Letters week of April 20, 2006

What Are They Being Taught at Swarthmore?

Your recent article detailing the latest talks at Swarthmore College, which were aimed at bringing different perspectives when it concerns the Arab-Israeli conflict, coupled with the war on terror, failed to show the bigger, troubling picture at Swarthmore (City & Suburb: "Events Try to Make Dent in Anti-Israel Feeling," April 6).

Swarthmore will be receiving close to $2.5 million toward their Islamic-studies department, which will allow it to hire Middle East specialists. But what kind of "specialists" will they be hiring?

Given the fact that Saudi Arabia is paying to influence teachings in many American colleges, the question should be: What does your tuition buy?

Moreover, do the donor or donors determine the politics that are taught through that chair or department?

What's widely found in Mideast departments are group-think-type mentalities that are anti-Western "post-colonialist," perpetuated by late Palestinian activist and Columbia University professor Edward Said.

Conversely, prominent mainstream Mideast scholars, such as Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington, Martin Kramer, Ken Stein and Daniel Pipes, are seen as too pro-Western.

So it's not about whether Swarthmore students are open to a balanced and fair presentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The real issue is: Are they receiving a balanced presentation of facts, given the strings attached to money going to Swarthmore and other academic institutions in America?
Peter Rosenberg
Israel Advocacy Task Force
Center for Israel and Overseas
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Speak Out Against Threat of Islamism on Campus

"Israel is nothing more than a settler colony," raved Joseph Massad, assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia University.

This was one of the countless lies expressed by the keynote speaker at the Inaugural Palestinian Student Society of America's conference last month at Swarthmore College (City & Suburb: "Events Try to Make Dent in Anti-Israel Feeling," April 6).

I was aware of Massad's anti-Israel reputation, but wanted to hear his rhetoric for myself. He spent an hour spewing misinformation, twisting the facts and quoting Zionist leaders out of context. His remarks were so incendiary that they seemed to echo the early Nazi era.

Such Islamic "scholars" are now ubiquitous at universities throughout the United States.

Massad claims that he's not an anti-Semite. He doesn't scream "Kill the Jews" or "Destroy Israel." He merely states that there should be just one nation in that area – and not the Jewish one!

As we commemorate Yom Hashoah this month, we must not just remember what happened several decades ago. We must recognize the contemporary genocidal threat against the Jews being perpetrated by Iran and other Muslim terrorists. And we should not sit idly by while professors at American universities are indoctrinating students with insidious propaganda about Israel's "illegitimacy" and "racism."

People like Massad should not be given a podium to dispense hatred and dissension against the only democracy in the Middle East. But since they are, it is incumbent upon educators in universities throughout America to speak up loudly – and reverse the growing tide of this anti-Israel rhetoric.
Sondra Rendelman
Elkins Park

Don't Punish Gun-Owners; Punish the Criminals!

Your article, "Community Members Make Moves to Address Rising Crime Rate" (People & Politics, March 23) is full of factual errors.

There is no similarity between recalling a toy and legislation regarding real firearms. Gun-control advocate Barbara Montgomery is quoted as saying: "Why would such a child-like plaything be so heavily regulated when real weapons – a real menace to society – are such a free-for-all?"

The answer? If anyone thinks firearms are a "free-for-all," try navigating the difficult bureaucratic delays and thorough checks that come with actually buying one!

We do not need another gun law. What anti-gun advocates and people who want to legally own firearms can both agree upon is this: Enforce the laws that we currently have.

What anti-gun advocates fail to realize is that the rights of unarmed citizens can be taken away at any time, for any reason, by anyone in power.

In the view of the "community members" in your article, "guns cause crime," and if we only got rid of them, we'd be crime-free. England banned the private ownership of guns, and its crime rates increased.

If you really want to get rid of crime, execute the criminals who commit murder and attempted murder – and don't take 25 years to do it.
Robert Sandler

Don't Let Darfur Crisis Go the Way of Rwanda!

This month we will remember the 12th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, and we'll promise one another that we will "never again" allow such a thing to happen on our watch.

At the same time, thousands will perish in the ongoing genocide in Darfur, where the Sudanese government and their Janjaweed militias have successfully destroyed up to 90 percent of villages (Editorial: "Raising a Communal Voice Against Genocide," March 16).

As the crisis deepens and security collapses in western Sudan, the bloodshed has expanded into neighboring Chad, where the Janjaweed are slaughtering targeted ethnicities.

The international community has a responsibility to protect people. The government poised to initiate international action is the United States.

Let us remember Rwanda by defending Darfur. America must take every step necessary to negotiate an international peacekeeping intervention.

Without immediate action, we abandon thousands – perhaps millions – to a massacre.
Rachel Bardin
Bala Cynwyd




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