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Davis

Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Letter to the editor: Campus dialogue

I have been on this campus for four years. Never have I been scared or hesitant to state my opinions, despite many of them being in the minority on campus. However, one of my personal views is a common one around town, yet you would not know it.

I support the state of Israel and so do most of my fellow peers, but many of them are scared to voice this opinion. One reason for this is because of activities that occur on campus like those taking place this week. Various groups demonize Israel to the point of accusing the state of committing genocide, amongst other absurd accusations including it being an apartheid state. In an apartheid state, do all citizens have the right to vote no matter what race, religion, gender or beliefs? Does everybody have equal access to public transportation, health care and education? I don’t think so, yet in Israel every citizen does have these rights.

With Israel being demonized so often on campus, many Israel supporters on campus are hesitant to show their opinion. Freedom of speech is a core right in the U.S., as well as in Israel, but students are scared to voice their opinion because they have seen other supporters get their freedom of speech revoked. A recent example of this is a couple of months ago when two Israelis came to campus to speak about their lives growing up in Israel. They consistently were interrupted and unable to finish their presentation. Is their freedom of speech being diminished to the point that they cannot even discuss their innocent childhoods?

I do not only advocate for Israel supporters to use their freedom of speech, but those who question and disagree with the state as well. Dialogue is important as it is in any issue. However, when one side does not allow the other to voice their opinion and may not even recognize their right to exist, what are you supposed to work with? The first step to resolve a conflict is to admit the other side exists. Once this step takes place I know that dialogue will become a lot easier. I support a dialogue and am willing to take part in it any chance I have. Last year, I attended an event in which I suggested an idea of having groups from both sides write and sign a document recognizing the other’s existence. This document would state that they would be willing to engage in dialogue and try to somehow reach agreements on at least some issues on our own campus. If we cannot agree on anything on our own campus, how are agreements going to be made on an international level?

My idea was turned down, but I still hope for future dialogue. Everyone has the right to criticize Israel because they have freedom of speech. Just make sure that you let the other side use their right of freedom of speech, as well. I hope in the future students are not scared to voice their opinions on any issue, especially those that are near and dear to their heart.

Alexander Wold
Senior, political science and economics

3 COMMENTS

  1. Alexander–Congratulations on the outstanding column. You are right the far left and Muslims and PC folks have marginalzed Israel and Jewish people in this country.

  2. There is no question that Arabs are afforded less benefits than their Jewish counterparts in Israel. In education, for example, state spending per Jewish student is far greater than per Arab student, as reported by Human Rights Watch and admitted by the Israeli government. The Israeli flag features a Jewish symbol which does not represent the diversity of those living with Israel. Israel is a self-described Jewish state, with no separation of church and state, so it’s unsurprising that Jews receive preferential treatment. The list goes on… So your assertion that every citizen of Israel has “equal access to health care, transportation, and education” is laughable and ignorant at best, misleading at worst.
    Otherwise, I agree that Israeli speakers at UC Davis should be able to talk without being incessantly interrupted by annoying people who think they are accomplishing something. People have the right to free speech and when you’re shouting over them you deprive them of that right. In a democracy, we don’t roll like that.
    Anyway, why are you “scared”? Unless you are being physically threatened for being pro-Israel, using that word is a little over-doing it. Are you “scared” of people arguing with you? That’s not scary to me, that’s called dialogue, and it gets heated sometimes.

  3. What a great editorial! Except for the part where you act like you are the marginalized group, since the majority of this country is pro-Israeli. Except for the part where you claim two Israelis came to talk about growing up in Israel, when actually they were soldiers from a far right group to talk in favor of the occupation. And except for the part where you claim all citizens in Israel have equal rights, conveniently forgetting the fact that many Palestinians are denied citizenship. Palestinians aren’t treated like second-class citizens in Israel – they’re not treated like citizens at all. I guess you forgot that there are walls separating Palestinians from Israelis, military checkpoints, roads Palestinians aren’t allowed to use, and even f’ed up marriage laws. Not to mention the fact that Palestinians and Israelis live under different laws in the same spaces, and that Palestinians receive harsher punishments. Whoops! I guess those facts aren’t too conducive to someone who wants to have a dialogue based on their view of Israel as all rainbows and unicorns.

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