Izzeldin Abuelaish, the Gaza doctor whose three daughters were killed by the Israelis during the Gaza onslaught of '08-'09 and who wrote a book about it called, I Shall Not Hate, will speak at Cooper Union in New York on March 7. I know because a friend invited me. It's not up on their website yet.
That's because Cooper Union just scheduled it. Abuelaish was supposed to appear at the 92d Street Y that same night, and the event was canceled. From their webpage:
Faces of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Loss and Forgiveness
Izzeldin Abuelaish and Laura Blumenfeld with Christiane Amanpour
In 2009, Palestinian doctor and Israeli television personality Izzeldin Abuelaish lost three of his daughters during a Gaza raid. In 1986, a Palestinian terrorist shot author Laura Blumenfeld's father. Abuelaish and Blumenfeld discuss with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour how—despite such personal tragedy on both sides of the conflict—we can find common ground and political solutions.
Date & Time: Mon, Mar 7, 2011
Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Directions Venue: Buttenwieser Hall
Then it says, "This event is no longer available." What's the story? I called Beverly Greenfield of the 92d St Y and she said that Laura Blumenfeld (whose book about her father came out 8 years ago) had dropped out of the event and "we couldn't find anyone to replace her that everyone could agree on." She explained, "The original vision of the panel was that there would be people on both sides of the issue talking about loss and forgiveness."
Greenfield didn't know why Blumenfeld had dropped out and said she wasn't a party to the debate over alternate guests.
I said to Greenfield, Why is the Cooper Union able to give a platform to Abuelaish and you can't? She said that the 92d Street Y does programming "across the board, with a huge variety of points of view."
I said, But it seems like you can only present this man whose three daughters were killed two years ago in Gaza if there's a Jewish woman whose father was wounded 25 years ago on stage with him. Why does his story require "context"? Greenfield said that actually the 92d Street Y has presented many people on both sides of this issue.
"Is there any time that you have presented just the Palestinian side on stage?" I said.
Greenfield said she didn't know.
I got upset. "Don't you see how this must seem? You can only let this man tell his story if there's a Jewish woman on the stage with him, but Cooper Union has no problem with that." Greenfield was very patient with me. She said that it was just in this particular situation, the panel did not work out.
Again I asked if the 92d Street Y has ever presented the Palestinian "side" without countering it; Greenfield said she did not know.