The debate over the appropriateness of the UC Irvine Muslim Student Union's "Israel: The Politics of Genocide" event we told you about Friday (and which continues through May 21) has spilled into the page of the student newspaper New University.
Specifically, it turns up in the opinion section, where the "pro" side of the event is presented by Nida Chowdhry, a fourth year English major who heads public relations for MSU and writes:
Through dynamic talks and interactive installations, we hope to pave a path to engage the student body and faculty in exploring the potential for change. By empowering students with more knowledge, independent of western media bias and bigoted perceptions, we hope to encourage active involvement in promoting a just solution in the region.
The state of Israel is based on Zionism, a political movement that has called for the establishment of a Jewish state and has thereby necessitated the occupation of Palestine. Instead of turning the region into a safe haven for the Jewish people, it has left thousands of innocent men, women and children dead; it has shattered the livelihood of millions of people facing the scourge of the longest, most brutal occupation in modern history. Above all, this is a humanitarian issue and humanity goes beyond political, religious and racial boundaries.
And later still:
Furthermore, we invite you to question what you hear, do your own research and formulate an opinion on the issue. The real issue about the crisis of Palestine should not get lost in campus politics. We owe it to the people suffering in that region to educate ourselves; especially since our own government helps support many of the policies in Palestine.
The "con" side is presented by third-year English major Aaron Elias:
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A noticeable trait in MSU presentations is that they never present what they believe in; only what they oppose. Who do they support? "The Palestinians" is not a legitimate answer, as they are powerless to affect the struggle between Hamas and Israel. And the MSU certainly doesn't support Israel. This only leaves Hamas, a group of militants that should be condemned for its willingness to hurt the Palestinians in order to hurt Israel.
If this really were "Palestine Awareness" week, then the focus should center solely on raising money and support for the Palestinians to help build schools and hospitals, instead of damning and blaming Israel every year.
The sad truth is that Fatah and Hamas have killed more Palestinians through infighting than Israel. The Palestinians deserve a chance at economic prosperity and the opportunity to develop their society and flourish in the desert, just like Israel. Unfortunately, this will never happen as long as Hamas has an iron grip over the Palestinian people.
If only in real life the debate could be confined to printed pages.