Israeli Author Discusses With Palestinian Students
November 7, 2006 4:45 PM
Susan Nathan visited SF State on Tuesday to raise questions about the relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Israel and to discuss her new book, “The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide.”
“I am impressed with the Palestinian club at SF State for being willing to face the real issues that are facing the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,” said Nathan.
Nathan is an Israeli Jew, who hopes that through her book, as well as her lectures, she will be able to inform all people of the misdoings of her government.
“So many words have been written about the West Bank and Gaza,” said Nathan. “So little is being written about what is going on inside the state of Israel. The Palestinians have become irrelevant to their own government.”
Growing up in South Africa during the Jewish Diaspora, Nathan was raised with Zionistic ideologies.
“I was taught that Israel was constructed as a safe haven for Jews in Europe in case things get bad for us, like they did during the Holocaust,” said Nathan.
But moving to Israel allowed Nathan to view another side to the formation of the state of Israel.
“We are not educated with the true founding of the state,” said Nathan. “During the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948, people need to understand that in many cases where Palestinian villages were destroyed, a massacre took place.”
Nathan described the town she now lives in with the Palestinians in Israel as unkempt by the Israeli government. Nathan has the means to move out of the impoverished town, yet she will not move.
“I live amongst the Palestinians because I will not be complicit,” said Nathan. “The philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi is that we are not to be in complicity with evil. Therefore, I do not want to be in complicity with my government.”
“We are all responsible for the way our society responds,” she said. “Just as if you don't speak out against the war in Iraq, you are being complicit with your government.”
Of the 20 or so people in attendance, many were from The General Union of Palestine Students (GUPS), however there were a few audience members that were not a part of the group and who disagreed with Nathan.
“I became a citizen of Israel in 1999, but I attended university there and forty percent of the people at the university were Palestinian. We all meshed well together, I didn't feel the segregation,” said Heather Erez, 31, who is not affiliated with SF State.
Ramsey El-Qare, 25, the head organizer of the lecture and the president of GUPS, explained why it was so important to have a speaker like Nathan come to SF State.
“It is extremely important to have Nathan here because she breaks the stereotype that Arabs and Jews don't get along,” said El-Qare, a political science major. “The media portrays the conflict in the Middle East from their perspective and as Americans we should seek truth from the people themselves.”
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