Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998



Celebrating 50 years

Re: Israel's 50th anniversary

To the Editor:
Many Jews are celebrating their heritage and their relatively new country. This is not a letter to argue the right for Israel to exist, for this is neither the time nor place. Nor is this a letter in protest of Israel Day in the UCC atrium – everyone has the right to freely express themselves. I'm writing specifically about how the day was advertised on campus: "Israeli defence forces performed a daring rescue operation to free a planeload of hostages in Uganda," for more info go to the UCC atrium.

I wholeheartedly agree a people should celebrate their culture, history and heritage, but not by commending the actions of military forces. I believe it is in poor taste that the Jewish student community chose to advertise the Israeli army efforts, regardless of where the actions were, in a time of war. This is the same army who has been known and admits to torturing Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners, ignoring the Geneva Convention. It was misleading to call Israel's army a "defence force" because it is also an aggressor. Hundreds of Lebanese civilians were killed by Israeli forces' occupation of Beirut. In fact, the soldiers themselves recognized this and in 1986, 2,500 reserve soldiers signed a petition, called Yesh Gvul, asking their government not to serve in Lebanon because they believed that fighting in Lebanon was undemocratic and a "disregard for human life." (my source is Intifada edited by Z.Lockman & J. Benin p.235)

In what way is it a celebration of one's culture by glorifying an army that occupies south Lebanon in clear defiance against UN resolutions? In fact, I could go on forever about atrocities by both Israeli and Arab forces, but the point is: Israel is in a state of war. It is insulting to the thousands of Arabs that have died fighting for a homeland to commemorate Israeli forces when celebrating Israel Day in Canada.

Michael Fakhri
Biology III

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Copyright The Gazette 1998