The misguided letter, “Israel Independence Has Two Sides” calls to censor the Student Government Association. The writer fails to understand that academic freedom and freedom of speech entitle us to diversity of opinion and expression. Ithaca College has spent substantial amounts of money on programs, lectures and classes demonizing Israel. Attacks on Israel have appeared in every campus medium, so this “rarely discussed side” is actually IC’s norm. Even The Ithacan only covered the event with a quarter-page photo of student protestors and nothing about the actual program itself. Even so, exercising legitimate freedom of speech does not lead me to cry “tuition dollars” because I don’t agree with the presented opinions.
The entirely student-run program for Israel Independence Day celebrated the existence and independence of Israel’s statehood and culture, including its Christian, Muslim, Druze, Bedouin and Bahai citizens — not just those who identify with the Jewish faith. Accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing distorts the cultural diversity of contemporary Israeli society. When 350 students and community members celebrated 62 years of statehood following 2,000 years of exile, it was a cultural event — the term “propaganda” is inaccurate and offensive.
However, to have Michael Lerner expose our students to more anti-Israel propaganda, reach out to the politics department and the Park Foundation. They would be happy to seize another opportunity to demonize and illegitimatize Israel. Hillel Programming, on the other hand, is dedicated to fostering community and not alienating our student population.
Molly Wernick ’11