June 13, 2024

For those who could not attend the first Israel/Palestine conflict panel held on campus April 4th, there was another opportunity Wednesday, April 10th with Dr. Lauren Crane from the psychology department and Dr. David Nibert from the sociology department.  

Wittenberg sophomore Sam Nitzberg organized this event to spread “awareness on the genocide that is ongoing in Gaza.” 

After a lack of statements about the genocide from the University and Senate’s failed attempt at a panel from lack of professor interest, Nitzberg decided to take matters into his own hands. 

“I felt very strongly that this was a topic that belongs on a college campus,” said Nitzberg.  

In addition to Dr. Crane and Dr. Nibert, the first panel also consisted of psychology professor, Dr. Michael Anes, and history professor, Dr. Thomas T Taylor. Both sessions held a Q and A at the end, allowing students to further understand what exactly is happening in Palestine.  

The Q and A on the second panel came with some heated discussions, as Dr. Crane and Dr. Nibert hold very contradicting views. Dr. Crane is a “proud Zionist” who believes this “conflict” is Jewish people claiming their “ancestral homeland”, whereas Dr. Nibert believes this genocide is a result of the Zionist state aggressively pushing out native Palestinians.  

They both even had different views on Hamas; “Neutralizing Hamas”, according to Dr. Crane, is part of the reason why Israel is responding militarily in Palestine. However, Dr. Nibert believes that Israel indirectly created Hamas — a response to decades of Israeli oppression on Palestinians.  

One frustrated student asked Dr. Nibert why his presentation only defended one side, whereas Dr. Crane’s presentation was “able to see both sides”. 

However, despite Dr. Crane’s stating that both sides “have good reasons for feeling vulnerable,” her message was still, in the end, very clearly one-sided: Israel has every right to enact violence on Palestinians in the name of taking back their “ancestral homeland.” 

Dr. Nibert’s own one-sided presentation comes as a result of feeling anger for a genocide happening to a nation of innocent people. Is there an “other side” in situations like these? 

“I hope the attendees will feel strongly and encourage community actions to denounce the genocide,” said Nitzberg. He urges students to reach out to their representatives in Congress to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.  

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