As the leaders of Georgetown’s Jewish and pro-Israel communities, we would like to clarify our views concerning a recent presentation on our campus by Bat Ye’or and David Littman, and emphasize our strong position for the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Like Jewish student leaders across North America, we are charged to educate ourselves and our peers about the plight, culture and history of the Jewish community by sponsoring lectures devoted to Jewish issues. We asked Bat Ye’or and Littman to speak on Oct. 22, 2002, because of their reputations as prominent scholars on human rights for Jews, Christians and other religious minorities in the Muslim world. We felt that their conduct during our event, however, was inappropriate and offensive. Their presentation rendered ineffective the vital discussion of the subjugation of religious minorities in the Muslim world, past and present, including ongoing human rights abuses in Iran, Sudan, Nigeria and Algeria. Ultimately, their lecture threatened more to polarize our campus community than to educate about and debate a difficult topic.

Time and time again, we have witnessed countless examples of intolerant attitudes at anti-Israel speeches and demonstrations all over the United States. Intolerance threatens not only the integrity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, but it also serves to undermine any hopes for mutual understanding. We would never permit similar approaches to be represented by our own organizations.

While it is our job as students to bring to light difficult realities about our world that many people might not like to hear, we also have a responsibility to ensure that peace and civility are maintained within our classrooms, sponsored events and campus community at large. These goals can only be pursued in a respectful and cooperative environment that reflects Georgetown’s values of interfaith dialogue and diversity of thought. Any incident that threatens this environment is detrimental, particularly to the Jewish students we have been elected to represent.

Those students came to Georgetown because of its prominent connection to America’s capital, the academic world and the international arena. Understanding their special situation, the Jewish organizations at Georgetown have consistently represented a sound platform of both advocacy and cooperation.

The Jewish Students Association and the Georgetown Israel Alliance have spearheaded an academic, cultural and political renaissance within Georgetown’s Jewish community. Moreover, a new Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, has become a popular and recognizable presence on our campus, strengthening Jewish identity at Georgetown. Committed to supporting the values of both our university and our mishpachah, the Jewish people, Georgetown’s Jewish community represents responsibility, pride in its Jewish identity and an ardent, rational pro-Israel line.

Daniel Spector is a junior in the School of Foreign Service and is president of the Jewish Students Association. Julia Segall is sophomore in the College and is the president of Georgetown Israel Alliance. Salomon Kalach-Zaga is a senior in the College and is the director of communications for Georgetown Israel Alliance.

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