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October 05, 2006 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-10-05

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18

October 5 a 2006

Metro

Difficult Dialogues

ADL, ADC leaders model how
to discuss differences.

Don Cohen
Special to the Jewish News

A

s local leaders, we have the

Israeli actions to those of Nazis "ludi-
crous, hateful and painful."
Hamad spoke of his support for
continued dialogue and "free debate,"
a two-state, Israeli-Palestinian solu-
tion, and his belief that "there is no
solution to this conflict except the
peaceful one."
He spoke of distress in his com-
munity over war, physical and verbal

responsibility to set the
tone for our constituents:'
Betsy Kellman, Michigan director for
the Anti-Defamation League (ADL),
told 100 students and community
members gathered to hear her and
Imad Hamad,
Michigan
director of the
American-
Arab Anti-
Discrimination
Committee
(ADC). The
attacks and concerns that "free-
Sept. 26 event was part of the
dom of expression and assembly
"Difficult Dialogues" project, an
have become conditional." He said
ongoing series at the University of
"expressing the truth" was permitted
Michigan-Dearborn.
even if it was "politically incorrect."
It is no accident the names of the
Veering into politics, he asserted
two groups are similar: ADC has
that Israel had "almost destroyed
clearly modeled its focus and struc-
the whole country"
ture on ADL. It is also no
of Lebanon, and that
surprise the groups have
everyone must under-
very different views of the
stand that the root of
parties and politics of the
the problem was the
Middle East and U.S. policy
occupation."
toward them.
UMD Professor of
But this was no debate.
Political
Science Ron
The speakers were asked not
Stockton spoke of how
to engage in politics, but to
he has kept order and
speak about how to discuss
honesty in his Arab-
the conflict and differences
Israeli conflict course
they weren't discussing. The
Betsy Kellman
over
the past 30 years.
mutual respect, even voices
Elias Baumgarten,
and polite camaraderie they
assistant professor of
showed modeled the desired
philosophy,
identified
behavior.
obstacles to honest
Kellman spoke of the
dialogue and under-
importance of listening to
standing, suggesting
be able to understand the
the development of
worldview that undergirds
a shared history by
particular beliefs. While
parties to the conflict
noting past cooperation
would help.
between the Arab and Jewish
Both professors iden-
communities, she drew a
Imad H amad
tified the comparison of
clear distinction between
Israel to Nazi Germany
how they expressed them-
as a problem, with Stockton call-
selves during the conflict.
ing it "inaccurate and hateful:' and
"There is a certain anger and
Baumgarten saying it's "historically
hostility" coming from important
wrong and tactically wrong."
segments of the Arab community,
Kathryn Anderson-Levitt, UMD
Kellman said. "Some of the anti-
dean of the College of Arts, Sciences
Semitism I feel is palpable."
She called the Arab comparisons of and Letters, moderated the event. 71

The speakers' mutual respect,
even voices and polite camaraderie
modeled the desired behavior.

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