The Oberlin Review

Trump Abandons Precedent in Israel, Endangers Citizens

Marah Ajilat, Contributing Writer

December 8, 2017

All Americans, Jewish or otherwise, should oppose Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. The truth is, Trump is only invested in Jews because he thinks the holy city of Jerusalem is his ticket to a second presidential term. It should come as no surprise that Trump only seeks to serve himself and his self-interest. He banned Muslims from seven countries from entering the U.S., claiming fear of terrorism, but did not include Saudi Arabia, the country where some 9/11 hijackers were citizens, on that list, because he did not want to compromise his business relations with Saudi Arabia — from whom he had a received a $100-million check months before. Similarly, Trump and the American Israel P...

Alumnus Challenges Board to Acknowledge Black Birthright

Delbert Spurlock, OC '63

April 1, 2016

Editor’s Note: This letter references the March 5 email to students and faculty from Board of Trustees Chair Clyde McGregor, OC ’74. To the Editors: Resolved: The interests and policies of the State of Israel compromise the democratic birthright of Black Americans. The dissembling response of the Board of Trustees through its chair does nothing to identify and to educate the Oberlin community about one of the fundamental issues dividing our nation and inflaming college and university campuses. The issue is the relations between our country and the State of Israel. The Board is not ignorant of this issue, but it has gone to great lengths to avoid this source of campus, national and international discord. Fa...

Complex Relationship between Israel, Palestine Best Explored in Person

David D. Gladfelter, OC '58

April 1, 2016

To the Editors: To those on campus today who portray Israel as a colonial state responsible for genocide, I would ask, in the words of my late professor and fellow Francophile, Lawrence Wilson, [referencing the character Baron Munchausen], “Vas you dere, Sharlie?” My wife and I have been there, although only as visitors. To experience Israel, one may travel in time from the ancient excavations at Megiddo to the research centers at Tel Aviv and geographically from Akko in the north to Eilat in the south. One may see fish and wildlife thriving in reclaimed wetlands at the Hula Valley nature reserve in the upper Galilee; one may stroll through the narrow streets of the old city of Jerusalem, enjoy the night li...

Feature Photo: Anti-Oppression Symposium

Feature Photo: Anti-Oppression Symposium

March 11, 2016

Students gathered in the King Building Thursday evening for a teach-in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict hosted by Students for a Free Palestine. Titled “Palestine 101,” the educational forum featured talks by double-degree first-year Alexandra Smith, College sophomore Christopher Kennedy and College first-year Nicholas Kattoura. This event was a part of the Anti-Oppression Symposium, a month-long series of panels, discussions and workshops designed to amplify marginalized voices and educate...

Karega-Mason’s Facebook Posts Anti-Semitic

Abraham Socher, Associate Professor of Religion and Director of Jewish Studies

March 4, 2016

As a Jew, a historian of Judaism and a faculty member, I was outraged when I read David Gertsman’s story in The Tower, “Oberlin Professor Claims Israel Was Behind 9/11, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo Attack” (Feb. 25), which provided screenshots of several of Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega-Mason’s Facebook posts. In those posts, Professor Karega-Mason claims, among other things, that Israel and super rich “Rothschild-led banksters” were behind 9/11, the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo attacks and, in fact, all of ISIS. The first thing to say is that these were posts for her friends, not lectures to her students, and, no doubt, she intended for them to stay that way. But that...

Students, Alumni Demand Response to Alleged Anti-Semitism

Jake Berstein, Staff Writer

February 5, 2016

The Oberlin Alumni and Students Against Anti-Semitism sent an open letter to President Marvin Krislov on Jan. 3 concerning reports of anti-Semitism on campus and demanding specific action from the administration. Their letter prompted responses from Oberlin’s Students for a Free Palestine and Palestine Legal, a national organization that provides legal advice and support to students, activists and communities advocating for Palestinian freedom. The open letter accused the Boycott, Divest from and Sanction Israel movement and SFP of “falsely portraying Israel as an illegitimate, colonialist and murderous regime.” It went on to claim that the primary goal of these organizations was to “demonize the Jewish state.”...

Off the Cuff: David Makovsky, Washington Institute Fellow

Off the Cuff: David Makovsky, Washington Institute Fellow

November 6, 2015

David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute, a foreign policy thinktank. He worked as the senior advisor on Secretary of State John Kerry’s Israel-Palestine peace team from 2013–2014 and has written extensively about conflict in the Middle East. Makovsky is also an adjunct professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. The Review sat down with Makovsky before he gave a talk titled “Se...

Board of Trustees Condones Violence

Students for a Free Palestine

October 9, 2015

To the Editors: It has now been two and a half years since Student Senate, reflecting the will of the Oberlin student body, passed a resolution to divest from six companies that profit from and perpetuate Israel’s occupation of Palestine. For a year and a half, the response from the Board of Trustees to this divestment resolution was one of silence and inaction. In that time, Israeli forces killed over 2,100 Palestinians — including 1,500 civilians and 500 children — during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. During the 51-day assault, Israeli forces targeted Gaza’s schools, hospitals, factories, mosques and water and power plants. Whole neighborhoods, such as Shuja’iyya, were destroyed; generations...

Students Divided over Hillel’s Event Sponsorship Decision

Sarah Conner, Staff Writer

April 17, 2015

Earlier this week, Rabbi Shimon Brand, director of Oberlin Hillel, allegedly pulled out from co-sponsoring an event about the Freedom Summer veterans, a group of Jewish veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. The exact reason for Brand’s decision to decline sponsorship of this event is unclear. Some involved in Hillel claim the organization never agreed to sponsor the event due to a lack of funds. However, others believe that Hillel initially agreed to sponsor the event and pulled out after learning about the veterans’ criticism of Israel and support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. “I had spoken with [Rabbi Brand] a few months ago about bringing the event, and I was very clear about what it was about,”...

SFP Stands with Khattab, Odeh on Israel Apartheid Week

Students for a Free Palestine

March 6, 2015

Content Warning: This letter contains references to torture and sexual assault. To the Editors: Lina Khattab is not much different from an Oberlin student. She is 18 years old, studies media at university, dances and is politically active on campus in protesting the Israeli occupation. On Dec. 13, 2014, Khattab was protesting against Israel’s holding of Palestinian political prisoners. She was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Israeli soldiers. During her detainment, soldiers frequently woke her in the middle of the night to keep her sleep-deprived before appearing in Israeli military court. They placed her in a freezing cold room with the air conditioner blasting in the middle of a freezing winter. Khatta...

Katlin Letter Distorts UIUC Motives in Salaita Case

Jade Schiff, Politics department

February 27, 2015

To the Editors: In their letter in last week’s Review, Andrew and Fisher Katlin distorted both my views and the issues at stake in Steven Salaita’s treatment by UIUC. The Katlins are correct that mine was not a balanced argument. I believe UIUC’s handling of the case was unambiguously wrong. Salaita has plenty of critics, and they are free to make their case, as the Katlins have attempted to do. However, I made no implicit or explicit reference to Salaita’s First Amendment rights, as they claim that I did. I don’t see these rights as the source of the controversy at all. No one, to my knowledge, has claimed that Salaita did not have the right to say what he said, however offensive it might be. He was n...

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