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Palestinian rights group in the wrong

by admin October 19, 2010

Palestinian rights group in the wrong

by admin October 19, 2010

Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel is set to speak at Concordia this week. While any occasion on which such a distinguished person comes to speak at Concordia is certainly of note, Wiesel’s visit to Concordia involves a special amount of symbolism.

Following the protests preceding the eventually-canceled speech by Benjamin Netenyahu at Concordia in 2002, Wiesel publicly referred to Concordia’s student union as anti-Semitic. Considering that the talk he is scheduled to give is being held by the CSU, his visit is quite likely symbolic of an attempt by the CSU to mend fences with certain groups both within and outside of Concordia’s student body.

Unfortunately, not everyone at Concordia looks at Wiesel’s visit to Concordia in the same positive light. A Concordia group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Concordia, recently issued a statement describing Wiesel’s visit as a “partisan” event, and describing his views as being “anti-Palestinian.”

The group’s opposition to Wiesel’s visit would be understandable if his talk was going to be on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But according to the CSU, the talk will be about Wiesel’s life story and will not touch on the situation in the Middle East. As such, one wonders why SPHR is raising objections to Wiesel’s talk when it is apparently going to have nothing to do with the cause with which they are chiefly concerned.

While Wiesel is certainly a supporter of Israel, which is understandable considering his Jewish faith and his time spent in Nazi death camps, he is by no means any sort of right-wing nationalist when it comes to Israel. In the past, he has urged the Israeli government to practice restraint in its dealings with the Palestinians, and has often called for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.

It is clear that this talk, to be given by a world renowned author and humanist, is among many other issues and events that have been blocked by special interest groups involved in the Palestinian cause. This practice, which such groups seemingly indulge in endlessly, suggests the sort of arrogance and pretentiousness that does not befit a responsible campus-based group.

There are many problems in the world and unfortunately, the problems afflicting the Palestinian people is only one of them.

While certainly a sad situation, it affects a relatively small amount of people in comparison to other world problems, and it is certainly not a very local problem for Canadians or people living in Quebec. One wonders then, why such groups as SPHR seem to see the whole world in the context of their own special interest.

Elie Wiesel is coming to Concordia to give a speech about his life experiences. If groups such as SPHR cannot stomach a speech at Concordia by a holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winning author, then they should at least kindly avoid exploiting the occasion for the purposes of their own totally unrelated cause.

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Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel is set to speak at Concordia this week. While any occasion on which such a distinguished person comes to speak at Concordia is certainly of note, Wiesel’s visit to Concordia involves a special amount of symbolism.

Following the protests preceding the eventually-canceled speech by Benjamin Netenyahu at Concordia in 2002, Wiesel publicly referred to Concordia’s student union as anti-Semitic. Considering that the talk he is scheduled to give is being held by the CSU, his visit is quite likely symbolic of an attempt by the CSU to mend fences with certain groups both within and outside of Concordia’s student body.

Unfortunately, not everyone at Concordia looks at Wiesel’s visit to Concordia in the same positive light. A Concordia group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Concordia, recently issued a statement describing Wiesel’s visit as a “partisan” event, and describing his views as being “anti-Palestinian.”

The group’s opposition to Wiesel’s visit would be understandable if his talk was going to be on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But according to the CSU, the talk will be about Wiesel’s life story and will not touch on the situation in the Middle East. As such, one wonders why SPHR is raising objections to Wiesel’s talk when it is apparently going to have nothing to do with the cause with which they are chiefly concerned.

While Wiesel is certainly a supporter of Israel, which is understandable considering his Jewish faith and his time spent in Nazi death camps, he is by no means any sort of right-wing nationalist when it comes to Israel. In the past, he has urged the Israeli government to practice restraint in its dealings with the Palestinians, and has often called for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.

It is clear that this talk, to be given by a world renowned author and humanist, is among many other issues and events that have been blocked by special interest groups involved in the Palestinian cause. This practice, which such groups seemingly indulge in endlessly, suggests the sort of arrogance and pretentiousness that does not befit a responsible campus-based group.

There are many problems in the world and unfortunately, the problems afflicting the Palestinian people is only one of them.

While certainly a sad situation, it affects a relatively small amount of people in comparison to other world problems, and it is certainly not a very local problem for Canadians or people living in Quebec. One wonders then, why such groups as SPHR seem to see the whole world in the context of their own special interest.

Elie Wiesel is coming to Concordia to give a speech about his life experiences. If groups such as SPHR cannot stomach a speech at Concordia by a holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize-winning author, then they should at least kindly avoid exploiting the occasion for the purposes of their own totally unrelated cause.

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