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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

May 24, 2010

Outrageous Treatment of a Palestinian-American Student

I recently returned from Egypt and heard that the Wayne State University study group encountered unfortunate difficulties. An American student of Palestinian background named Abeer Afana was denied entry into Israel and was sent back to the United States. It is unfortunate that the academicians who were leading the group committed a blunder. They should have warned the responsible people at the airport that the whole group should be admitted or the whole group should be sent back to the U.S. Denying one student that opportunity is an act of academic discrimination that reflects on Wayne State University.

Three years ago I was asked by high academic administrators to help them organize a study tour of Israel. I was hesitant to do so and I explained to them that based on my study tour experience in Europe and the Middle East during the past 30 years that the proposed study tour to Israel carried risks. From my perspective, student safety is a must. Study tour leaders should have the experience and cultural knowledge of the area to be visited. In my judgment, neither of these issues was stressed. However, I volunteered to give two lectures to the group before their departure. Later on, due to the Israeli invasion and massacre of nearly 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, I refused to participate in such academic study tours as a sign of protest against Israel’s barbaric actions.

Nevertheless, denying the young American woman entry is common, arrogant Israeli behavior. Just a few days ago, Professor Noam Chomsky was prevented from entering Israel from Jordan to give a presentation at Bir Zeit University in the occupied West Bank. Professor Chomsky, a world renowned linguist at M.I.T. is labeled by Jewish Zionists as a “self-hating Jew” because he criticizes Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. He is among quite few academicians of the Jewish faith who are holding the traditional Jewish torch, “Let there be light”.

The sad experience that the Wayne State student experienced should not be dismissed lightly and I, among others, am waiting to see what Wayne State University is going to do.

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