Though I’ve graduated and moved on from Santa Cruz, the last few years I too saw and felt the tensions of the “Israeli/Palestinian” and/or the “West/Muslim world” conflict play out at UCSC. Abizeid’s article was a bold, succinct, and controversial piece that very badly needed to be written to put into discourse the discomfort many students have felt about the words and actions of radical pro-Israel groups such as Stand with Us, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, the David Project, and Campus Watch on college campuses… in fact, has been something I’ve wanting to write about for a long time but lacked the chutzpah and the balls to move my speculations forward.
In the last few years, and especially with regards to many of the speakers in the 2007 winter quarter’s “Peace in the Middle East” colloquium series, it was unbelievable to see how one-sided and ideological the focus of these talks were… ideas on conflict resolution were nowhere to be found. How could this be labeled a “Peace in the Middle East” series if the only perspectives were slanderous pro-Zionist/uber-Jewish voices? Not even a standard democratic Q & A period was permitted at these events to address some of the audacious statements speakers such as Melanie Philips and Daniel Pipes spouted.
For a school as reputable for its super liberal values of diversity, respect, and acute social awareness as UCSC, I was disappointed — not to mention shocked and slightly offended — to see my alma mater emerge as an accomplice in aggravating already tenuous U.S. and Muslim relations rather than as an honest broker. I give my respect and appreciation to Abizeid for being able to take on such a divisive, pregnant topic and more importantly, pinpointing how and why we feel the stings of a conflict that takes place across the deserts and beyond the seas, here… over the hills and right smack in the middle of UCSC’s trees.
*Danielle I. Keiser*