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October 06, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-06

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 6, 2004

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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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

''We never had
enough troops on the
Former U.S. administrator in Iraq L. Pau
Bremer, commenting on coalition troop levels
during the occupation, as reported yesterday
by The Washington Post.

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I don't stand with Israel and I'm not anti-Semitic

couple of weeks
ago, during a
voter registration
drive in New Orleans,
the French government
swooped in and shut
down all voter registra-
tion sites in the city. The
French claim that the
land is theirs; regardless
of the Louisiana Pur-
chase and the 200 years the area has been
United States territory.
Now replace New Orleans with Jerusa-
lem and France with Israel. When the Israeli
army shut down six voter registration sites
in what even America considers Palestinian
occupied territory, the reasoning was simple.
Israel's spokesman Raanan Gissin said, "No
one has the right to tell us what would be
the status of Jerusalem, when Jerusalem has
been, was and will be forever the capital of
the Jewish people."
America, Israel's most lovable bedfellow,
did nothing. The government did not show
outrage for the lack of democratic sovereign-
ty, instead opting to allow the sites to remain
closed. Both President Bush and Sen. John
Kerry continued to express their support for
Israel in their first debate last Thursday. In
essence, America's inaction continuously
shows support for Israel's actions. This is
especially problematic when it was Bush
who called for the Palestinian people to elect
a new leader.
While America claims to hold a mission
of democratizing the Arab world, it does
little to address the countries that are trying
to hold democratic elections. Gissin notes,

"(Jerusalem)'s not occupied territory and as
any other country would not permit politi-
cal activity of a foreign country, particularly
voting, so Israel has the same right to pre-
vent that kind of political activity within
Jerusalem itself." Even beyond his mistaken
premise of Jerusalem being a part of Israel,
Gissin fails to recognize that the American
government has forced Pakistan to hold voter
registration drives for the Oct. 9 Afghani-
stan national elections. It seems then that
even a Muslim country is more welcoming
to democratic elections than Israel is.
When it comes to situations of rich, white
minorities oppressing the poor, nonwhite
majorities, America has continuously been
slow to see the ills of the powerful elite.
Apartheid regimes in South Africa were sup-
ported by America far longer than the rest
of the world. Similarly, while large majori-
ties of the United Nations General Assembly
vote against Israel's harsh regime, America
turns a blind eye. Even the Anti-Defamation
League notes, "More than one quarter of
the resolutions condemning a state's human
rights violations adopted by the (U.N. Com-
mission on Human Rights) over the past 40
years have been directed at Israel."
The actions of the American-backed Israe-
li government breed hatred within the world
toward both America and Israel. However,
forcing Israelis out of the area would produce
a new generation of hate. While some leaders
make futile attempts to ease the Middle East
conflict, their continuing support for Israel
shows their inability to mediate. Elected
leaders should be held to a higher standard
of diplomacy than a perennial blue shirt that
proclaims, "Wherever I stand, I stand with

Israel." When it seems the rest of the world
sees Israel's wrongdoing, dissent within this
country is almost nonexistent.
If Palestinians had wealthy, large and pow-
erful lobbying groups in Washington, there
is little doubt that support for Israel would
diminish. The ADL and similar pro-Israel
groups have the lobbying funds to sway our
leaders and the prerogative to call all oppo-
sition anti-Semitic.
Therein lies the barrier keeping the lib-
eral left from standing up against the pro-
Israel movement: the fear of being labeled
anti-Semitic. When Michael Moore was
questioned about Kerry's stance on the
Palestinian and Israeli conflict at the Hill
Auditorium last week, he noted his disap-
proval, but quickly brushed off the question.
It seems even Moore is afraid of the large
pro-Israel group on campus that will label
people anti-Semitic if they oppose Israel.
It is understandable that after years of
hatred and Anti-Semitic messages, the
country is especially sensitive to the Jew-
ish population. However, labeling someone
anti-Semitic simply because he disapproves
of Israel is an exploitation of the word, as it
disregards the cruel history Jewish popula-
tions have had to endure. When there is little
allowance for discourses the only voices
heard are those who are pro-Israel and those
who want all Jewish settlers to leave. The
moderate opinions are shunned as people
don shirts and proclaim their stances, leav-
ing little room for educated dialogue.


Chirumamilla can be reached
at schiruma@umich.edu.

