Campus Dialogue Could Prevent Misunderstanding

Dear Editor,

It’s amazing how people can see one event so differently.

Myra Meskin, a member of Tritons for Israel, submitted a letter to the Guardian on May 17 about how a member of the Muslim Student Association “stood up in a public forum and announced her support for Hamas and Hezbollah” at an event on May 10th.

It’s so sad to see such a misrepresentation of what happened that night, even leaving out the actual context of the event. Tritons for Israel (who initially supported the event, then later pulled out), Young Americans for Freedom and the College Republicans invited the right-wing pundit David Horowitz to speak on campus in support of Israel during Justice in Palestine Week.

During his speech, Horowitz labeled it “Hitler Youth Week” and falsely accused the MSA of being a terrorist arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. The student who asked the question to Horowitz never said that she supported either Hamas or Hezbollah, but rather simply asked Horowitz to clarify his claim about the MSA.

In response, Horowitz went on to call members of the MSA at universities throughout the country “terrorists,” and disgustingly called the woman a “terrorist” for wearing a keffiyeh (scarf) around her neck. He then cut her off and asked her to leave, and the mainly white, middle-aged audience booed her. Some yelled, “We don’t want you here.” Meskin talked about racism in her letter to the editor, and that is indeed what I saw that night against this woman on our campus, as a representative from the university administration just stood by.

While attending the event, I was extremely upset by what happened, and it is only more angering to see someone misrepresent the situation. Racism does exist in the form of anti-Semitism — I have experienced it — but it also exists because of individuals like David Horowitz, who seize upon fear and stereotypes of others to attack them.

What is needed on this campus more than anything else is dialogue — so that individuals can listen to one another, find out where they are coming from and open their minds as a result — rather than spreading messages of hate.

—Nathan Ellstrand

Graduate student,

Latin-American studies

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