Editor, Daily Nexus,
After reading Omri Cohen’s letter (Daily Nexus, “Students Should Know the Facts When Talking About Their Heritage,” Jan. 15), I was struck by what I perceived as a few problems. As a Jew who has had the opportunity of receiving a great amount of formal Jewish education and being one who has lived in Jerusalem for three years, I understand where Mr. Cohen seems to be coming from. And yet, I took an entirely different message away from the interaction of the student and professor in his class.
For some people, the use of the term Palestine implies the non-existence of Israel. This is true. But this is not true for all people who use this term.
I am perplexed that a member of the Jewish community would take issue with calling a region of land by a certain name, even if “officially” this land is not labeled in this manner. Many Jews have called the region of modern Israel “Israel” for centuries, even when this area was ruled by non-Jewish powers.
Most importantly, I find it disconcerting that Mr. Cohen reacted in this manner during lecture. The “facts” of history aside, why do we not take better advantage of our opportunities on university campuses in talking with other students? Wouldn’t it have been more meaningful to you to have approached the other student after class and asked to hear some of her thoughts on this issue? Why are we allowed to discuss some issues without fear, and others we leave to the side as if we already have the answers? True intellectual advancement can only take place through dialogue.
The university is a place to learn. Whether that learning takes place in or outside of the classroom is unimportant. I encourage all of us on the UCSB campus to strive to learn from our fellow students rather than dismiss contrary opinions as unimportant.