Posts tagged with 'columbia-spectator'

Compassion and cooperation

Posted by jonathanhuberman on September 27, 2011 @ 11:17 am

This piece was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.  It was written by Jonathan Huberman, LionPAC Director of Public Relations.

Despite the seeming intransigence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, two ingredients, compassion and cooperation, have the potential to bring peace. At the United Nations this past week though, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas showed little interest in compassion or cooperation. In the Middle East and here at Columbia, these two values have been greatly lacking.

Peace requires compassion for your counterpart and a willingness to cooperate. In this regard, Palestinians and Israelis need to recognize the legitimacy of each other’s national narratives. After accepting that each group deserves its own country, Palestinians and Israelis need to work together to create a framework for the two societies to live together side by side.

Abbas’s gambit at the U.N. has delayed the prospects of peace by sidestepping this necessary cooperation, adding an unsurprising yet disappointing chapter to his history of circumventing negotiations. In 2010, Israel halted all construction in the West Bank for 10 months, yet still Abbas refused to come to the table. Since 2000, two Israeli prime ministers have offered to relinquish over 90 percent of the West Bank in exchange for peace. These actions show Israel’s enthusiasm for coexistence, and it is time for Palestinian leaders to show a similar eagerness. Instead of making excuses and demanding preconditions for negotiations, Abbas should show the perseverance and persistence that are necessary for talks to succeed.

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Reconsider, S'il Vous Plaît

Posted by Shapiro Ron on September 20, 2011 @ 12:06 am

This piece was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Tuesday, September 20, 2011.  It was written by the Columbia Spectator Editorial Board (Samuel E. Roth recused himself from the writing of this editorial because he previously served on CIRCA’s executive board).  It was not written by a LionPAC member.

Columbia International Relations Council and Association’s plan to dine with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad this Wednesday has raised a few eyebrows on campus and in national and international media. Given the implications of dining with a man accused of gross human rights violations, political repression, and hostility toward the United States, we urge CIRCA to reconsider its decision to participate.

Numerous media outlets­—American and Iranian alike—have inaccurately equated CIRCA’s acceptance of the invitation as from the University as a whole. National news outlets have demonstrated no more commitment to honest reporting than Iran’s, and we hope that the international community understands that CIRCA’s actions do not represent the University’s views as a whole. Fox News inaccurately claimed that President Bollinger was attending the dinner, a statement it later corrected.

While we uphold Columbia’s commitment to free speech, open dialogue, and freedom of association, CIRCA’s attendance at the dinner surpasses the bounds of responsible group behavior. We don’t doubt that the students involved in the dinner identify an opportunity to engage a world leader in a sincere gesture of diplomacy, but to do so with a leader like Ahmadinejad is not constructive.

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African Americans and Jewish Americans Joining Together for Israel

Posted by Shapiro Ron on April 28, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

This piece was featured on Israel Campus Beat on Thursday, April 28, 2011.  It was written by Elianna Mintz.

A letter that the Vanguard Leadership Group published in many campus newspapers across the country.

Courtesy: Israel Campus Beat

When members of Columbia University’s pro-Israel and African American student groups accepted an invitation to hear two leaders of the Vanguard Leadership Group (VLG) speak on campus recently, they assumed it would be an interesting program, but they had no idea they would be a part of a groundbreaking event.

As they RSVP’d for the program, they could not have known that the event would herald significant change at Columbia. Once they arrived, however, they realized just how potent the unification of the campus’ African American and Jewish American students could be.

Most were unfamiliar with VLG, an Atlanta-based honor society for high-achieving African American students at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. Established in 2003, VLG is committed to instilling a global mindset within their students and as such has had been engaging the pro-Israel community since 2007.

VLG founder and executive director Jarrod Jordan traced the history of the group’s strong embrace of Israel to the 2008 AIPAC Policy Conference, where members were in the audience when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama stressed the importance of the historic relationship between African Americans and Jewish Americans.

“Obama explained that together African Americans and Jewish Americans are pushing America forward,” Jarrod recalled. “He expressed gratitude to AIPAC for their continuance of that relationship, which inspired us to pursue that relationship as well.

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Columbia Spectator: How to be an activist

Posted by Shapiro Ron on March 28, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

This piece was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Friday, March 4, 2011. It was written by the Columbia Spectator Editorial Board, not a LionPAC member.

A month ago, as the campus was exploding with discussion of ROTC, ROOTEd—a subset of the Office of Multicultural Affairs—played a role in promoting an admirable type of dialogue. Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education initiated a discussion among students, encouraging them not necessarily to fall on one side or the other, but to examine the frame of the debate and question how different groups were presenting the issue. When discussion, a huge part of our lives at this activism-saturated University, is so often polarized and “dialogue” between groups can turn into shouting matches, thoughtful debate like this is especially valuable and rare.

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Where are the moderates?

Posted by jonathanhuberman on March 4, 2011 @ 10:36 am

C-SJP misrepresents the views of moderate Palestinians.

Courtesy: Amalia Rinehart, Columbia Spectator

This was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Friday, March 4, 2011.  It was written by Jonathan Huberman, LionPAC Director of Public Relations.

During Israeli Apartheid Week, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestinehas once again offensively exploited a historical tragedy. No rational person can deny the plight of the Palestinians, and no moral person can ignore their suffering. However, labeling Israel as an apartheid state grossly distorts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and belittles the suffering of South African apartheid victims. If Apartheid Week has proven anything, it has shown that C-SJP misrepresents the moderate majority of Palestinians and works against a peaceful two-state solution.

Israel is a democratic, multi-ethnic country that upholds equal rights for all of its citizens. Minorities comprise 20 percent of Israel’s population, and they enjoy the same civil liberties as any Israeli. Israeli-Arabs vote in Israel’s democratic elections and hold seats in Israel’s parliament. An Israeli-Arab, Salim Jubran, is a judge on Israel’s Supreme Court, and other Israeli-Arabs have served as deputy speakers of the Israeli parliament. Not surprisingly, a recent poll showed that 40 percent of Israeli-Arabs living in East Jerusalem would rather relocate their homes and maintain Israeli citizenship than join a Palestinian state. In contrast to citizens of other Middle Eastern nations, Israeli-Arabs enjoy greater political freedom and opportunity in Israel than they would in any other Arab country.

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Manipulation of tragedy

Posted by jonathanhuberman on January 31, 2011 @ 11:19 am

Manipulation of TragedyThis was featured in the Columbia Spectator on Monday, January 31, 2011.  It was collaboratively written by LionPAC members Michael Shapiro, Eric Schorr, Jonathan Huberman, and Seffi Kogen; Just Peace members Abby Shuster and Kevin Siegel, and Hillel’s Israel Coordinator, Matthew Jacobs.

“Holocaust” is a term heavy with emotion. Its mention evokes anger, sorrow, and confusion at the unthinkable actions that one group of human beings committed against another. We, the current and future generations of the world, must learn a lesson in memory of the 11 million people who died simply for being themselves. A Holocaust can never happen again—for anyone.

This very phrase, “Never Again for Anyone,” was the title of a recent lecture on campus hosted by Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine that was timed to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The event sought to depict the State of Israel as the perpetrator of a modern Holocaust, a comparison that is not only based in fallacy, but one that is a hurtful disregard of both the political and social reality in the Middle East. Continue reading…