November 25, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Speak Up and Take Action

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To the Editor:

Re: “Drowning Out Discourse on Gaza,” Opinion, Nov. 20

In your editorial bemoaning Monday’s demonstration on Ho Plaza, you ask the two sides of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to turn down the volume so that you and other middle-of-the-roaders can be given a chance to “listen.” You point at CIPAC and SJP and cry “radicalism,” then you burrow into a hole, cover your ears, spit out an editorial and try to drown it all out.“We are not naïve,” you write. And you aren’t. You’re just cowardly. You ask those who shout their opinions to use their inside voices so that you can have some quiet time to think. Instead, you should sack up and speak out yourself.I agree with you that the moderate voice on this campus is all but mute. Yet I disagree with pointing a finger at those who do speak out as the impetus for this silence. Claiming, for example, that “[The ‘Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel’] signs made clear that the many students who are opposed to the Israeli government’s actions, but are otherwise supporters of Israel and its people, are not welcome in the greater Jewish presence on campus” is patently false. It also exposes the central problem with your point of view. If you truly believe that the message of the Israel supporters on Ho Plaza Monday was “if you don’t stand with Israel on this singular issue, you can’t be a part of the Jewish community,” you are sorely mistaken. The message was: These people stand with Israel today and now. No more, no less. Your extrapolation into the realm of exclusionism is a way for you and the otherwise silent moderates to excuse themselves from the debate.Calling people’s beliefs radical and their actions exclusionary does nothing. You would have much more faithfully filled the space of your editorial column had your piece been a call to action for the moderates who made no attempt to make their opinions known.  The onus is on you to take action, not to wait until things have quieted down and it’s finally convenient for you to speak up.

Eli Grossman ’13