INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Israeli Spokesman calls for end to terrorist attacks
By : Daniel Richards
To end tension between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East, the all-important first step toward peace and rebuilding trust between the two sides is to immediately stop terrorist attacks, the chief spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told a BU audience last week.
Students and community members filled LH-2 to listen to Arnon Perlman, who also serves as head of the media and communications division for Sharon. Perlman, who has worked for both left and right wing Israeli political campaigns, discussed some complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with what he sees as necessary to bring peace to the region.
“Nothing will happen, no solution, so long as terror continues,” Perlman said. “I can understand freedom fighting. But no freedom-fighter can excuse a massacre.”
Perlman also emphasized the need for reform in what he called a very corrupt Palestinian regime, one that uses peaceful citizens as human shields for terrorists. He called on all peaceful Palestinians to step up and pressure their leaders to end hostilities throughout the region.
During an intense question-answer period following Perlman’s speech, several people accused the Israeli government of fitting its own definition of terrorism, to which Perlman responded that Israel, unlike the Palestinian militants, does not target civilians.
When accused of portraying Palestinians in a racist way, Perlman said, “If you say I’m racist from those who come to kill me, then I am.” He then stressed that only a small number of Palestinians involve themselves in such violence, and he sincerely believes the majority on both political sides want to seek peace.
The talk was sponsored by Caravan for Democracy, an organization that brings speakers from Israel to campuses to discuss the challenges Israel faces as the only democracy in the Middle East. The organization also last November sponsored a videoconference between Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel and chairman of the Labor Party, and members of the BU campus.