In response to “Eisenberg: Critical factors hard to achieve in Middle East peace talks,” (Scott W. Stern, April 14), your correspondent mentions only that my April 7 public lecture at CMU was sponsored by the Hillel Jewish University Center. In fact, the co-sponsors were Hillel, Tartans for Israel, Israel on Campus, the CMU Global Studies Program and the CMU Muslim Student Association and Arab Student Organization. This is a remarkable constellation of organizations, which needed to be remarked upon.
Hillel originally invited me to speak; to his credit, Executive Director Aaron Weil readily agreed when I suggested that we invite the Muslim and Arab student groups to work with us.
One of the theses of my talk was that the conflict is not between Arabs and Muslims vs. Jews, but rather between those people in all camps seeking a compromise solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict vs. those, from all camps, who want to fight on until their side’s absolute victory. My idea was for this event to reflect that thesis. So I was delighted when the Muslim and Arab students immediately responded positively to my invitation.
Along with the Jewish groups, their organizations contributed money, hung posters and distributed information about the talk among their members and in the larger Arab and Muslim communities in Pittsburgh. Over 100 people attended, from a wide variety of backgrounds. The discussion after the lecture was lively, thoughtful, respectful and even humorous. This event would be impossible on most university campuses in North America.
The fact that these particular groups came together here speaks volumes about the integrity and intellectual maturity of this Hillel and of the CMU and greater Pittsburgh communities.
By failing to acknowledge all of the co-sponsors, the article missed the point of the presentation. I have studied conflict in the Middle East long enough to know that peace is not around the corner. But for a couple of hours in Pittsburgh recently, we had a glimpse of what it might feel like.
Laurie Zittrain Eisenberg
(The author is a professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University.)
Death penalty called for
Israel maintains a death penalty for those who engage in genocide.
Killers of the Fogel family acted on a genocidal ideology rooted in P.A. (Palestinian Authority) education.
A clamor to Israeli ambassadors throughout the world to indict these killers for genocidal murder would resonate.
(The author is director of the Israel Resource News Agency/Center for Near East Policy Research/Beit Agron International Press Center.)