LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fostering open dialogue.

Letters to the Editor/Opinion by

Re: “Why Gaza Remembrance Week misses the point” by Adam Winer (26.1.10)

Although Adam Winer’s commentary concludes on a somewhat optimistic note – calling on us to have open dialogue and broaden our knowledge about the Arab-Israeli conflict – the manner in which he wrote his op-ed makes clear that he has yet to follow this important piece of advice. In the beginning of his piece, Adam Winer makes the claim that the whole purpose of Gaza Remembrance Week is to “stifle dialogue and promote a simple analysis of a nuanced conflict.” This is simply absurd. There is no hidden agenda behind Gaza Remembrance Week. The sole purpose of this event is to commemorate the atrocities that took place in Gaza a year ago, nothing more. Claiming otherwise is a cheap attempt to overlook the thousands of lives that were lost as a result of this war. This outlandish claim made by Adam Winer comes as no surprise to me. It is all too typical to hear shouts of outrage whenever there is an event or symposium that displays how Israel, like any other state, is capable of perpetrating violence against civilians.

What I take most offense to, however, is Adam Winer’s claim that SPHR used the Goldstone Report “as a starting point from which to demonize Israel and undermine its legitimacy as a state.” Believe it or not, Adam, this is not what SPHR is attempting to do. SPHR drew on this report because it is based on documented facts to highlight how war crimes were committed by both, yes by both sides during “Operation Cast Lead.” You simply cannot expect a report to place equal emphasis on Israel and Hamas when the Palestinian death toll greatly outnumbers the Israeli death toll (this, after all, would be biased). Lastly, by stating that SPHR used the Goldstone Report to demonize and delegitimize Israel’s statehood, you are conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, and such a statement does nothing to foster open dialogue on campus.

– Sarah GhabrialPhD Middle Eastern History