Israeli Policies


To the Editors of The Crimson:

One of the by-products of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the considerable attention to Israeli policies and practices offered in the media, has been a significant change in the attitude of Americans to the Israeli-Arab conflict. For the first time, in a movement that is nationwide and that is grassroots in character, the taboo has been lifted from the discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict.

In scores of meetings, teach-ins, lectures, articles, letters to newspapers, people have expressed their alarm over the course of events in this summer of 1982. They have expressed a basic and fundamental right to know what is at the root of problems that appear to be endemic to the region and chronic to relations between Israel and the Palestinians. This nationwide opening has charged the nature of the discussion of the Middle East. It has become possible to deal with the Israeli Palestinian conflict as a national conflict involving state power and not simply a conflict mystified in apolitical terms that preclude discussion and forbid questioning.

This is a turn of events that should be fostered. It represents a dimension of intellectual criticism that ought to be encouraged. It represents also a dimension of intellectual freedom that has not been characteristic of the discussion of this subject for a long time.

It is regrettable that those who have criticized the effect of "Common Ground" to walk this path and to that ought to be an integral part of university life don't understand what is at stake in sabotaging such efforts under a band of rebels and facile classifications of people and positions. But perhaps they do. If so, they might consider the comments made by an Israeli writer on the subject of "How Democracy Can be Distorted."

The remarks by latti Megged appear in the Oct. 9. 1982 issue of The Nation. They deal with Israeli censorship on the West Bank. Their implications are appropriate elsewhere Megged concluded his article with an appeal. Those concerned with freedom of expression, with "the right of people to control their culture and education, about the dignity of human beings, should start here with the issue of censorship. This should be the first commitment of intellectuals and writers." Prof. Irene L. Gendzier Boston University