A couple times now we’ve reported on the brave high school students at Ramaz School in New York who’ve taken on their school head, Paul Shaviv, for barring Rashid Khalidi from speaking at the school. Shaviv has lately said that hearing Khalidi for these students would be like playing tennis with Andre Agassi, they’d be overwhelmed. Well, this is just in, from Erin B. Mee, an assistant professor of English at NYU. Staggering report:
In contradistinction to Ramaz High School, The United Nations International School held a day-long conference for high school students on 23 September 2011 titled CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. The conference focused on the Arab Spring, and had several sessions devoted to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Rashid Khalidi and Professor Ronald Zweig, Director of the Taub Center of Israeli Studies at NYU spoke, debated, and answered students’ questions in a panel titled “The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: a Conversation.” This was prefaced by a lecture titled “The Middle East Today” given by Zachary Lockman, Director of the Kervorkian Center of Near Eastern Studies at NYU. Classes were cancelled so that students could spend the full day listening to panelists, debating, participating in breakout sessions, dancing both Israeli and Palestinian folk dances, watching documentary films, looking at photographs displayed around the school, and performing in two plays dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. UNIS’ solution was not to censor information, but to provide as much information from as many viewpoints as possible. If high school students are not allowed to learn about all the issues involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and if they are not allowed to think through the issues for themselves, we have no hope of resolving the conflict.