Although the war in Lebanon ended months ago, Israel is still taking fire in the media for its involvement in and handling of the conflict.
Marc Schilian, a junior majoring in international relations, feels the negative coverage is undeserved.
“While I don’t fully support all the actions taken in Lebanon, I feel that (the war) was necessary,” he said. “Many times that civilians were killed in the conflict in Lebanon, it was because the civilians were put right next to the places where military action was occurring.
“The media definitely doesn’t say everything that is going on. In the civilian list of people killed by the Israeli Army, they are not stating that Hezbollah fired a missile from the sidewalk next to this person’s apartment complex.”
As a result of this discontent, Schilian – a member of the Hillel Student Board and campus representative for the Caravan For Democracy – helped bring Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to campus.
Regev will be speaking tonight at 8 in the Baptist Student Center, where he will discuss the situation in Israel, highlighting the shared political goals of his country and the United States.
“We feel that after this summer’s issues in Lebanon and the current scope of Israeli politics in general, (Regev) would be a good person to come to campus and actually explain firsthand what is going on from a political standpoint,” Schilian said.
This address will be given while Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meets with President George W. Bush in Washington to discuss the crisis in the Middle East in the wake of several reports released that have at times been critical of U.S-Israeli connections.
According to a study released by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, pro-Israel lobby groups contributed more than $1.3 million to congressional candidates in 2006. This drove the total to more than $42 million in funds given to congressional candidates since 1979.
A separate study released by Harvard titled The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy stated, “In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year.”
This event offers USF students the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with Regev, held at the end of the presentation.
“Everyone can learn something from this, and if anyone has any questions about what Israel is doing or has done or any questions in general, then they should come out and listen to this,” Schilian said.
The lecture is co-sponsored by Caravan for Democracy and the Hillel Jewish Center of Tampa Bay. It is free and open to the public.