“We need to begin by acknowledging one simple fact, on one level, and some things aren’t as complex as they’re made out to be. And that is we are sad. We are sad that after 3 years of intifada, almost 900 Israelis are dead.”
Professor Jonathan Adelman of the University of Denver began his lecture titled “Israel/Palestine – Myths and Realities” with the above statement, referring to the political unrest in the Middle East. About 300 people attended the lecture at I.V. Theater last night to listen to Professor Adelman speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Adelman began the speech by talking about what he called myths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one of them being the notion that Israel is a racist society.
“Racism is discrimination that is perpetrated against a certain group solely based on imagined characteristics that separate them from all else,” Adelman said. “When we look at Israeli society, we see black Ethiopian Jews, 70,000 of them.”
He also talked about what he said was a decline in the quality of life for Palestinians, the status of women in the Middle East, and overall government corruption in the Palestinian and other Arab governments.
“The greatest victims of the intifada, of the corruption, of the terrorism on the Palestinian streets [are] not the Israelis. The greatest victims are the Palestinians themselves,” he said. “You cannot build a modern society, with democracy, global integration, rule of law, female equality, on terrorism and a cult of death; you have to build it on a cult of life.”
Adelman then answered questions from the audience. Some questions asked Adelman to provide more insight from the Palestinian viewpoint. Those who asked questions hostile to Adelman’s views left before the conclusion of the question and answer period and were unavailable for comment.
Many who attended the lecture said they came in search of either more information on the conflict or of a different perspective that some said isn’t presented on the UCSB campus.
Dori Kelman, a sophomore who lived in Israel for eight years and served in the Israeli Defense Force as a drill sergeant, said Adelman’s lecture “was right.”
“There is a more truthful and a more corrupt side, and that truth needs to get out there,” he said.
Maia Budnero, a senior biopsychology major and president of UCSB American Students for Israel, said she brought Adelman to UCSB in order to provide an “alternative point of view that is rarely presented on campus, and to bring balance on campus to the dialogue on the Middle East.”
Adelman was paid by the Anti-Defamation League to come to speak at Santa Barbara. The UCSB American Students for Israel paid for the costs of the venue and miscellaneous costs.
Adelman is a professor at the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of 10 books and is currently working on two, tentatively titled Global Threats and Hitler and His Allies in World War II.