In Response to: War & Words

I read with interest Mark F. Bernstein’s article, “War & Words.” I appreciate the efforts of Dean Amaney Jamal and Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer as well as Dean Keren Yarhi-Milo (Columbia School of International and Public Affairs). Their efforts to have open respectful discussions should be a role model for the rest of the University. I was curious to see what courses regarding conflict are offered this spring.

I also noted the online exclusive and partial print article on Professor Jonathan Marc Gribetz and his book recommendations on the Israel-Palestine conflict. His suggested readings seem to present a scholarly, sophisticated analysis of the issues. His NES 544 course this spring on topics in Palestine and Israel Studies: Religion and Nationalism seems to be the kind of course in sore need currently. To date six students have enrolled in a class limited to 20.

In contrast, Professor Max D. Weiss will be teaching a course on the History of Palestine/Israel (HIS267/NES267). To date, 59 are enrolled for this course (with a limit of 60). His reading list for a course on the Arab-Israeli conflict from the late 19th century to the present include James Gelvin’s The Israel-Palestine Conflict: A History, S. Yitzhar’s Kirbet Khizeh, Ghassan Kanafani’s Returning to Haifa, and Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness. Camera (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis) writes an extensive review of the biases exhibited in Gelvin’s text.  The other three books are historical fiction, a novella and prose poems respectively. Even if this a partial list of books, no books representing Israel are listed. It seems that Professor Weiss would prefer to teach a narrative and not history. It should not be a surprise since he is the first signee of the Faculty for Justice in Palestine letter in The Daily Princetonian on Nov. 29.

I hope that Princeton students will be able to critically analyze the material in either course to elevate the discussion on campus.

Ira Davis ’82
New York, N.Y.