Israeli Ambassador Offers to Go Back to Irvine

March 10, 2010

Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, says he hasn't given up on the University of California at Irvine. His appearance at Irvine last month set off a wide debate about civility and protest when his talk was repeatedly interrupted by protesters. Now Oren has published an open letter in the university's student newspaper offering to come back to Irvine. "I came to UCI for the opportunity to exchange ideas — a reasonable intention that was hijacked by a minority of students. The disruptive measures exhibited by these students only underscore the importance for dialogue, especially on the frontline of higher learning," Oren wrote. "I would willingly return to your campus and meet with those individuals whose views may not agree with mine as long as we respect the decorum of dialogue and free speech. Middle East issues are not devoid of emotion or nuance. Only with respect and sensitivity from all sides can we attain the conditions necessary to tackle one of the great issues of our time and realize the vision of peace."

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