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March 10, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-10

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 10, 2003


U e £I~tti itIq


SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

He was the
sole candidate."
- Journalist Stephen Gibbs, on
the Cuban elections, in
which Fidel Castro was re-elected,
as reported by BBC News.

pus~n ur yqocici,
- o
Eng'le, s --


Fighting the hopeless fight

The words con-
fused me then,
frightened me
later, and today, I'm
sorry to say that I feel
numb to them and other
comments of their ilk.
They are the reason
that I believe the
prospects of peace in
the Middle East to be hopeless.
I was not yet 14 years old, spending the
summer of 1995 at the Israel Basketball
Academy, a right-wing Orthodox Jewish
camp in Israel that focused on basketball
instruction and touring the country. I
wasn't particularly interested in the poli-
tics of the trip - I was there to play bas-
ketball. I was the misfit. I wasn't like my
peers in terms of politics or religion. But
one night I wandered into a conversation
that some of my friends were having with
one of our counselors, a fundamentalist
Yeshiva student named Mo. Needless to
say, Mo was not too pleased with Israel's
leadership at the time, a government
presided over by Yitzhak Rabin. Mo made
one comment that I'll never forget:
"Someone has to do something about
Confused and disturbed, I wasn't able
to understand at the time how serious Mo
was. I didn't know enough about the histo-
ry of the region, the profiles of those who
came before Rabin and Arafat in the strug-
gle for (and sometimes against) peace and
the roles that people like Mo had played in
manipulating the struggle time and time
again. If I had known enough, I would
have left the camp immediately. But I
didn't,,so I didn't.

Four months later, someone did some-
thing about Yitzhak Rabin. Though his
name was Yigal Amir, you could exchange
any bit of his and Mo's ideologies to find
the same end. Rabin's assassination was
the type of act the Middle East community
had seen all too many times. And I don't
see an end to such actions in sight.
I'm reminded of words used by former
Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in his
historic and brave address before Israel's
Knesset in 1977: "Before us today lies the
appropriate chance for peace. If we are
really serious in our endeavor for peace, it
is a chance that may never come again. It
is a chance that if lost or wasted, the
resulting slaughter would bear the curse of
humanity and of history."
The problems I have with his statement
are twofold: Firstly, while he was right in
saying that Israel and Egypt had to seize
that moment and make peace in the region,
the eventual agreement signed at Camp
David obviously had little staying power.
And secondly, four years after offering the
olive branch, Sadat suffered the same fate
that would befall Rabin in November
1995. Shot down, not by a foreigner fight-
ing for his country's or people's right to
freedom, but by his own people in a cow-
ardly move to restructure the country's
stance toward the peace process. It's the
same reason behind the assassination of
King Abdullah I of Jordan in 1951, once
again, by one of his own people. The
chances were lost and wasted, and their
slaughter bore the curse of the region's
humanity and history. And the chance may
never come again.
This is why the peace process is hope-
less. I see no way that it ever ends with,

both sides happy. An Israeli leader who
brokers peace by giving up control of
Jerusalem will surely suffer the same end
as Rabin. There's no doubt about that.
And the Palestinian people, who have long
showed their distaste for the process by
taking it to the streets and the buses, will
never accept a deal that does not include
Jerusalem. It's not an issue of who's right
or wrong. These are simply facts. Arafat
and Sharon are pawns. The real power in
the region lies in the hands of fundamen-
talists who see only black and white, good
and evil, absolutely right and absolutely,
wrong. It lies with men who speak only
with guns and bombs.
That's what people don't realize about
this issue. Someone who believes the cur-
rent struggle to be between Israelis and
Palestinians doesn't fully understand its
magnitude. There are four groups fighting
here and the real trouble comes from the
two that are often forgotten - the militant
Jews/Israelis and the militant Arabs/Pales-
tinians. The fundamentalists who run the
country from underground, who are small-
est in size but unmistakably largest in
impact. These are the leaders.
When I think about Mo these days, I
wonder what.he's doing. I wonder what
his politics are like. I wonder how he
reacted on Nov. 4, 1995, when he heard
the news that Rabin had been killed. I
think about Mo and remember that for
quite some time he was, by association,
the most powerful person I'd ever known.
And that's what scares me. That's what
leaves me without hope.

