Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Israeli writer Ari Shavit speaks at Integrative Learning Center

(Sam Anderson/Daily Collegian)
(Sam Anderson/Daily Collegian)

Ari Shavit, a senior editorial  correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, visited the University of Massachusetts on Wednesday evening to discuss the movements that have shaped Israel and consider Israel’s survival today and in the future.

Shavit was born in Israel, served as a paratrooper in the IDF and studied philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jersualem. He began his career as a journalist in the 1980s. In 2013 he published a book titled, “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel” which became a New York Times bestseller.

UMass Hillel set up the “accidental ambassador for a different Israel,” as Shavit described himself, to speak to a room in the Integrative Learning Center predominately filled with Jewish adults and students.

“I make a point of making everybody angry, not just right, but people on the left” Shavit said before he began his speech, setting up the room for his ideas that he classified as universal.

Shavit spoke about how many talks on Israel become “so polarized, so aggressive and so uncivilized” and that he strived “to facilitate a somewhat better conversation about Israel than what you’re used to.” His focus was on honest and fearless conversation.

Shavit claimed “I’m no pessimist,” but he warned that if no changes in action were made, in 10 years the hope for a peaceful two-state solution will be lost and “Israel will be tyrannical.”

The necessary change he outlined was threefold. According to Shavit, Israel needs a new concept of peace, a more unified national identity, and a stronger relationship between Israeli Jews and Jews of the diaspora.

His last point was the most stressed and the reason for his tour to American universities. He said he sees the difference in the orthodox and reform, the Israeli and the diaspora, and the young and the old as incredible and dangerous.

“I’ve become obsessed with millennials,” he admitted, and recognized the large gap in thought between the older generation of Jews and the younger. He said the weight of the future of Israel rests on the young generation.

Shavit ended on a positive note, describing Israel as full of “warmth, sensuality, and invigorating culture.” He called for the flowing of Israel’s positivity into the broken political system and left the audience with hope.
Lily Abrahams can be reached at [email protected].

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  • S

    Sirhan SirhanOct 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I fail to understand why Jewish Federations and Hillels insist on making themselves and their Jewish students on campus so irrelevant. How many people actually showed up to this event? 10? 20? Any of them NOT a part of the choir?

    No one cares about Ari Shavit… except, of course, stubborn and arrogant 2-stater Jews. Don’t get me wrong… I respect the guy. But objectively speaking him, and the proponent of his ideology are just out of touch with what the majority of Israelis want, with what the majority of Palestinians want, and with the discourse of American youth.

    Only the Israeli “Left” can actually continue to call itself left while simultaneously maintaining such an alarmist perspective and using such scare-tactics. “I’m no pessimist… but if you DON’T take my road THERE WILL BE NO ISRAEL IN 10 YEARS.” Chill bro…

    How can anyone possibly claim that the “demographic threat” is a liberal concept?

    Anyway, time for american Jewry to wake up and smell the fire rather than continue to converse within itself on matters that are beyond its jurisdiction. Let Israelis and Palestinians figure their business out, and in the meanwhile, try to figure out your own… anti-semitism on this campus is a lot more alarming than the lack progress on the colonial plan for a 23rd failed Arab State.

  • A

    ArafatOct 3, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Ah, come on David, just because Palestinians cannot even get along with one another. (Google Hamas throwing Fatah members off rooftops and Fatah members dismembering Hamas supporters) This does not mean they will not sign a peace treaty with a people who they will not even recognize. {Sarc/off}

    Throughout the Muslim world, both currently and historically, Muslims have fought with their neighbors until they destroy them. This is why Afghaniston – once home to a large Buddhist civilization is now 100% Muslim. This is why Pakistan and Bangladesh, once home to a huge Hindu population are now almost devoid of Hindus. This is why more recently Sudan, once home to a large Christian and Animist population is soon to be 100% Muslim.

    But gosh, David, now could anyone possibly imagine the Palestinians not embracing the Jews (sort of like Hitler did). The naivety of some of these Israeli leftists is beyond the pale.

  • D

    David Hunt 1990Sep 30, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I certainly HOPE the “Two State Solution” will be lost. Returning Judea and Samaria to the Arabs will only result in the entirely of Israel being in missile range. Israelis are, thankfully, learning from the lesson of turning Gaza over in 2005.

    As to Israel turning into a dictatorial state? Really?