Professor speaks on impact of conflict

Former Israeli Minister of Education Yuli Tamir, Steinhardt professor, said xenophobia and paranoia among people in Palestine contribute to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

At a lecture on Oct. 22 in the Washington Mews, Tamir said people with Arab names phoned companies for career opportunities, but were turned down due to a lack of job availability. Merely minutes later, however, people with Jewish names phoned the same companies and were able to successfully interview for a job.

She also discussed the ways the conflict impacted children in classrooms in the region.

“When what you hear outside of class conflicts with what you hear within class, what you hear outside dominates,” Tamir said.

LS freshman Barrie Knapp attended the lecture and said only a limited number of people outside of Israel realize how prevalent the impact of the conflict is.

“I think that if you haven’t been to Israel, you’re not really exposed to that,” Knapp said. “I went to Israel for the first time this summer, and I was really shocked by the disparity that was present because I had no idea that it existed before.”

LS freshman Becky Shams, who also attended the event, said Tamir’s stance on the issue was refreshing.

“I think it’s amazing how an Israeli can speak about these issues without siding with the classic orthodox approach of ‘it’s our state, it’s our land,’ and instead say that we’re a bipartisan land, that we indulge in the same things as Palestinians,” Shams said.

Students for Justice in Palestine at NYU said Tamir did not address the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Former Israeli Education Minister Tamir poses the question of whether Arab/Jewish coexistence is possible in Israel, obscuring a much more important question: ‘What are the barriers to coexistence in Israel/Palestine and how can they be overcome?’” SJP said in a statement. “Israel must stop using ethnic categories to define membership to the state. A truly democratic Israel/Palestine will be one in which every individual, whether Jewish, Israeli or Palestinian, is equal.”

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 23 print edition. Shirley Foo is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]