OP-EDS

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May 13, 2003

Israel Week covered unfairly

To The Editor:

The front page of last Friday's Maroon contained two articles side-by-side about Israel-related events on campus. One article, "Israeli inequality addressed," spoke about the visit to campus by the Israeli group Sikkuy, which seeks to promote civic equality in Israel between Israeli Jews and Palestinians. The other article, "Students mark Israel Week," reported on the weeklong political and cultural festival organized by Chicago Friends of Israel. Both events are important and certainly newsworthy, but I must object to the manner in which they were presented. The Sikkuy event, although on a controversial and interesting topic, attracted no more than 30 people, while Israel Week attracted over 200 people at its final event alone. Yet, the two events were given almost identical coverage. In addition to this, the Sikkuy article was extremely misleading. Although Israel certainly has a terrible problem with discrimination against its Palestinian citizens, it is still one of only two democracies in the entire Middle East. More than any other country in the region, Israel maintains true freedom of speech, supports a vibrant independent media, and gives voting rights to all its citizens. The fact that an organization like Sikkuy is allowed to exist in Israel is a testament to Israel's democracy and separates Israel from all the other countries in the region in which a similar group critical of the government would be illegal.

George Anesi