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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mail Bag

    Both columnist and correspondent leave out crucial facts

    I find Leo Grifka’s response no more “”factual”” than the one that he claims to debunk. (Mailbag, Feb. 11, 2009) First, Grikfa presents an argumentum “”ad Nazium”” in asserting that Hamas is like the Nazis. Indeed, the military arm cares little for the Jewish state, but asserting that Hamas “”simply”” wants to destroy Israel pays a disservice to the work that Hamas does for Palestinians. Hamas builds hospitals and schools for its people. What does that have to do with killing Jews? Many accounts about Hamas spending habits point towards large amounts of money allotted for social services – some figures as high as 90 percent of Hamas income, calculated by Israeli scholars, no less – so certainly we cannot reduce Hamas to a kind of organization, as Grikfa asserts, that have “”no problem”” killing their own, for who would waste resources feeding their people if they planned on killing them later?

    Secondly, Grifka makes no mention of the perpetual blockades that Israel has on the Gaza strip, nor does he mention the repeatedly successful attempts that Israel takes to deny foreign aid (read: food) to Palestinians. With over one million starving people living in Gaza, we should not show surprise when they get angry and radicalized after foreigners deny them their meals.

    Finally, and most importantly, neither Schivone nor Grifka acknowledge how tangled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become. There are few heroes on either side. In a notably despicable move, for example, Hamas seized UN aid to Gaza after Israel ceased its attack, not to distribute it freely, but to make sure that Fatah did not do the same. Israel cannot claim any white knights either, for no matter how talking heads justify the recent incursion into Gaza, Israel’s hands are tarnished with the blood of 1,300 Palestinians.

    The unilateral views that Schivone and Grifka espouse highlight a fundamental problem in the conflict: neither side seems to care to understand the other. I would hope that Grifka could refine his condescendingly “”factual”” view by living in the shoes of a Palestinian kid for a week. Maybe then he will understand why desperate people resort to desperate measures.

    Kevin Keys

    mathematics and linguistics junior

    Israel’s respect for freedom of speech weakens critic’s argument

    The anti-Israel column you published on Feb. 10 (“”Closer look at Gaza crisis raises disturbing questions””) is a tribute to false moral equivalency. But I’m glad the Wildcat published it.

    I’ll leave it to other commentators to note the details of how the thug regimes and terrorist groups that surround Israel have killed many more Muslims and Arabs in internecine warfare than the IDF has in the protection of Israeli citizens, one million of whom are Arabs. My concern here is with our right to speak our minds. Israel, which has been under a constant state of siege since its creation in 1948, allows its citizens to criticize its policies (and even its existence) to an extent that seems ridiculous – even seditious – by normal standards. Compare that freedom of expression to the freedoms “”enjoyed”” by the subjects of Hamas or by the subjects of its puppet handlers in Tehran and Damascus.

    So, bad on the columnist but good on the Wildcat. Let’s enjoy and preserve our freedom to speak freely. It’s a great thing, even when we have to listen to the ignorant and hypocritical among us.

    Tom Gelsinon

    Mexican American studies program coordinator

    Columnist displays little understanding of Israel’s history

    I am writing in response to Gabriel Matthew Schivone’s column of Feb. 10. Given the almost total lack of substantiation and fact, I am led to wonder whether or not that column was intended as satire. If so, you did your job well, Mr. Schivone, showing the complete disregard for facts that the anti-Israel lobby seems to embrace these days. If not, then I must wonder why you wrote it, if not to mislead and create a sense of hatred and anger toward our strongest ally in the Middle East?

    The fact is that Israel’s civilian population was brutally attacked over a long, drawn-out period by a government that has as its sworn purpose to remove all Jewish influences from the historic homeland of the Jewish people. In response to this sustained attack, Israel defended itself and its population, one of the requisite actions of a nation-state. What would you have had them do, Mr. Schivone? Lie supinely on their backs until Hamas was done ravaging them? Utter nonsense.

    I strongly encourage you, for your sake, and for the sake of the degree that you will soon receive, engage your brain regarding the things you write about. But do so before you write.

    Silas Montgomery

    UA alumnus

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