Letters to the Editor: Propaganda Disguised As Discussion



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I attended Tuesday's academic dicsussion: "The Conflict in the Middle East: the Question of Palestine and Israel," given by history Professor Beshara Doumani, School of Journalism Lecturer Lamis Andoni and Hatem Bazian. The "discussion," however, was no more than an outlet for the speakers to propagate their own biased views. Questions representing opposing positions were shot down, and anybody who questioned the speakers' version of the facts was called "racist."

All three speakers condemned Arafat and the peace process as a scheme to keep the Palestinian people in oppression and implied that violence is a legitimate solution. In fact, Andoni had the audacity to state that it is not only acceptable, but desirable and necessary, to use any means necessary to achieve a Palestinian state. This is the ideology of the terrorist group Hammas, which periodically commits suicide bombings under the pretext of liberation from occupation. When asked whether violence was called for in the Koran, Bazian shirked the quesiton and responded, "Go read the Koran yourself and tell me."

I was sickened and dissapointed to hear these primitive views presented under the name of "academic discussion," especially at a time in which we wish for an end to violence and a start of peace more than ever.

Michal Landau

UC Berkeley student

ASUC Executive Deserves Respect

The reason ASUC Executive Vice President Alex Ding did not have the ASUC Senate vote on his $6000-funding bill is because he consulted with several of the senators before it came to a vote. They asked him that rather than have the senate allocate him a huge chunk of money without specifics on where it would be spent, that he come before the senate each time he needed funds for a specified activity. Then, knowing the exact use of the money, the senate would be better able to determine its necessity.

I was not one of the senators he was talking to, but I don't consider this a "smoke-filled room" type of occurence. I was standing nearby and I really do feel that this is a smarter way to go. The senate has more control over where any funds that we choose to allocate would go and Ding is not necessarily going to get shut out from funds, which may have happened with his $6000 request.

As for how I personally feel, I think $6000, or five percent of the senate contingency funds, is way too much.

Catherine Ahn

UC Berkeley student

Counter Opinion Is Ridden With Falsehoods

The article by Lee Kaplan, "Palestinian Peace: True Apartheid" (Oct. 17), which claimed to counter misinformation concerning the Middle East, contains glaring falsehoods. The claim that Arab citizens of Israel "enjoy full civil and religious rights" is nothing short of an outrageous lie. During the last three weeks, 13 Israeli Arabs have been shot dead, and many wounded, by the Israeli army and police, though not a single Israeli Arab had used firearms. Others have been attacked by Israeli mobs, with assistance from the police. And this is not an anomaly. Since Israel's independence in 1948, the rights of Isreali Arabs have been widely violated, their lands confiscated, their water diverted. Over 90 percent of Israel's land is reserved for the Jewish community.

And why did most of the Arabs who were living in pre-independent Israel become refugees? Because they were driven out by armed force. I grew up in Tel Aviv, near the old Arab city of Yaffo, which in the late 50s was still looking like a battlefield. During the conflict, Arab dwellings were blown up with the goal of driving them out, and flee in panic they did. Moshe Dayan , at one time the head of Israel's armed forces, admitted in an April 1969 speech that every Jewish settlement in Israel had been built on top of a former Arab village or town.

In 1967, land confiscations, water diversions, and armed repression, either by the army, police or para-militaries, were extended to the West Bank and Gaza District, which have been occupied illegaly to this day. The only other society which resembles current Israel is indeed apartheid in South Africa. I predict however that more and more Israelis and Jews of various nations will soon break through the walls of unquestioning support extended to the policies of Israel's government and its benefactor, the U.S. government.

Jeffrey Strahl

UC Berkeley employee

Telegraph Avenue Time Warp

This morning I read about the small melee that took place on Telegraph Avenue on Oct. 14 and which I was almost an eye witness to ("Looters Flood Telegraph Avenue," Oct. 16).

It is disappointing to see that a student would say that the riot "was pretty much the best thing (he's) ever seen on Telegraph." Having been a UC Berkeley student from 1990 to 1995, I witnessed first hand the riots that took place on Telegraph Avenue in the early 90s. In addition to the notable People's Park riot (actually it was several days of rioting), there was also the very violent Rodney King verdict riot among others.

Telegraph Avenue has come a long way in the past decade and is a definitely much nicer place today than it was ten years ago. As a student during that time, one thing that was particularly upsetting was the false characterization of the rioters as UC Berkeley students. For the most part, the rioters were, both in the 90s and this weekend, not UC Berkeley students. As far as I know the Kappa Alpha Psi party was planned well in advance of the outcome of this weekend's football game. And even though I am sure most student attendees at the event were also pleased to be able to celebrate a football victory, I think it is a mistake to say that the overflowing crowds came to "[celebrate] Saturday's UC Berkeley football victory." Sadly, among the accurate and objective reporting, Will Evans and Rong-Gong Lin, II slander the character of Cal football fans by linking together two incidents that were unrelated except for the fact that they took place within hours of one another.

Chris Shobar

UC Berkeley alumnus

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