Schwartz can be reached


Honors Commons afair
reward for students who
participate in rigorous study
I am disgusted that the Daily would
write the editorial, Coffee talk (03/07/03),
against the opening of the new Honors
Commons. It is about time this University
rewarded and praised academic excellence!
Honors students (who represent roughly
the top tenth percentile of the school) face
tougher academic requirements, such as
maintaining a minimum 3.2 grade point
average to stay in the program and a more
intense workload. Each semester, they
must take a minimum of two Honors class-
es, which entails not only extra but more
challenging work. In the last year of the
program, they must compose a lengthy
Honors thesis to graduate with honors.
As an Honors student, all of my papers
are graded harder and I am assigned more
thought-provoking work. Even with these
greater expectations, I love the Honors
Program because my professors lead dis-
cussion sessions rather than GSIs and I
have the opportunity to meet visiting
scholars from all over the country each
month. It is a learning community within
this large university that is not isolated but
incorporated into the University's pro-
grams. We are not secluded students who
associate only with ourselves. Rather,
Honors students are some of the most
active, who are able to balance schoolwork
with chapter meetings, political rallies and
theater rehearsal.
If the Daily is so upset about Honors
students receiving a study room to use,
then I expect to see the Daily argue against
the use of a special dining room that serves
better food for football players or an
Olympic-size swimming pool for the swim
team that is not open to other students.
What the University has done is reward
those who are exceptional in their field.
Get over it.
LSA freshman
Editorial reveals a cmplete
misunderstanding of Honors
ComTmons~'s burboses'

editorial's implicit charge of elitism. The Hon-
ors Program is one of several "learning com-
munities" that "make a large university small"
and enrich the University overall. Its special
mission is to provide an especially intensive
intellectual experience to LSA undergraduates
who are ready, willing and able to take advan-
tage of it. Elitism in the pejorative sense, we
believe, is leaving the most demanding liberal
arts education to wealthy private institutions.
The Perlman Honors Commons is not a
student "lounge." The space includes four
alcoves in which Honors faculty can meet
office hours with their students. It is locat-
ed next to seminar rooms so that Honors
faculty and students can continue conversa-
tions interrupted by the end of class. It will
be the site of a series of regularly-sched-
uled discussions and other intellectual and
cultural events, such as a "philosophy
cafe." And, we hope, it will encourage the
serendipitous conversation between stu-
dents and faculty, and among students
themselves, that can significantly deepen
the Honors experience. It is not, therefore,
a cushy perk: an "uppity measur(e) remi-
niscent of Princeton's eating clubs." It is
rather a place where faculty and students
can pursue the activities that can make the
Honors Program more of an intellectual
and cultural community.
Although other learning communities
like the Residential College and Lloyd
Hall Scholars Program have dedicated
common spaces, the Honors Program has
had none. When the Daily asserts that
"only a small group of students will be
able to take advantage of this facility," it
may not realize that the Honors Program
includes some 1,800 students. We believe
that LSA and the University as a whole are
enriched by a strong Honors Program, and
we are very grateful to Rick and Judy Perl-
man for making the Perlman Honors Com-
mons possible.
LSA senior
University professor ofphilosophy
Uncondiioasupportof war
in Iraq 'dangerous,' war
l-ad sed, too risky
Tt has hee.t, or tedinhltters to this

of civilian casualties, mass hunger, a refugee
crisis, attacks on the Kurdish people from
Turkey or even further wars in the region.
. But the problem is much wider than Iraq.
As French Foreign Minister Dominique de
Villepin noted last Friday, the world remains
preoccupied with the dangers of the Israeli-
Palestinian crisis, North Korea, and Kashmir.
These problems will continue to.plague the
world after Iraq even as others will emerge.
By pursuing its aggressive policy towards
Iraq, the Bush administration has deeply
divided the UN Security Council, the NATO
alliance, and the rest of the international
community. As the United States pushes for
a vote on a resolution that would quickly
lead to war, we risk turning a disagreement
over Iraq into a new divide in international
politics. The United States appears to be
willing, even eager, to face a lawless world,
devoid of effective multilateral institutions,
where U.S. military prowess is the solution
to every problem. Such a world is not even
in our own interests. I applaud France and
other nations for courageously confronting
this very real threat.
LSA sophomore
SAFE shows true colors by
inviting controversial scholar
Finkelstein to 'U'
I am disgusted and disheartened at the
temerity of Students Allied for Freedom
and Equality leaders ('Negative reaction' to
Finkelstein, SAFE distorts words, facts,
03/07/03). Not only have they unapologeti-
cally brought the leader of Islamic Jihad in
America (Sami Al-Arian), to campus, but
now they are bringing Norman Finkelstein
to our campus. Norman Finkelstein has
praised Hezbollah and he has said about
the Holocaust that "If everyone who
claims to be a survivor is one, who did
Hitler kill?" He also has said, "I some-
times think that American Jewry 'discover-
ing' the Nazi Holocaust was worse than its
having been forgotten."
Does this sound like a serious Holo-
caust scholar to you? Furthermore, it is
ludicrous for Eric Reichenberger and
Ashraf Zahr to declare that "perhaps the
greatest living authority on the Holocaust,



A 1"Tf-lDE


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