Friends of Israel responds

Friends of Israel, the fastest growing and most active student group on campus, has been under a lot of fire lately. It was attacked first in an irresponsible editorial by The Minnesota Daily, “Middle East tensions inflamed by intolerance” (Oct. 18), containing factual errors that were later corrected in the readers’ representative’s column, “Editorials should stick to the facts,” (Oct. 30), after the damage was done.

Friends of Israel was also attacked by Scott Laderman, a radical columnist whose abhorrence for Friends of Israel has spanned five separate columns thus far.

Although we could easily dispute and counter every point Laderman makes, I would much rather tell you what Friends of Israel is really about. Friends of Israel is a campus diversity group that takes upon itself a responsibility to bring Israeli culture to campus. Our events focus on Israeli food, music, movies and art, not on politics.

Friends of Israel is proud to have members of many religions; Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai and Zarathustran faiths are represented in our group. Friends of Israel also is not limited to one nationality; it includes students from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, India, the United States and Russia.

While Friends of Israel is not, by nature, a political organization, we do believe in a two-state, political solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. In fact, Friends of Israel is a staunchly pro-Palestinian organization; we believe in a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel and have said so constantly.

Consequently, when readers pick up the Daily to find misrepresented editorials, opinion pieces or letters from radical fringe members of the University student community, it would be best to remember that Friends of Israel truly is a diversity organization bringing a unique cultural addition to campus and dedication to peace.

Koby Nahmias, graduate student, biomedical engineering, Friends of Israel