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“Social Justice” at MIT

Over the past month, two events concerning Israel’s role in the Middle East have occurred at MIT. While the forum sponsored by MIT’s School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences and the Social Justice Cooperative [sic] featuring Rabbi Weiss and Imam al-Asi has received most of the attention, an enlightening talk was held last Thursday. Without much fanfare or support by the MIT administration, women’s rights activist Yael Dayan spoke about sexual equality in Israel and the Middle East.

After hearing about both events, I was surprised that the SJC would sponsor the former event and not the latter. Weiss and al-Asi support religious viewpoints that conflict with modern views of equality for women and homosexuals; Dayan has fought tirelessly for sexual equality. Weiss and al-Asi regularly denigrate Israel — the sole country in the region that provides equal rights to men and women, irregardless of sexual orientation; Dayan has worked with Israeli leadership to help extend protection to all people in Israel. While all of Israel’s neighbors oppress women and routinely execute homosexuals, Israel grants asylum to the persecuted within her small borders.

As a result, I am left to wonder what the SJC actually is fighting for. Israel is a world leader with respect to her independent judiciary, her respect of individual and group rights, feminist causes, protection and support of racial and religious minorities and the LGBT community. While not perfect, Israel has done a better job than any other country facing similar external challenges in the history of humanity. As a libertarian and a supporter of human rights, I am left with no choice but to regularly affirm my support for the State of Israel. If the SJC really is as progressive and supportive of social justice as they claim to be, I challenge their members to support speakers like Dayan and oppose Weiss and al-Asi in the future.

Matya Y. Gilbert-Schachter ’05

Kelch and Oldja Offer Concrete and Realistic Goals

I applaud The Tech’s shrewd analysis and endorsement in the upcoming election. An involved and effective Undergraduate Association runs on more than just Class Council parties, slick slogans and enthusiasm.

This year, I am voting for Lauren Oldja and Steve Kelch for UA President and Vice President.

Ms. Oldja has a consistent record of competence and dedication. I have had the pleasure of serving with her on the ASA Executive Board. Her knowledge of student group finances and procedures is encyclopedic, and her work with the Housing Office and DormCon resulted in concrete improvements to REX.

Mr. Kelch is a personable, effective and knowledgeable leader. As Speaker of the Senate, he brought administrators in as guest speakers and enforced order in the Senate. As Senator, he fought for transparency within the Institute. His ability to get to the heart of an issue always impressed me; he is the antithesis of superficial.

Ms. Oldja and Mr. Kelch’s platform is a pragmatic list of specific, substantial improvements. Their proposed small-events alcohol policy, support for student group startup funds and focus on affordable textbooks are all excellent. You can find it online at vote.oldja.com.

Too many candidates pay lip service to the hacking community and REX without any first-hand understanding of the needs or inner workings of either. Ms. Oldja’s ticket does not have this problem; it is genuine, relevant, and practical in a way that the others are not.

Dennis V. Perepelitsa ’08