To the editor:
My friend Jonah is a transfer student from York University.
Upon arriving at Western, he expressed to me his uncertainty about how the students here would react to one of the major tensions often found on university campuses that actually caused him to leave York: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At York, mass public demonstrations and intense verbal arguments eventually culminated into a threatening, uncomfortable atmosphere for many pro-Israel students, like Jonah.
This past week, I felt a strong sense of pride when my friend realized that he had indeed made the right choice to transfer here. As you may know, Israel Day took place in the atrium on Jan. 5. This day emphasized many positive contributions Israel has given to the world, while highlighting Israel’s unique culture. London’s locals also got involved, as the Hebrew school brought out its choir to add a community aspect to the joyous event.
The positive and comfortable atmosphere felt by the programmers and the people who attended the event is something not all universities can provide. Jonah was, for lack of a better word, “surprised” there were no counter rallies or demonstrations. Israel Day epitomized our University’s mission to celebrate diversity in an institution of higher learning. I would like to thank the Western student body for continuing to provide this comfort when clubs exercise their freedom of speech, and the University Students’ Council for maintaining an accepting, non-hostile atmosphere.