
commission found him indirectly responsible for the horrifying
massacres of the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Beirut.

Not only is Sharon not a “man of peace,” as Bush
curiously pegged him, but another four years of the combination of
Bush and Sharon will usher in another four years of violence and
insecurity in the Middle East.

As far as I am concerned, Sharon and his Likud Party are in the
same boat as Palestinian groups such as Hamas. They are both
extreme right-wing groups, bent upon destroying any attempt for a
just peace, and both parties should be marginalized by Palestinians
and Israelis who truly care for peace. Morally speaking, one cannot
criticize Hamas’s disgusting attacks on Israeli civilians and
condone Israel’s equally disgusting attacks on Palestinian
civilians. Any attempt to criticize one and simultaneously condone
the other, regardless of which side one supports, is morally
bankrupt and possibly racist. The Israel Defense Force’s use
of modern military technology does not give it an exemption from
criticism for killing civilians. Whether Israel kills a civilian on
purpose or whether the civilian is collateral damage is not of
importance. Blame will be warranted toward Israel’s military for
its very presence in the illegally occupied Palestinian
territories. Regardless of the reason an IDF soldier shoots a
Palestinian civilian, if the soldier had not been on Palestinian
territory to begin with, the civilian would not have been
killed.

I am delighted to see Goldberg rejoices in that Israel’s
creation ensures that there will never be another Jewish refugee
because it seems that we both share strong commitments to bringing
justice to refugees. I would hope that Goldberg shares the same
exuberance in the creation of a state where the Palestinian
refugees can finally return home after 56 long years. As campus
activists, I hope that the refugee issue is something we can come
to terms with and come to agreement on. Goldberg’s
historically incorrect rendition of the Arab-Israeli wars needs to
be reexamined, because blaming one side completely for causing
every war borders on the line of absurdity. The 1967 War is a clear
example of a war that was not initiated by an Arab invasion; it is
undeniable that the Israelis were the first to invade in this war.
Regardless, these issues can be resolved by campus activists
through dialogue, which can hopefully defeat the use of
unsophisticated rhetoric in campus discourse.

Mohammed Elghoul

LSA junior

Vice Chair, Students Allied

for Freedom and Equality

 

LSA-SG initiative fails to gain student
support

To the Daily:

The student body of the College of Literature, Science and Arts
should be commended for its decisive show of opposition to the
recent election-reform proposal aimed at internally selecting the
LSA-SG president and vice president (‘S1’ clinches
MSA race in landslide, 03/22/04)
. The overwhelming vote against
this amendment shows not only does the student body wish to
maintain direct control over its student government leadership, but
also that students are not nearly as apathetic as many members of
government may have believed. The results of the vote also
demonstrate the problems with the proposal. When a proposal can
pass almost unanimously (17 to 3) in student government and not
even garner 33 percent of the student body’s support in a
general referendum vote, it becomes plainly obvious that LSA-SG
cannot claim to have the ability to internally select leadership
that is representative of the interests of 13,000 students. We must
recognize that the intent behind the referendum was a noble and
proper one, aimed at improving the functioning and effectiveness of
LSA-SG. It is my hope that the members of government will now be
able to move ahead and act on this intent in a manner that does not
disenfranchise those we seek to serve.

Andrew Yahkind

LSA freshman

LSA-SG representative

 

Our Voices Count clarifies position

To the Daily:

I am writing to thank you for your coverage of the student
protest at last Thursday’s University Board of Regents’
meeting (Students protest service cuts at Regents meeting,
03/19/04)
, but I am offering a few minor corrections to the
article.

First, the Daily referred to Our Voices Count as the student
group “formally opposed to all the proposed cuts.”
While it is true that OVC has joined in coalition with all other
groups opposed to student-affairs cuts, OVC is a group that was
formed to oppose the cuts in survivor services at Sexual Assualt
Prevention and Awareness Center.

We are working in coalition with other groups experiencing cuts
in services and programs, but we do not want to take credit as the
group representing the coalition of student groups.

Secondly, I wanted to make sure that readers were clear that the
groups joining together in solidarity are not only making
complaints about budget cuts. While some of the destruction of safe
spaces on campus is due to poor budgetary choices by the
University, other problems on campus are not at all due to lack of
funds. For instance, the University’s dismantling of sexual
assault survivor services at SAPAC is not due to budget cuts at
all, but instead due to a misguided “reorganization”
plan.

The final idea I want to clarify is why all of these different
groups and communities on campus are uniting together. The
University worked to assure that affirmative action would remain
and has said it is committed to diversity on campus. Yet it seems
that the groups on campus that face program and budget cuts are
always the same: women, students of color, and the LGBT
community.

If the University is truly committed to diversity, then programs
and safe spaces that serve these students must be preserved.

Jennifer Anderson

Graduate student, School of Social Work

Member, Our Voices Count

 

New housing director should ‘actively pursue’
projects at ‘U’

To the Daily:

I am pleased to hear that the University’s new housing
director, Carole Henry, is interested in constructing more units of
housing (New Housing director appointed, 03/18/04). As
reported in a previous Daily article (‘U’ housing
candidate may consider adding suites, bed, 01/27/04)
, she also
pledged to build more family and suite-styled housing that will
attract students who do not want to live in dormitory-styled
rooms.

I urge Henry to aggressively pursue this plan of increased
capacity and housing options. Demand for student housing close to
campus is high, making students susceptible to Ann Arbor landlords
who can get away with charging unaffordable rents. Not
surprisingly, Ann Arbor affordability ranked 140 out of 187 U.S.
cities in 2001. The University should take more responsibility for
this demand as a duty to both students and the larger Ann Arbor
community. As just one of many students concerned about the current
housing situation, I welcome Henry to Ann Arbor and anticipate her
receptive interactions with the student body and the city to create
much-needed change.

Carolyn Hwang

LSA Junior

Chair, Students for PIRGIM

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