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February 23, 2006 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-02-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Letters

Fighting Campus Hate

On behalf of the Israel IDEA, a
grassroots pro-Israel student
advocacy group at the University
of Michigan, I would like to
thank Editor Robert Sklar for
drawing the community's atten-
tion to the anti-Israel climate at
many colleges and for highlight-
ing the alarming research on this
subject presented by the
StandWithUs Michigan chapter
(Editor's Letter, "Overcoming
Campus Hate," Feb. 9, page 5).
Our group's name is an
acronym for our mission: The
Israel Initiative for Dialogue,
Education and Advocacy. The
Israel IDEA strives to combat
anti-Israel rhetoric propagated
by professors and students on
the U-M campus. Since our
inception less than five months
ago, we have held two successful
events and developed a strong
student following.
I also want to thank
StandWithUs-Michigan for pro-
viding us with the opportunity to
host an Israel advocacy-educa-
tion session with Canadian
Professor Lawrence Muscant of
the David Project. It is especially
important to note that the
majority of the students we drew
in were what we like to call "mid-
dle ground" students: young
Jewish students who are some-
what pro-Israel in nature, but
generally uninformed and
unprepared to advocate actively
for Israel.
Professor Muscant addressed
the common accusations of
human rights violations brought
against Israel and stressed that
human rights often become an
issue because Israel is unfairly
scrutinized and held to utopian
standards.
The second part of the work-

Jewish.com

American Jewish social service
agencies brace for cuts as budg-
et battle begins.

Read about it on Jewish.com .

6

February 23 • 2006

shop zoomed in on what we as
college activists can do to ensure
that Israel is represented fairly
on this campus.
It is very important to keep in
mind Professor Muscant's inspir-
ing message: "If you can change
one person, one person can
change a campus, and one cam-
pus can change the world."
While the University of
Michigan does indeed have a
thriving Jewish community, there
is more than ever a need for stu-
dent-led Israel advocacy on this
campus. The Israel IDEA is com-
mitted to responding to an ever-
growing counter-current of anti-
Israel professors, divestment
movements and other anti-Israel
sentiment on this campus.
We are thankful and fortunate
to have the guidance and fund-
ing of SWU-Michigan. Together,
we can and will make a differ-
ence on the campus of the
University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor.

David Kurzmann

U-M sophomore

Ann Arbor

Concluding Gem

Regarding Robert Sklar's Editor's
Letter "Overcoming Campus
Hate (Feb. 9, page 5) and the
conclusion: "Israel needs Jewish
as well as non-Jewish defenders.
Jews can't go it alone." This final
comment shows more insight
toward this issue than from any
journalist I have encountered —
locally, nationally and interna-
tionally.
Thanks for capturing the
essence in one eloquent conclu-
sion.

Michael Wissot

professor, Pepperdine University

Los Angeles

dotCOM SURVEY

Go, Oprah!

that happened only a few
decades ago. Now, I am going to
sit with a bag of microwave pop-
corn and become transported by
the words of his memorable
masterpiece.

When I was at Costco, I pur-
chased the book Night by Elie
Wiesel. Costco wouldn't have car-
ried the book without Oprah
Arnie Goldman
publicizing it in her book club.
Farmington
Hills
I hadn't read Night since col-
lege 30 years ago. Was it "bad" to
buy a book recommended by the
Fearing Iran
same person who once recom-
Iran must be stopped diplomati-
mended James Frey's fraudulent
cally or by force, better sooner
A Million Little Pieces?
than later. For while the world
I vehemently disagree with
and the U.N. are dillydallying,
Berl Falbaum's Community
Iran is hastily developing nuclear
Perspective ("Elie/Oprah: Bad
capabilities with the purpose
Pairing," Feb. 2, page 38). He
only to develop atomic bombs.
wonders why Wiesel could want
Iran is one of the great oil-pro-
anything to do with Oprah. How
ducing countries of the world
about bringing his great book
with oil practically flowing in the
about the Holocaust to millions
streets for available fuel for elec-
of readers?
tricity and heat. There is no
Mr. Faulbaum says that
excuse for seeking nuclear power
Oprah's "exploitation of human
except for one purpose: to
weaknesses in front of television
endanger the world. If Iran is not
cameras is appalling:' Is he con-
stopped now, the world will find
fusing her with Jenny Jones or
suicide bombers running around
Jerry Springer? He compares
in major world cities, not with
Oprah's audience to those who
watch Schindler's List"as they eat dynamite but with atom bombs
their popcorn while watching the killing millions at one shot.
It will mean the end of civiliza-
gassing of Jews."
tion as we know it with lawless-
Would it be better to find my
ness and anarchy ruling the world.
old disheveled copy of Night
Irving Handelman
down the basement and fast in
Oak Park
solitude while I read it? I don't
care what people eat while they
read Night, and I hope thousands
Cartoons'• Aftermath
talk to one another about it after
Worldwide condemnation of the
they've read it.
defamation of Prophet
I am thankful that the woman
Muhammad, not only by
who encouraged more people to
Muslims, but also many others,
read more than J.K. Rowling is
giving her blessing to Night. I can including Pope Benedict XVI, is
deeply appreciated by Muslims.
only hope that a few of her read-
By depicting Prophet
ers realize the ignorance of
Muhammad as a terrorist with a
[actor] Mel Gibson's father or
bomb, the Danish cartoonists
Iran's mad president [regarding
offended 1.3 billion believers for
the Holocaust].
whom the Prophet is "a mercy to
I hope after they read Wiesel,
humanity" The extensive media
they will never forget the agony

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coverage of some Muslim reac-
tions to printing of these car-
toons has given rise to an inter-
national debate on such issues as
freedom of expression, decency
and tolerance.
These events have led to yet
another debate — within the
Muslim American community.
What would Prophet
Muhammad do today if faced
with personal character assassi-
nation? The consensus is that
Muhammad, may God's peace
and blessings upon him, would
not have engaged in nor encour-
aged the violent protests we have
seen on the streets in Syria,
Lebanon and Afghanistan; there
is no parallel in the tradition of
the holy Prophet of promoting
irrational behavior and he would
have condemned such violence.
Muslim Americans also agree
— it would be wrong if Iranian
newspapers decide to organize a
cartoon contest on the
Holocaust, inviting hateful anti-
Semitic caricatures in response
to publication of these European
newspaper cartoons. Prophet
Muhammad did not call for
revenge and desecration of sym-
bols of national, religious or sen-
timental importance to any peo-
ple in his teachings. On the con-
trary, the holy Koran, Islam's
revealed text, states: "Goodness
and evil cannot be equal. Repel
(evil) with something that is bet-
ter. Then you will see that he
with whom you had enmity will
become your close friend. And
no one will be granted such
goodness except those who exer-
cise patience and self-restraint."
(41:34-35)

Victor Ghalib Begg

chair

Council of Islamic Organizations of

Michigan, Bloomfield Hills

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