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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 29, 2003

Snodgrass situation just small part of a much bigger picture

23 days after Paul Snodgrass's deportation from the country of Israel, the Wildcat has not ceased to receive letters about him, and he has nearly achieved martyr status. It is so easy to criticize Israel in a situation like this, because we have all gotten used to viewing Israel in a negative light. This has become so mainstream in our minds that when one simply tries to point out the most subtle, positive aspect of Israel, he or she becomes the whipping post for hypocrisy. There is something very wrong here. Israel has reached a level of attention that is unwarranted (whether it be negative or positive). Paul Snodgrass, as far as I knew of him, was a decent person, although I may not have agreed with his political stance on certain issues concerning the Israeli-Arab situation. But the deportation was not about Snodgrass in the least; it was about the bigger picture that everyone has seemed to be ranting and raving about in the 13 days since his deportation.

What is the bigger picture? The region in which Israel finds itself, first and foremost on the basis of its (Jewish) character, creates an overwhelming verbal and emotional pressure toward the country. It seems that since its coming into existence in 1948, Israel's inception has been intolerable to its surrounding neighborhood. People need to understand that Israelis and Jews can criticize Israel, and many have widely ranging views. Sadly, being open-minded becomes much more difficult when one becomes aware of the hostile environment Israel rightfully chose as its place of residence. Many of the writers in the last 13 days have pointed out that Israelis should allow themselves to criticize Israel. They are making a fallacious argument. What they are really saying, whether they mean to or not, is that even though Israel warrants loads of negative attention, they would like Jews and Israelis (and others) to be fair and unbiased and to also point out Israel's shortcomings. This is a very dangerous request, which itself points out the pressures in the Middle East that steer everyone away from the middle ground.

I am a believer in the idea that if one sees something wrong, they should say it. Therefore, if someone sees something they don't agree with that has to do with Israel, by all means, clarify. The world is full of problems. Native Americans live on reservations, the black-white gap in America is huge, India and Pakistan are engaging in warfare over who gets the nuclear bomb, yet the situation between Israel and surrounding Arab states warrants the most attention. Palestinian activists and Americans of varied Arab lineage seem to put a special emphasis on Israel; that is, they try to present it in the worst light possible. Jewish Americans are criticized for not questioning Israel; I saw only one article from a student of Middle Eastern descent (Fahad El-Deweesh) that attempted to bring any sort of balance to this.

Yanev Gerowitz
political science junior


'Parental figure' Baker will be missed by Wildcats 'all over'

Every so often, I take a glance at the Wildcat Online to keep up with the happenings at my great alma mater. When I read the Mailbag today and learned that Betty Baker had passed on, I was truly saddened. To see so many letters about this wonderful woman served as notice that she meant as much to thousands of Wildcats as she did to me. Betty was like a parental figure my first year on campus, and I found myself sneaking by the Fig for food that I probably didn't even need just to let her know how things were going in my life.

Betty Baker will be missed by Wildcats all over the country. She was a very lovely person and someone I am truly proud to have considered her a friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, which I know extends well beyond those immediately related to her.

Jeremy Livengood
UA alumnus


Toad tunnels shouldn't be funded by taxpayers

I was stunned to learn from Sabrina Noble's Thursday article that Pima County is requesting a $500,000 federal grant to provide underground tunnels for toads. I would find the idea funny, if it didn't mean that the government is trying to spend my tax dollars to provide safe transportation for amphibians. I'm all for ecological conservation, but the government has better things to do with its time and money than try to prevent human progress from causing some collateral damage among the lower life forms. (Is that not politically correct? I meant to say "less intelligent, but equally important life forms.") Don't get me wrong Uncle Sam should do his best to prevent people from actively harming the environment, or people would be dumping toxic waste into the Wetlands and microwaving hamsters left and right. However, we don't need to feel guilty every time we build a house or school because we might have ousted some hapless critter. Ms. Noble speaks of "human encroachment on natural habitats," but is there any other kind? Every area on the planet that is suitable for human habitation is also suitable for animals, so unless we pack a few billion people onto icebergs (penguin-free icebergs, of course) or start living in trees, we're going to have to accept that some destruction of nature is inevitable. If some animal rights group wants to spend its own money "making roads safe for toads" (I plan to make up for lost tax dollars by marketing that slogan.), then they have my blessing, but I don't want the county doing it with my money. The government has a well-defined purpose, and the last time I read the Constitution, it didn't say one of those purposes was to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves, our posterity, and slimy green things."

