Why Can’t We Be Friends?

2005:

“Instead, the only Muslims I get to hear are the ones celebrating those acts of terror.”

2006:

“I believe that the state of Israel, with its racist policies against the Palestinians and illegal occupation of their land, is an apartheid state.”

2007:

“It appears that the MSU is not interested in solutions. Their objective is to demonize Israel using false information, false incidents and false quotes, such as the Nelson Mandela quote on their flyer.”

2010:

“As people of conscience, we oppose Michael Oren’s invitation to our campus. Propagating murder is not a responsible expression of free speech.”

“The genteel, soft-spoken Ambassador Oren did not fare well during his visit to the University of California at Irvine, a notorious hotbed of radical anti-Israelism by Muslim students.”

There are many things that could be written about what happened last Monday at Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech: freedom of speech and academic freedom come to mind. But everyone else, as a look around this section proves, has said these things and more. Instead, the Editorial Board would like to make an appeal for civil dialogue.

Every year, the opinion section becomes the battlefield upon which the ideological differences between pro-Israelis and pro-Palestinians are fought out. Every year, students on both sides submit one article after another. As the excerpted passages demonstrate, little understanding is gained and the divide remains as intractable as ever. Instead, accusations are flung and blame cast.

Enough is enough.

Most people don’t expect a group of college students to overcome differences that span centuries. Few expect students to find a solution that has eluded presidents and Nobel Prize winners.

But would it be too much to ask a little of understanding?

We hope not. Because if UCI students — perfectly intelligent and reasonable people for the most part — living far from the bombs and bloodshed cannot find the courage to suspend mutual suspicion for a moment and speak to each other, what hope is there really for that region?

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