The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Strengthen standards

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our frustration and concern over the Political Science department and Middle East Centers' co-sponsorship of the event featuring Norman Finkelstein. There is no question, however, that the student groups sponsoring the event have every right to host him.

Our protest regards questions about Finkelstein's credibility as an academic. While these matters are still being sorted out in the academic world, we consider these departments' effort to lend Finkelstein legitimacy as a scholar to be inappropriate and irresponsible. Norman Finkelstein would have us believe that the Holocaust did not occur the way our parents and grandparents-those who survived it-said it did.

We are displeased with the Political Science Department's criteria for co-sponsorship, which, according to its chairman, Avery Goldstein, is a "very low bar." We must provide for diverse opinions to be expressed, but there are some that fall far from the mainstream and do not merit this institution's backing. Those of Norman Finkelstein, like those of David Duke and other Holocaust revisionists, are some of them.

In co-sponsoring Finkelstein's appearance, these departments are harming their own credibility and therefore the credibility of the University as a whole.

Ezra Billinkoff, Shira Goldberg & Max Schapiro The authors are President and Israel chair of Penn Hillel, and President of the Penn Israel Coalition, respectively

Promoting dialogue

To the Editor:

An Oct. 9, 2006 article in the Washington Post concluded that the charges of "Holocaust denier" leveled against Princeton Ph.D. and DePaul professor Norman Finkelstein "have proved baseless." So why does Alan Dershowitz continue to smear Finkelstein, a child of a Holocaust survivors? This attempt to eliminate discussion of Israel by labeling its critics as "anti-Semitic" is misleading and offensive.

The inability to fully and freely discuss Israel's history and current policies prolongs reaching a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Furthermore, by urging his audience to pressure our co-sponsors into rescinding their support for today's talk, Dershowitz is questioning their integrity and intellectual capacity.

Yesterday, Penn Students for Justice in Palestine began Palestine Awareness Week. The goal of this week is to create an open forum for productive dialogue while exposing people to some of the realities of life for Palestinians still living under the brutal Israeli occupation.

We hope that members of the student body, who are here to learn and to challenge what they think they know, will take advantage of this opportunity.

Matthew Richman, Sara Barclay & Alexis Orenstein The authors are members of Penn Students for Justice in Palestine

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.