Family feud

he University
learned three
years ago that
its graduate student
instructors were willing
to fight for their chil-
Although their union
said in 2001 that only
about 10 percent of
GSIs had kids, it nonetheless made child
care the centerpiece of its contract nego-
tiations that year. And when the union, the
Graduate Employees Organization, found
itself up against a University administra-
tion unwilling to give GSIs the child care
they demanded, it decided to show that it
wasn't kidding around.
The graduate students went on strike,
stopping classes for a day. Within a week,
the University had given them a contract
that included an additional half-million dol-
lars for child care.
That contract will expire early next year.
Less than a month from now, in between
grading your midterms, GEO members will
meet to draw up a platform for negotiations.
It's possible there will be no insurmount-
able differences over the contract this year.
GEO seems pleased with how it has been
treated, and GEO President David Dobbie
is optimistic about the next deal. "Overall,
we feel it was a great contract that we bar-
gained," Dobbie said. The union may spend
much of the bargaining sessions trying to
preserve what it has, worried that the Uni-
versity will increase GSIs' health care costs
as it tried to do last year.
But the welfare of parents and children
will remain at the back of their minds

because of an issue that - while it may not
be resolved through negotiations - is sure
to influence how GSIs feel about the Uni-
versity at this crucial time.
More than 200 undergraduates, displaced
from their residence halls by this year's
unexpectedly massive influx of freshmen,
have found their new home in a place once
meant for graduate students and their fami-
lies. Their appearance in Family Housing,
located in the Northwood apartments on
North Campus, has angered graduate stu-
dents accustomed to their own community.
"We were guaranteed a certain environ-
ment in Family Housing," said Heather
Albee-Scott, who lives in Northwood IV
with her husband, a graduate student. "Our
leases have been violated."
Albee-Scott contends that the Univer-
sity allowed graduate students to sign their
leases during spring term while not telling
them about the undergraduates who would
invade in fall.
"The University, it seems, held out as
long as it could" while admitting more and
more families, she said. "They had us sign
our leases under false terms."
But University Housing spokesman Alan
Levy says residents were notified as soon as
a decision was made to put undergraduates
in Northwood. No plans had yet been made
for the move when residents began renew-
ing their leases, he said.
"Some people want to view this as bad
faith on our part," Levy said. "The Uni-
versity had a situation that it simply had to
deal with."
"It is not the way we would have chosen
to make changes in the composition of the
community, and it's not the way we have

done it in the past," he said.
However forthright the University really
was, this problem is not going away any-
time soon. Indeed, administrators have been
planning for some time to mix undergrads
and families, though not this soon. With
renovations set to shut down Mosher-Jordan
and Stockwell halls for a year each, starting
in 2006, the University will need a place to
catch the student overflow, and it's eyeing
Levy said the Northwood IV and V town-
houses, with 800 families, will continue to
be used exclusively for student families.
But the other three buildings have become
fair game, and some portion of them will
be thrown open to younger students.
"What we are evaluating is how much of
the rest, of Northwood I, II and III, are still
available for Family Housing," he said.
Of course, it's unlikely that North-
wood space will be on the table during the
upcoming contract negotiations with GEO.
But the squeeze of families by the Univer-
sity, necessary or not, will be on the minds
of those in the negotiating room. They will
likely be looking for assurances that gradu-
ate students will have a place to raise their
children while studying and teaching. They
will once again be looking out for the par-
ents among them.
Such concerns led GSIs to strike before.
So I won't be surprised if classes are can-
celed again this winter.
And with its limited housing space and
sliced budget, I'd be surprised if the Univer-
sity caves in as easily as it did last time.
Schrader can be reached at




Army reservist objects
to letter writer, supports
President Bush
Supporting the war is not a cause for
shame. In protest to people like Michael
Moore, we pay tribute to our brave soldiers
nnlnn uncfnr.,.f,.~,a.dm T hiAd nn ~my cin

right hands because they support our coun-
try and its foundations.
These soldiers have seen how our Ameri-
can soil has not been attacked since that
fateful September morning. They have seen
how freedom has positively affected the
Iraqi people. The few in the media denounc-
ing our reasons for being over there are not
in the majority. Our military supports the
national security of our nation; we sup-

up to war again any time, but am I selfish,
as Strickland suggests, for being happy to
be back in school and just being a civil-
ian again? Are those that I protested with
selfish because they seek higher education
and yet support the War on Terror? There
are two ways to approach the support for
military action: We can join and fight, but
we can also speak boldly in support of our
troops, and in opposition of a man who only

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