Letter to the Editor: September 23, 2011
Disappointing ad in the ‘Prince’
Regarding advertisement, "Survey: The Palestinians’ case against Israel is based on a genocidal lie"(Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011):
the decision by the ‘Prince’ to publish a full-page anti-Palestinian ad (“The Palestinians’ Case Against Israel is Based on a Genocidal Lie,” Sept. 20) is more than unfortunate. It will no doubt make its own small contribution to the terrible hatred, on both sides, which continues to fuel the flames of the tragedy that is today’s Middle East.
Of course everyone has a right to make their views known, however incendiary — but a newspaper does not have a free speech obligation to publish those views as an advertisement. Further, there is no moral or journalistic obligation to publish such an ad if those views are hateful, as in this case, and particularly if they are demonstrably false, as is also true here.
Specifically, the ad states that “never before in all of human history has a people waged a calculated war on women and children, and honored the murderers who targeted innocents as heroes and martyrs.” First, the Palestinians as a people are not waging such a war. The horrible atrocities which have been committed are the work of factions within that much larger population. Assigning collective responsibility is surely itself a gross injustice.
Less important, but still worth noting as a falsehood, is the claim that such a war would be unprecedented. The history of the 20th century is sadly replete with such instances, but that they go back to humanity’s earliest “civilizations” can be readily shown by a perusal of, for example, Numbers 31, Deuteronomy 2 and Samuel 15.
The Israeli-Palestinian dialog at Princeton has, unfortunately, often been such as to be more honored in the breach than the observance, full of accusations and mistrust rather than a desire to work together for peace. One can hope that a more constructive and mutually beneficial approach may develop. If not here, where? For campus publications to decline to be vehicles of hate would be a nice first step.
Brian Zack ’72