September 30, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 18  

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EDITORIAL & OPINIONS

Letters

Debate over Finkelstein speech

To the Editor:

Imagine a speaker coming to a university setting that has been outspoken on the issues of Sep. 11, a horrifying, but unfortunately, a very real and tragic event that took the lives of so many. Imagine this speaker was not only unsympathetic towards the victims and their families of 9/11 but also claimed the United States used 9/11 to further their plight and gain sympathy and political favour from others. Imagine he said the only reason the U.S is pursuing the perpetrators is to improve their economy and had nothing to do with the thousands of people that lost family and friends to the hands of terror.

Would this speaker be allowed on campus? I don't think so. But, for no good reason, the department of anthropology and political science are sponsoring Dr. Norman Finkelstein, author of the book "The Holocaust Industry." The thesis in his book is that Jews have exploited their experiences in the Holocaust to gain political leverage, steal reparation money from Swiss banks and wrongly justify the need for the existence of a Jewish state.

How can these two departments be so irresponsible? How could they let this anti-Semite spew his views on impressionable students? The lesson Jewish people spread is six million Jews were killed by the hands of Hitler. No one, let alone enough to fill a small country, should experience the terrors the Jewish people have. Jewish people won't let the memories of the Holocaust rest because Jews won't let it happen again. To use the legacy of the dead in vain is un-Jewish.

Dr. Finkelstein may be a doctor, but he is no Jew. I hope this message can outweigh Finkelstein's; we should all try to prevent tragedies.

Brian Gray
Psychology II

 

To the Editor:

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights UWO organized an event to increase support for Palestinian human rights at Western. Norman Finkelstein, a prominent academic, addressed the underlying causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as a corollary, the humanity of the Palestinians.

Finkelstein, while a Palestinian sympathizer, is not as accused, a "self-hating Jew." He stands up to those who think debunking myths about Israel is itself contemptuous toward Israelis. He proves acknowledging Palestinian equality and not equating us with terrorists does not mean you are anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli.

A recurring comment was that his "simplistic narrative" allocated blame exclusively upon the Israeli state. Reducing the conflict to the recent emergence of suicide bombers ignores that Israel has continued to uphold an exclusive "secular Jewish" (according to Daniel Pipes) ideology. Finkelstein highlighted the transfer and expulsion of Palestinians and their denial of basic rights as the main point of conflict.

This outdated process of colonialism occurs with the United States vetoing and Canada abstaining from UN Security Council and General Assembly Resolutions. Twenty-thousand+ Israelis and multiple more Palestinians killed and millions displaced - do we Palestinians not matter as well?

At the lecture, a paternalistic flyer was circulated positing that Palestinians need Israelis, because we are inept at ruling ourselves. Later on, a Jewish student turned and screamed at me, without provocation, "You f$%ing pig." To that student, it's your right to express yourself, but seeing Palestinians or anyone else as racially inferior is an unhealthy attitude for all. The world is a much sweeter place without that kind of hate.

Overall the event was a success and we sincerely thank ALL who attended.

Randa B. Mouammar
SPHR Campaigns Director
Faculty of Law, LL.B. II

Sororities have to beat the Rush

Re: "Sister Act 3: the Rush," Sep. 26, 2003

To the Editor:

It's great to see a fresh look at sorority life at Western. People will watch movies like Legally Blonde and make incorrect assumptions about sororities. I found that Rush began as a fun experience that bolstered my dragging confidence. I believe, however, an important thing Ms. Somayajula left out of her article was that although the intention of Rush is for a rushee to "drop" a house at the end of a session day, the sororities can also "drop" the rushee.

This is sometimes done in a very impersonal way, by listing for the rushee the houses they are "invited back to." The reasons for dropping a rushee are not given, leaving her to analyze and re-analyze what she could have done wrong to make the sisters of the house want to drop her.

This snag must be fixed, if only for the sanity of the rushee and for the house to avoid being seen as following a stereotype. At the end of Rush, a house can then decide to "make a bid" or not. If you don't want someone in your house, don't make a bid, but at least let the rushee keep her dignity by not making her stand out during the Rush process. If this were changed, Rush would be described as one the best opportunities for a feeling of belonging.

Vanessa White
Anthropology III

 

 

 

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