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Crossing the Line

In her most recent hate-filled rant against Zionism, Aimee Smith crossed the line from the merely inflammatory into the blatantly anti-Semitic [“How to Bring Peaceful Coexistence Back to the Middle East,” Feb. 17]. This isn’t at all surprising, since her previous rhetoric on the subject of Israel has been ever-more strident and hysterical, so this latest piece makes sense in that context. However, with her assertions that Zionism is “linked at the conceptual level” with Nazism, and her direct call for the immediate dismantling of Israel, Dr. Smith trots out the subtle but very real anti-Semitism that is becoming alarmingly fashionable today. Let us make no mistake about it -- these claims are nothing else than anti-Jewish hate speech. There can be no other name for casting the self-determination movement of the Jewish people as an outgrowth of one of history’s most genocidal regimes, and for insisting that the one country in the world which does not deserve to exist is the Jewish state. Clearly, that does not fall within the bounds of reasonable political discourse.

What is both surprising and extremely upsetting is that The Tech chose to publish this, and neither noticed the boundary that was crossed, nor found it necessary to exercise its editorial discretion. Clearly, not every op-ed submission The Tech receives must end up in print. Their role should be to avoid printing outright Jew-hatred. We are calling not for censorship, but for journalistic responsibility. It is unacceptable to stir up hatred while hiding behind the First Amendment. For that, The Tech owes the MIT community an apology, and its editors need to be more scrupulous in the future about what they choose to print.

Fortunately, it seems that most of The Tech’s readers are quite familiar with Dr. Smith’s twisted views, and pay them little attention. Nevertheless, as history suggests, it is not enough to simply ignore anti-Semitism, and its effects can be combated only if it is actively denounced. We hope the MIT community will join us in our opposition to spreading such hatred.

Maxim Shusteff G, President, MIT Students for Israel

[Ed. Note: This letter was co-signed by 99 other members of the MIT community, including seven faculty members and most of the campus leadership of MIT Hillel.]

Courage Appreciated

I would like to take a moment to commend the anonymous author of “What a Difference a Year Makes” [Feb. 24] on her courage and strength and thank her for sharing her horrible story with us. I thought about that account all day after I read it -- in the busy lunchtime line, in the quiet corridors of an empty lab, on my dark walk home. The inspiring self-dignity and confidence displayed by this woman in her recovery helped me to remember that it is important to be aware without being scared. I hope the publication of her account can help her and other victims in their recovery, and also serve to illuminate the aspects of our emotional and medical care services that demand improvement.

Shawdee Eshghi G

[LTE]More Attention Warranted[body]
As a female at MIT often taken aback by the lack of awareness at MIT regarding issues of sexual assault and rape, I was very appreciative of the earnest account given to educate us all in “What a Difference a Year Makes.” [Feb. 24] The article was brought to my attention by a friend on the way to class. It’s sad to think I would’ve missed it otherwise, especially since I don’t read the paper cover to cover. It’s disappointing to me that an article of such importance didn’t even get highlighted on the front page, and it worries me to think that many other members of this community might have missed one of the few opportunities to get educated about such issues. I was part of the “Vagina Monologues” cast, and as happy as I am that it’s our third year and The Tech decided to highlight this on the front page, I would’ve much rather seen some mention of this woman’s account of rape on the front page.
Mariana Recalde ’05[sig]
[LTE]Ring Map Anomalies[body]
If one extrapolates from recent history, roughly ten percent of the Class of 2006 will have done a UROP at the Media Lab by the time they graduate. So why has the Media Lab been left off the “hacker’s map” on the Class of 2006 ring? Also, Senior House and most of the buildings along Vassar street are among the missing. It seems an arbitrary decision.
Walter Bender, Exec. Director, Media Lab[sig]