Letter to the Editor: Student laments lack of dialogue at Arraf’s speech


By Letter to the Editor

Last night I attended a speech by a woman named Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian rights advocate, and was truly disappointed by this school’s belligerent waste of money.

Arraf spent almost two hours lecturing about the evils of Israel and how the Gaza blockade was “unjust” and “illegal.”

After sitting restlessly and holding in every bit of anger, I was unable to speak. This was not due to a lack of words, but rather because the audience was only allowed to ask questions, and my comments and criticism were far from that.

I attended this speech as an attempt to show the school that Arraf’s propaganda was far from the truth. Instead, I arrived at an extremely defensive and one-sided “show,” where anyone who attempted to make a comment was immediately asked by the moderator to stop or get to the question.

So my question is: why even bring this speaker if the audience was not allowed to engage in a legitimate dialogue?

I had the facts, evidence, and confidence to stand up to Arraf and speak. Instead, all I could do was sit there, bottle up my anger, and watch as she spewed propaganda from right to left.

For this, I am truly disappointed in Union’s policy. Every day, we are encouraged to speak freely and stand up for what we believe, but last night we were all denied that right.



A friend of mine raised his hand and stated that a close friend of his was nearly killed by a Qas­sam rocket fired by Hamas. Before he could even finish his statement, he was stopped and asked to get on to his question or not speak at all. The anger I felt toward this cannot even be explained. 

You can’t bring an extremely one-sided speaker and not expect people to debate! The ignorance! Why even bring Arraf if we cannot debate and get our side of the story out?

Arraf went on to say that she was not attacking Israel, although her entire tirade was aimed at getting people to think that Israel was illegally restricting Palestinian rights!

Thank heavens for one lady who stood up and asked a very long and drawn out question, rightfully attacking Arraf with “chutzpah” for her belief that the Palestinian people’s actions toward Israel are justified. That was what I wanted to do. I wanted to yell at her, mention and quote facts, articles, videos, and interviews that negated what she was saying. Instead, I was denied that right.

The one positive I got from attending this speech was seeing the amount of intelligent people who care on this campus. The majority of the audience agreed more with my opinions than with Arraf’s. This school has been great to me so far, but with all due respect, shame on you, Union. Shame on you.

Or Efrat, Class of 2014

This letter was written after Arraf’s speech at Union on March 7. This response is the writer’s own and does not necessarily reflect the views  or opinions of the Concordiensis or its staff.


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