Thank you for opening discussion on an important topic—the state of affairs in the Middle East as they relate to Israel—in last week’s piece, “Payback with a Purpose,” published in The Harvard Crimson by Daniel Solomon.
However, the method by which this topic was presented—publishing an outdated, biased article from a distant newspaper—is irresponsible, especially in light of the recent events in the Middle East.
Why not write about the Syrian war that has claimed around 60,000 lives or the constitutional crisis in Egypt?
Or still more topical, as Hamid Karzai is in Washington, the debate over 2014 and the role thereafter in Afghanistan?
If Israel remains the topic, why not focus on the many positive developments therein?
Israelis recently hosted the largest cardiology convention in history, are developing solar technology that allows energy production even in the dark and developed a novel, non-invasive electromagnetic device to help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Or perhaps discuss the marvel of the American funded “Iron Dome” defense system successfully saving the lives of hundreds during the recent struggle (and representing one of many remarkable breakthroughs in defensive military technology)?
Rather than publishing a post-election article by a Harvard University student in our student newspaper more than a month after its original publication, it would be far more effective to find ways to showcase the above advances.
Or alternatively, find a Tech student to describe the annual Israelfest celebration on campus, which was attended by over 600 students last year and focuses on the positive technological, social and cultural advances in Israel.
Solomon opens his article condemning a supposed political Netanyahu-Romney relationship. Instead, why not draw attention to the rock-solid U.S.-Israel alliance under President Obama?
When discussing Israel’s refusal to halt settlements and meet for peace negotiations, Solomon neglects to recall that Israel froze all housing for 10 months in an attempt to start negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA); the PA refused to negotiate for the first 9 months, held one set of talks after U.S. pressure and then left the negotiations.
Additionally, Solomon calls for more one-sided pressure on Israel, calling for a review of its military aid, but he forgets how counterproductive putting one-sided pressure on Israel has been in the last four years.
Contrary to its intended result, pressuring Israel encouraged PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to undertake his unilateral bid at the UN, guessing that there would be no review of the PA’s US aid.
Solomon also conveniently overlooks the fact that Arabs in Israel receive the rights of full citizenship and even have an Arab-Israeli, Salim Joubran, serving on the Israeli Supreme Court.
The fact of the matter is, Arab Israelis enjoy a standard of living far better than most Arabs living in neighboring countries.
Politics aside, this is a historical time for change in the Middle East and Israel.
I appreciate the Technique sparking discussion, but I hope that the campus culture is better assessed, topics are better chosen and, moving forward, conversation is better focused on the positive developments rather than biased political arguments.