VIEWPOINT Providing Other Side Gives Balanced Account By Paul Kutner

While I realize that the Jewish Student Association executive board will be displeased with the fact that I am writing this, I am not going to sit and dismiss the article written by Shadi Hamid [“Present Aggression Reminiscent of Past Atrocities,” arch 19, 2002, The Hoya, p. 3], comparing Jews and Israelis to Nazis. Many of my constituents – the very people who elected me – have asked me to reply. First and foremost, it is of great concern that The Hoya would permit the appearance of such an article and it only goes to reaffirm what some say is an anti-Israel position taken by Georgetown.

In trying to stop me from replying to Hamid’s column, many of my executive colleagues on the Georgetown Israel Alliance and the JSA have told me that The Hoya’s Viewpoint section is a forum for free speech. I wonder if The Hoya would print a Viewpoint article contrary to the paper’s opinion. Would the Hoya print a Ku Klux Klan member’s article telling African-Americans to go back to Africa?

I think not, and seem to notice a lack of balance in The Hoya’s reporting of the Middle East crisis. In addition, the purpose of the Viewpoint is to facilitate debate regarding issues that directly affect students on this campus or the greater Georgetown community. Housing, the proposed LGBT center, Georgetown’s Catholic identity and feeding the neighborhood’s homeless are just some of the topics for which this page should be and has been used. It should not be a place to discuss Israeli policy matters.

My initial reaction to this article was one of simple brainwashing and ignorance on the part of Hamid, but this statement is a message of hatred and intolerance comparing Jews and Israelis to the savage beasts more commonly known as Nazis. In an article that appeared in the International Herald Tribune on Aug. 13, 2001, immediately after a Palestinian suicide bomber destroyed Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria, killing 14 innocent people whose only crime was eating pizza, a Holocaust survivor who had lost his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in the attack was quoted as saying, in reference to the terrorists, “now I have found people who are worse than the Germans.” If the victims of this attack only committed the crime of eating a piece of bread with cheese and tomato sauce on it, then who are the Nazis and who are the victims?

I think Hamid should educate himself on the issues at hand and see the two sides of the story. He quotes a statement of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon from 1956 to support his claim. However, the Palestine Liberation Organization had a statement in its charter up until the 1990s that said the PLO would drive the Jews into the sea. In fact, most Arab countries following Israel’s creation incorporated such statements into their constitutions and some still have not repealed them.

Hamid also quotes Kofi Annan on a statement made about Israel’s “illegal occupation.” Just why is there occupation? Because all of Israel’s neighbors invaded the Holy Land. More alarming in this section of Hamid’s column, however, is his reliance on Annan as some sort of an expert on legal issues. Before using Annan as a source on what’s unlawful, moral, just or right, we must consider that in Annan’s home country, Ghana, no effort is made to stop child slave labor, the use of women as sex slaves and the diamond lords who exploit children, women and the poor. Annan is indeed a great resource on what is illegal.

Hamid also writes about the issue of ambulances going through 10 minute inspections, which jeopardizes the lives of those being transported. However, if Palestinian terrorists did not transport explosives in ambulances, then there wouldn’t be an issue for discussion in the first place.

Most abominable in Hamid’s article was his justification for suicide bombings. Since when did killing people under any circumstances become okay? If the complaint is that the Israeli military is oppressing Palestinians, I still wonder about what makes it right or just for Palestinians to kill in return. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

I will never condone or find acceptable the destruction of the homes of innocent people. But never should terrorism be justified. No terrorists should be allowed to roam freely, but Yasser Arafat does not seem to comprehend that. Arafat would do himself a favor if he followed the example of Pakistan’s leader, General Pervez Musharraf, in arresting terrorists and bringing them to justice. Arafat should promote true Islam – the Islam President Bush and Afghan Chairman Hamid Karzai speak of and the Islam we are taught about at Georgetown. In Islam, Allah is the eternal, merciful ruler as has been said at the beginning of speeches given by Karzai and Prince Turki al-Faisal on this very campus and at the commencement of Muslim prayers. Allah is not a violent killer.

The appearance of Hamid’s column in The Hoya was a disappointment. However, the most upsetting aspect of his article is that it did not see the other side of the story at all. What’s my job? To tell the other side.

Paul J. Kutner is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service and the Chairman of the Jewish Student Association.

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