Robert Crandall
pre-computer science freshman


Secretive elimination of the School of Planning

Thank you for your coverage of the struggle to save the School of Planning. I am compelled to point out that, if you recall, the administration decided to save the school last spring. They then changed their minds and decided to eliminate the school in the summer, coincidentally after many of the students had left. Now they are trying to guide us through a maze of red tape to the ultimate decision. Looks to me like putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

I truly hope this shortsighted proposal will be averted, and President Likins can move on to slash and burn the jobs of more working professionals.

Ari J. Posner
planning graduate student


Mansell's perspective skews truth about ASUA

This is in response to Jered Mansell's attack against Chain Gang and his thinly-veiled attack against ASUA. First of all, grouping an entire organization for a few isolated incidents is misrepresenting the facts. With the broad hazing rules, violations could be anything, such as taking attendance.

Mr. Mansell actually proves the validity of Chain Gang's Club of the Month victory. Chain Gang has by far provided the most active and effective members of ASUA, as shown by appointees such as Sarah Calvert and Alexis Coury. The vibrant and active atmosphere generated by the entire ASUA cabinet shows that Chain Gang is a worthy addition to the UA and a leadership-building organization. There were only two nominees for Club of the Month; it's very easy to see why Chain Gang won, rather then the vast conspiracy that Jered sees.

Also, I have to question Jered's intentions. As the runner-up in the closest ASUA election, I can't help but think there is ill will toward the people who defeated him and their organizations, ASUA and Chain Gang. With some more effect, he could have been ASUA president.

As a former ASUA senator and administrative VP, Jered should know the vast amount of time and energy that goes into ASUA. And by simply implying ASUA is just another club, in this case a proxy for Chain Gang, he is doing an immense disservice to the entire UA and its traditions. I'd recommend that before he rallies against "holier-than-thou" organizations, he should take a look at his own perspective and quit insulting ASUA.

Matthew Miller
economics and computer science junior
ASUA technology director


Forget football; the Cubs will cure students' ills

In a time stricken with tuition hikes and a football team that more closely resembles a circus than a collegiate athletic team, Arizona students and fans should not fret. There is a beacon of light that shines at the end of the tunnel, and that light, my friends, is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs are returning to the playoffs in search of the World Series title that has eluded them since before Arizona became a state. I urge anyone that is upset with the direction this university is headed to direct that energy to an organization worth supporting. The time is now, Arizona! Supporting the Chicago Cubs will not only grant you admission into heaven, but in the process you will become one of the world's greatest fans. Forget about the football circus, go Cubbies!

John Lepore
history senior


Establishment Clause doesn't ban bands

Regarding the respective letters of Jen Kursman and Will Nelson: Religious bands are not a violation of the Establishment Clause. Rather, the First Amendment protects government from intruding on "the free exercise thereof." Only allowing bands of a particular religion would be just as wrong as only allowing secular bands. The Mall is an open forum for all religious viewpoints, regardless of whether people happen to agree with the bands that have been playing as of late.

To disallow a religious band and allow secular songs of fornication to continue would be a violation of the Constitutional principle of which Ms. Kursman and Mr. Nelson speak.

Garrett O'Hara
computer engineering freshman


'Sarape's Grill' racially insensitive, offensive

I've recently transferred to the UA and have consistently read the Wildcat since I've arrived. I've also read the comic "Sarape's Grill."

It initially struck me as offensive toward the Mexican-American population here at the UA. It seems its intent is to be funny, but the Mexican stereotypes, including ignorance and poor grammar, are poorly masked by humor.

Although I am not a Mexican-American, I am offended that a paper supported by an accredited university would also support such a blatant display of cultural prejudice. I am confused as to whether this cartoon is to patronize or to recognize people of Mexican descent.

Melissa Dillon
history freshman

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