Letter: Conference organizers should have taken more care

Re: “Palestinian representative calls Yale conference ‘anti-Arab’” (Sept. 2): Regarding my letter to President Levin last week, we do not object to Yale hosting a conference on anti-Semitism, undeniably an important field of study. We object to the clear political agenda behind a number of the conference’s presentations and the attempt to conflate Palestinian identity and criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

In addition to defaming Palestinians, the conference also took aim at Jews deemed insufficiently loyal to Israel with presentations like “Beyond Criticism and Dissent: On Jewish Contributions to the Delegitimation of Israel,” “Self Hatred and Contemporary Antisemitism,” and “Scourges and Their Audiences: What Drives Jews to Loathe Israel Publicly and What To Do About It?”

Itamar Marcus’ participation was particularly troubling. Marcus lives in the Jewish-only West Bank colony of Efrat located on occupied Palestinian land in violation of international law. In addition, he heads a propaganda outfit known as Palestinian Media Watch and is also closely tied to the New York-based Central Fund of Israel, which supports some of the most extreme and violent elements of Israel’s settler movement.

Finally, Marcus has spent much of the past two decades producing dubious reports claiming to document Palestinian incitement against Israel. As a colonist living on stolen land, he has a vested interest in demonizing Palestinians and preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. As such, Marcus and the views that he represents pose a threat not only to the lives, rights and property of Palestinians, but also to the official policy of the American government.

By giving questionable characters like Itamar Marcus a platform from which to smear Palestinians — who are Semites themselves — and critics of Israel as anti-Semitic, conference organizers debase the term, much to the dismay of those truly concerned with combating bigotry and prejudice in all its forms.

Maen Rashid Areikat


Sept. 7

The writer is the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United States.


  • FailBoat

    Is the YDN really publishing PLO screeds now?

  • theantiyale

    Freedom of speech isn’t just for UN-questionable characters. It is for Everyone. Yale is a University. This Is America (First Amendment land).

  • dhimmicrat

    typical palestinian arab trope: defame anyone who dares to (have the courage) criticize arabs.

    golly gee – of course there is no anti-semitism in the arab/muslim world. protocols of elder being distributed in syria, shows defaming jews on egyptian tv, the pronouncements of ahmadinejad, hamas’ ululations of jews as nazis – these are just honest statements – we all know that the holocaust never existed. it is just a ploy of the zionists.

    ••cartoons in the arab press are no different from der sturmer = anti-semitism
    ••denial of the holocaust = anti-semitism
    ••wiping israel off the face of the map pronouncements by naseer, arafat, hamas, hezbollah, ahmadinehad = anti-semitism

    when will the arab world practice tolerance for all regardless of race, gender, country of origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation?

  • Arafat

    I agree with Maen. In the future Yale should give Palestinian supporters carte blanche regardless of their viewpoint. Hell, Yale should go the Columbia Univeristy route and get Ahmadinejad here for his unbaised viewpoints on Israel.

    And, also in support of Maen, any supporter of Israel should be carefully vetted. In fact, anyone who supports Israel, even if only on a small, trivial point should not be allowed to speak at Yale.

    This seems only fair to me. Don’t you agree, Maen?