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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Students from university in Samaria to be excluded from Obama speech

How's this for petty? President Hussein Obama is going to be speaking at the Binyanei HaUma convention center in Jerusalem (aside: What a traffic nightmare). Tickets are being distributed, mostly to university students. But there's one university whose students aren't getting any tickets: Ariel University in Samaria.
In a meeting Tuesday with students from Ariel University in Samaria (Shomron), MK Yoni Chetboun discovered that Ariel U students were not being allowed to attend.

Chetboun questioned the decision to exclude Ariel students, particularly in light of Obama’s decision not to speak in Knesset. Obama’s staff have previously stated that the American president will not address Knesset because his visit “is not political.”
“The President’s decision not to speak in Israel’s house of representatives, the symbol and stronghold of Israeli democracy and sovereignty, is strange in itself and gives rise to questions,” Chetboun said. “There is no precedent for a visiting foreign leader addressing citizens directly.”
“However,” he continued, “these things are all the more strange due to inconsistency. On the one hand, the President says he intends for his visit to be apolitical, but in the same breath, he makes a political decision to exclude Ariel University from his speech.”
“If the president invites students from every Israeli university, he should invite representatives from Ariel University as well,” Chetboun declared. Ignoring Ariel University is a sign of non-recognition of the Israeli government’s decision to give it university status, he said.
Chetboun has written to U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro in protest. “I cannot understand or accept your decision,” he wrote. “Ariel University was recognized as a university by Israel’s government. In excluding students from Ariel, the American government is taking a clear, one-sided stance, while declaring that the visit is not political.”
“As a Member of Knesset who was elected by Israelis from across the country, including Judea and Samaria, I want to believe that the decision came from the president’s staff and advisors, and not from the president himself,” Chetboun added.
Student representatives from Ariel expressed frustration at the decision as well. “We were pretty shocked at the discrimination,” said Student Union head Shai Shachaf.
While the students may not be invited, “in any case we will be present in the area,” he added.
Given his refusal to speak at the Knesset as well, maybe Obama is trying to avoid recognizing the State of Israel. If so, that should be deeply troubling to all Israelis, and not just to those on the Right who supported the decision to give Ariel university status.

I don't  why we invited him, but maybe we can still retract....

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At 11:45 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

This is garbage. This man, the U.S. president, has no right to come into Israel and ignore the students of Ariel University while inviting students from every other university in Israel. Please wake up Israel and disinvite this man. he is not your savior and he will not assist you in your security. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. For once people stand up for yourselves and do something. Tell this man to stay home and fix his own domestic problems rather then coming to Israel and try and tell you how to fix yours.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger DavidW said...

Look to history as to how best to honor the office of President of the USA versus its current occupant: President Woodrow Wilson sorely oppressed the labor unions and free speech during World War I. When he sought to gain approval for the US's joining of the League of Nations, he embarked on a national speaking tour. When he came to Portland, Oregon, the center of a radical labor union: International Wood Workers (IWW), they galvinized the public to stand silently as the President motored thru the city (non violent demonstration of rejection, while honoring the then first visit of a sitting President to Oregon!). Wilson was devasted by the reaction. Israelis should consider this tactic (the two egos are quite similar!)


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