When I spoke at Yale on Sept. 14, much of my lecture was devoted to highlighting Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent efforts, through media, education, unarmed protests and other measures, to oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
In an opinion article published on Oct. 21 (“Defining legitimate dialogue”), Yishai Schwartz ’13 falsely claimed that in my lecture I “welcomed Palestinian terror as ‘productive, bottom-up pressure.’” Mr. Schwartz is entitled to his opinions, but in this regard he is simply wrong on the facts. I said no such thing.
Not only do I reject and abhor terrorism and all other violations of international humanitarian law, but I made this clear in my presentation.
This is not a question of interpretation. It is a question of fact, and I am troubled that the News would treat this as a simple case of “my word against his,” instead of doing the basic work of journalism, which is to speak to multiple sources and establish facts.
While I thank the News for publishing my letter, I reiterate my request for a correction. At the very least, I hope in the future the editors will take more care to fact-check opinion pieces, before allowing such grave accusations to be printed without basis in fact.
As for the overall premise of Mr. Schwartz’s article, while undeniably there is real anti-Semitism in the world, and while some critics of Israel may be motivated by hatred, I am certainly not one of them, nor are the other parties identified in his article, like the Students for Justice in Palestine, who hosted me at Yale.
My presentation, and my views on the Israel/Palestine question, are based on nearly three years’ experience as a professional journalist working in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza. In other words, they are based on facts and on real events that I have witnessed and reported on. I am writing this letter from Gaza, where I am continuing this work.
The writer is a 2007 graduate of Berkeley College.