To the Editor:
The article on Yale’s Palestinian genetics professor Mazin Qumsiyeh (“Palestinian activist urges coexistence For Israelis, Arabs,” 10/15) is a troubling profile of recent trends in the region and media coverage of these events. In fact, this piece did nothing more than perpetuate the insidious media bias regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict that both pro-Palestinian activists such as Qumsiyeh and pro-Israeli groups are seeking to combat.
Professor Qumsiyeh is a dedicated Palestinian activist who serves both as the national media director of Al-Awda, or the Palestinian Right To Return Coalition, and as the faculty advisor of Yale’s Arab Student Association.
A quick trip to the Al-Awda Web site boasts provocative articles on “Israeli Ethnic Cleaning” and “The Occupation Of Palestine.” Qumsiyeh is among the leadership of an organization that expressly calls for the destruction of the internationally recognized state of Israel.
Further, under his supervision, numerous inflammatory articles by ASA members have been published on the Yale campus calling for this goal. While the article portrays him as a moderate and self-proclaimed pacifist urging Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, should we forget that he begs the outrageous question of “do you expect 1.2 million [Palestinians] … to remain peaceful and quiet?”
While Qumsiyeh and his associates are entitled to their views, there is no need for campus media to condone or promote agenda. In the wake of the tragedy of Sept. 11, the media has an important role to play in discouraging incitements to violence and promoting tolerance among all people of the Middle East — Muslims, Jews and Christians.
Therefore, we should expect and demand the objectivity of Yale’s press regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. There is no excuse for partiality in the name of peace.
Sara Hirschhorn ’03 and Sam Yebri ’03
October 25, 2001
The writers are co-presidents of Yale Friends of Israel.