In the Face of 60 Years of Terrorist Attacks and Propaganda, Israel Is Still Pushing for Peace

Gillian Dreher/Illustration

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Israeli Peace and Diversity Week is about peace and diversity in the Middle East and around the world. Israel, one of the world's most diverse countries and the only democracy in the Middle East, is a triumph of freedom and equality over racism and terror.

Israeli-Arabs enjoy equal rights. They serve in the Israeli Parliament and attend Israeli universities. Arabic is an official language. Israel recognizes 15 official religions. In the Middle East, only Israel has laws protecting women, gays and religious minorities.

Last week, Ishmael Khaldi, a Muslim Arab who serves in Israel's foreign ministry, visited Berkeley to speak with students. Khaldi spoke about why he is proud to be Israeli and how his fellow citizens, Jews and non-Jews, treat him equally and with respect.

On Wednesday, students gathered to join the UC Berkeley Men's Octet in singing "Salaam," an international song of peace. For 60 years Israel has sought peace with its neighbors, and for 60 years Israel has faced terrorist attacks, invasions and propaganda. Despite this, Israel still seeks peace.

Meanwhile, participants in the anti-Israel rally on Wednesday chanted: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!" A senior Hamas leader in Gaza recently echoed those sentiments: "All of Palestine, from the river to the sea, will be liberated." This is an infamous call for the complete and merciless destruction of Israel and its people. Terrorists groups like Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have made similar statements.

The organizers of Israeli Peace and Diversity week went above the inflammatory rhetoric and calls for violence. We're excited that so many Berkeley students joined us in celebrating Israel's diversity and desire for peace. But it's not just Berkeley students who are part of this important movement.

Barack Obama, who garnered the support of most students at UC Berkeley, recently expressed his "clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel (the) region's only established democracy."

And Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest advocates of freedom and peace, once said: "I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world an oasis of brotherhood."

Gabe Weiner is co-founder of Tikvah: Students for Israel. Reply to [email protected]

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