To the Editors:

In an otherwise routine story about Colonel David Hunt’s lecture on terrorism at Bowdoin (“Terrorism lecture sparks protests over strong rhetoric,” November 7, 2014) there were some very disturbing quotes attributed to Christopher Wedeman ’15. Apparently Wedeman believes that “the biggest state sponsor of terror in the Middle East…would maybe be a tie between Israel and the United States.” This remark betrays such ignorance of the facts that one wonders what world Wedeman inhabits. 

Clearly he does not read the newspapers or watch the news. Wedeman appears to be ignorant of the fact (not belief) that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. Perhaps he believes that summarily executing civilians on the streets (Hamas) is not terrorism. Perhaps he believes that beheading civilian non-combatants (ISIS) is not terrorism. Perhaps he believes that firing rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas (Hamas and Hezbollah) is not terrorism. 

Perhaps Wedeman’s world view is best explained by the fact that he is one of the founding members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student group that “promotes the self-determination of Palestinian people and their liberation from Occupation”. If, by “Occupation,” SJP is referring to Hamas (which controls Gaza) or the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Fatah (which control the West Bank) then fine. 

But more likely SJP is referring to Israel. If so, SJP betrays total ignorance. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and, other than some unfortunate Jewish settlements in the West Bank, it does not occupy any part of “Palestine,” itself a territory generally without consensus world recognition. Palestinians in Israel have more rights and freedoms than Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan or any other Middle East location.

Finally, it is fascinating that Wedeman states that “it’s interesting that Bowdoin gave [Colonel Hunt] a platform to speak like this.” Apparently Wedeman’s ignorance is not limited to geopolitical matters; he also is ignorant of the First Amendment. My suggestion is that Wedeman (and the members of SJP) walk around the campus and pay special attention to the monuments to Bowdoin graduates who gave the last full measure of devotion to protect the very freedoms which he and SJP apparently disdain.

Jeff D. Emerson ’70
Member of the Board of Trustees