UJS Sponsors Speakers to Educate Students

In response to last week’s Anti-Zionism Week, the Union of Jewish Students is sponsoring this week “”A Positive and Pragmatic Approach to Peace in the Middle East,”” featuring speakers and a booth on Library Walk Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

UJS President Wade Strauss said the purpose of the week was to educate students more fully on what is going on in the region.

“”The purpose is to add something to the current issues facing Israel, to present some tangible proof and evidence of what is going on there,”” he said.

Muslim Student Association President Eahab Ibrahim said that while he believes the UJS should have its voice heard, he objects to the fact that Wednesday night’s speakers referred to Anti-Zionism Week as Anti-Semitic.

“”Definitely they should make their views heard,”” he said. “”I have no problem with that. But the tagging of our group as Anti-Semitic was a direct blow to us that’s not substantiated by any actions that we’ve done.””

Dr. Richard Katz, a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s national board of directors, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center, spoke Wednesday night at the Institute of the Americas Auditorium.

Katz spoke about the current situation in Israel, giving a recent history of the peace process in the Middle East. He said he wanted to bring a sense of hopeful optimism to the situation.

“”There is no panic in Israel,”” he said. “”There is no sense of fear. The streets are safe. It’s much worse from a distance than when you’re there.””

He added that Israel is choosing a peaceful political route in the Middle East.

“”Israel, if it wanted to, could prevail over the PLO,”” he said. “”But they won’t because it’s not the Jewish way, it’s not the Israeli way, it’s not the way that country chooses to operate.””

Cooper then spoke on the use of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic rhetoric by the Palestinian authority in its schools and media.

“”One of the biggest problems has been the failure of Israel to take a look and keep tabs on what Palestinian children are being taught,”” he said.

Cooper ended his speech with a video presentation featuring several Anti-Semitic Web sites that have been indexed by the Wiesenthal Center.

He said one reason for showing the sites to the crowd was to inspire them with the “”creativity and commitment of the other side.””

Thursday’s speaker will be Deanna Armbruster, executive director of American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. Armbruster will speak and answer questions about Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, a village in Israel established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship and engaged in educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples. Thursday’s program will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Center Hall, room 101.

Friday’s speaker, Sanford Lakoff, the founding chair of UCSD’s department of political science, will speak after Shabbat services and dinner about the history of Zionism and Israel, as well as the broader political situation in the Middle East. Friday’s program will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the International Center.

Strauss said this week’s programs have focused and will focus on a “”future paved with peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect.””

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