Volume 91, Issue 66

Tuesday, January 27, 1998



No place on campus

Re: Celebration of Israel disrupted, Jan.20

To the Editor:
The freedoms of speech and expression are the basis on which a democracy stands. These inalienable rights are afforded to every human being within the boundaries of respect and appropriate conduct. Hate literature falls beyond these prescribed limitations. Distributing quotes, deliberately taken out of context, can only be an act intended to spread hate. Moreover, the protester of Israel Day, who shamefully covered his face, degraded Israel, Jews and even the Holocaust. Hiding behind a veil in such a cowardly manner is vividly reminiscent of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

There is a time and a place for legitimate protest and political debate, especially on a university campus. Throughout the course of the school year, both Jewish and Arab groups sponsor political events that welcome the expression of conflicting opinions and even heated disagreements. This sort of dialogue is encouraged as a necessary component of coexistence, but should be confined to the political arena so it does not disrupt cultural celebrations. Israel Day gives Jewish students the opportunity to display pride in this single Jewish state and to educate the Western community as to Israel's culture, accomplishments and humanitarian aid missions. Documented facts were included in the Israel Day poster to publicize the positive undertakings of the Israeli Defense Forces. Apparently, this offended the sensitivities of certain Arab and Moslem students who have the close-minded belief that Israel engages in only aggressive acts. Understandably, the shattering of this stereotype may come as a shock to such students.

Although there may be students who deplore the treatment of minorities in Moslem countries, it would be equally as inappropriate to protest Islam Awareness Week since it is a display of the positive aspects of Islam. At no time during Israel Day, did politics play a part in the festivities. Furthermore, the protest which included horrific images of machine guns superimposed on an Israeli flag and an individual clothed in a blood-stained garment traumatised the school children who took part in this USC- sponsored event and therefore has no place on this campus.

Michael Bloom
Biology III
Mark Zelunka
Economics III

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998