Tomorrow, Michael Oren will deliver a lecture on the recent war undertaken by Israel against Gaza. In the broadcast e-mail sent out informing our community of this event, however, a vital piece of Oren’s biography was left out.

Oren served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces during the war between Israel and Hamas. As he wrote in The New Republic earlier this month, “My job in this war is to reinforce Israel’s position in the media.” He was an active participant in the Israeli aggression that killed over 1,300 Palestinians, including over 400 children.

Oren’s public relations campaign during the war often crossed the line into boastful glee. He wrote in The Los Angeles Times on Jan. 4 that “. The Israeli army has gone back to basics . restoring its fighting spirit . in one of the most impressive airstrikes since the 1967 Six-Day War.”

It certainly left an impression on me that these sorts of airstrikes killed hundreds of civilians who, unlike Oren, were not soldiers in the Israeli war. Oren’s active military service in the war against Gaza should not have been left out of the biographical information contained in the e-mail announcement. Oren’s role calls into question the scholarly merit of his views and suggests a bias in his positions on the war under discussion. Students deserve to know this prior to hearing his lecture, and I hope that this letter brings the matter to their attention.

Sohrab Ghassemi (GRD ’13)

Jan. 23, 2009

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