Forum

Letter to the Editor

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Over the last few weeks, I have read two articles, both appearing in The Tartan?s Forum section, about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Both articles had valid points. At the same time, both articles seemed to come from a perspective not interested in compromise. This really bothered me.
I spent my last three months of high school on a program in Israel. Throughout that program, I heard from both Palestinian and Israeli speakers. It was clear that both sides had legitimate points to which I could relate. I do not intend to claim that I?ve heard the complete spectrum of opinions on the subject ? that would take years. In some ways, I felt that maybe there was something wrong with the fact that even after hearing and seeing so much, I could not say that I had come up with a concrete opinion. In many ways, I was even more confused after the experience than I was before.
I think this was a direct effect of not simply hearing but actually listening to multiple sides of the conflict. I realized that everyone had his own demands, but that those demands didn?t have to exist in disregard of each other.
Reading those articles left me with a sick feeling. If we can?t attempt to have a simple discussion on the conflict between students with different opinions on a college campus in America, how can we ever hope to have peace in the Middle East? Call me an idealist, but the conversation has to start somewhere.
I?m in the process of organizing a committee for exactly this purpose: a healthy dialogue to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict, and hopefully come to a conclusion or procedure as a result of the conversation. From what I understand, there is already a committee similar to the one I?m proposing, but it is composed entirely of faculty. What I?m proposing is simple in theory, but may prove difficult in reality. I?m willing to accept that fact and deal with it, but not let it hinder the creation of the committee. I?m asking anyone interested in the idea to please contact me.

Mark Rudnick
mrudnick@andrew.cmu.edu