Thursday, February 27, 2014

Addressing Both Sides of the Israeli - Palestinian Issue

Today's NY Times (Feb 27) includes a story describing the rescinding of an invitation to Professor Rashid Khalidi to address the student Ramaz Political Society, a group of Ramaz high school students.  The head of the Jewish modern orthodox school, Paul Shaviv, felt that "any dialogue between the professor and students would be imbalanced."  "'It would be a bit like inviting the head of our high school tennis team to play an exhibition match with Andre Agassi.'"  He apparently considered Ramaz high school students not astute enough to enter into dialogue with this renowned and respected pro-Palestinian speaker.

This follows efforts of other Jewish organizations dedicated to Zionism to inhibit or interfere with local chapters of such groups engaging speakers that propose a different view of the Middle East problem, especially speakers, most often Jewish, who support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanction).  Such actions are and will continue to be counter-productive.

Attempts to suppress the views of opposing factions in a debate can only reflect poorly on those involved in the censorship.  In fact, pro-Israel organizations should encourage invitations to dissenters to address them.  There should be no fear of hearing the words and opinions of those on the other side - they should be welcomed and openly debated.

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