WALTHAM, MA- What does state building entail? Is it permission from a higher authority to declare yourself? Is it a line in the sand drawn by other powers? Or is it leaders ready to build a nation and a nation ready to follow suit?
Students for Accuracy about Israeli and Palestinian Affairs (SAIPA), a student group at Brandeis supported through CAMERA’s CCAP program, brought Dr. Jonathan Schanzer on February 4 into the Lown Auditorium to discuss the building of a nation.
Dr. Schanzer, Vice President of Research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, spoke about the Palestinian narrative and where state building has failed and why. He also covered the development of the corrupt Palestinian leadership and how it has failed the Palestinian people.
The crowd listened intently while Dr. Schanzer gave his speech. Dr. Schanzer rarely spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, instead choosing to focus primarily on the corrupt Palestinian leadership.
It was refreshing to hear a talk not focused on the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians but instead looking at the internal conflicts within the Palestinian people. Dr. Schanzer said that “the tough questions about Palestinian nationalism are rarely ever asked in Washington or on campus” and that he “was pleased to be able to discuss this important issue.”
Usually, when speaking about Palestinians, people have to connect it to Israelis. Dr. Schanzer was able to give a talk focused on the Palestinians while still remaining balanced.
Schanzer spoke about Yassar Arafat, former president of the Palestinian National Authority. Citing a long list of corrupt activities, Schanzer exposed the corruption in the Palestinian leadership and how it has prevented Palestinian statehood since it took power.
Daniel Mael, the group’s founder and current president, stated that “SAIPA was created to make sure that information on campus was accurate. The club is dedicated to bringing truth into the conversation about the Israeli Palestinian conflict.”
Dr. Schanzer, when asked about SAIPA, said he “found SAIPA to be a diverse and engaged group of students and was very impressed with the questions posed and the responses.” The SAIPA event with Dr. Schanzer proved that, while the Palestinian people may not have the most credible leadership, SAIPA surely does.
By CAMERA Intern Lindsey Rivka Liron Cohen.
Check out the following to learn more about Palestinian Authority Corruption: