Letters to the Editor

Don’t excuse McKinney

Paul Kendrick’s piece “Crashing at the Capitol” (April 13, p. 4) is probably the most ridiculous thing the Hatchet has published this year. His bizarre attempt to justify Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s criminal assault on a police officer stinks of the same self-loathing evidence used by white liberals in any situation when race surfaces as an issue.

It is clear that McKinney has a chip on her shoulder – she has a history of at least five confrontations with the United States Capitol Police. McKinney is so widely regarded as a liability that no other Democrats attended her news conference following her latest run-in with security. It was surprising to me that Kendrick would go so far in defending McKinney as to call her assault on the officer “a woman’s instinct,” especially after she backed off from her initial charges of racial profiling.

Finally, I am disgusted by Kendrick’s discussion of “truths,” plural. Of all the postmodern crap we undergraduates have to slog through in order to get a diploma, this re-labeling of opinions and excuses as “truths” is certainly the most tiresome. No amount of “cultural baggage” justifies attacking someone for doing his job, and no amount of “deeper cultural understandings” should allow us to excuse her obvious and potentially criminal misconduct.

One need only read Kendrick’s declaration that he constantly questions himself about the things he says and does, “especially if they would go against the views of members of any race or ethnicity” to understand that he has left objectivity and rationality by the wayside.

-Matt Taylor, junior

Don’t blame race

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s decision to accuse a Capitol Police officer of being racist is as outrageous as it is insulting. It is telling that not once in her ubiquitous media appearances has the congresswoman discussed the facts of the case: unrecognized, she bypassed a security checkpoint in the Longworth House Office Building, failed to respond to repeated requests to identify herself and proceeded to assault an officer when stopped.

If race truly had been a factor, are we to assume that if Congresswoman McKinney were a white woman, the officer would have waved her past security without confirming her identity? The congresswoman should take responsibility for her actions and apologize to the Capitol Police, who everyday put their lives on the line.

-Adam J. Schmidt, alumnus

Admit your mistake

Executive Director of GW Hillel Robert Fishman’s piece in the Hatchet (“Unmasking extremism,” April 10, p. 5) was a shameful reaffirmation of his blatant disregard for the importance of true and honest dialog in the Palestinian-Israeli context.

Fishman referred to an e-mail sent to the entire Hillel listserv as “an

unfortunate characterization of one of the lead activists, Fadi Kiblawi, and has overshadowed the issue.” Fishman cannot refuse to apologize for his outright slander of Kiblawi; slander that included other false accusations that Kiblawi “is considered a terrorist by the state of Israel and has been convicted of crimes in both Israel and the United States.”

Fishman says the divestment campaign “serves the lone purpose of driving wedges between people, and places those people squarely on the side of groups that call for Israel’s destruction – such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others.” Yet again, Fishman unabashedly attempts to distract the GW community from the message of divestment with allegations, albeit indirect, of terrorism. These attempts are destined to be unsuccessful.

Students for Justice in Palestine’s first-ever divestment event was attended by more than 200 students eager to hear about the attempts to pressure Israel to end its apartheid policies through a rapidly growing divestment campaign. Fishman’s attempt to silence Students for Justice in Palestine, through outright slander and accusations of “extremism,” are unjustified and ineffectual.

The campaign to end this University’s financial support of an ethnocratic apartheid state that commits daily human rights violations against the Palestinian population is in no way extreme. Fishman’s attempt to silence this campaign through false accusations and character attacks, however, truly is.

-Leila Taha, sophomore and president of Students for Justice in Palestine

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