By Alon Coret, Erin Dessau, Yardena Winegust

It is easy to look at a complex political issue and see two opposing sides, and to think of their goals as conflicting. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this seems to be the case. However, a closer look reveals that both parties have a common goal: change.

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To be sure, the current situation in the region is complicated. Countless lives, on both sides, have been lost or ruined due to the conflict. But this does not mean that a fair and peaceful solution is not within reach. When McMaster Israel on Campus thinks about the future, we see a free and democratic Palestinian state, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. We see families thriving in both countries, without the fear that their homes or dreams will be destroyed at any moment. We envision Israelis and Palestinians working side-by-side, trading, and getting to know each other’s cultures.

While we look forward to the day that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to live in peace and security, we also know that there is important work to be done here on our campus. In addition to celebrating Israeli culture and innovation, McMaster Israel on Campus strives to present balance and moderation in a sphere of rhetoric that too often demonizes and delegitimizes that State of Israel. Especially at this time of year, we are reminded of the importance of this work.

Anti-Israel rhetoric creates a barrier to the discussion of important issues in a respectful, honest, and academic manner. Campaigns that seek to isolate supporters of the Jewish homeland are counterproductive. They encourage discrimination and hatred of the “other,” adding nothing to constructive discussion or relationship building. We look forward to the day when those unfounded accusations will not stand in the way of partnership and mutual understanding based on shared values.

McMaster Israel on Campus is pro-Israel, pro-Palestine and pro-Peace. We are ready to celebrate the creation of a Palestinian state, created through negotiation, and living alongside a free and democratic Israel. Until that day comes, however, we have a choice. We can either participate in attempts to antagonize, demonize and spew clichés back-and-forth, or we can hold ourselves to a more intellectually honest and productive standard. From our perspective, the choice is clear.

Will you join us in this effort?