This past Monday, Jan. 26, I was surprised that the presentation on the “Crisis in Gaza” failed to uphold UCSB’s academic integrity and quickly turned into a forum of anti-Israel rhetoric. One has to wonder if the grants given by the Saudi government to our Center for Middle East Studies department compromises the professors’ ability to be impartial on the conflict. The presentation was filled with half-truths and twisted facts designed to only further inflame the anti-Israel bias on campus. When analyzing their arguments, it is easy to identify their “academic claims” for what they truly are: blatant lies.

CLAIM: Israel broke the cease-fire.

FACT: Hamas never respected this cease-fire, bombarding Israeli civilians daily. Throughout the six month “cease-fire,” Hamas launched over 600 mortars and rockets onto Israeli cities.

CLAIM: Hamas wants peace.

FACT: Hamas’ charter clearly states: “Israel will exist until Islam will obliterate it…” And “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time…” Does this sound like a desire for peace to you?

I hope that the audience, as well as the students of these so-called “academics” will not take their opinions as fact. I hope students will seek out the truth and form a more comprehensive opinion than those this panel portrayed.

In the future, I expect our university to maintain its usual scholarly standards and offer a fact-based perspective when teaching about this controversial topic.