A Shimon Peres Experience

Cornell University was fortunate enough to have Shimon Peres, former prime minister of Israel, Nobel Peace prize winner, and a current senior statesman of Israel, talk on campus. The experience of sitting in front of such a prominent politician was amazing in and of itself. Add to that, the well-organized, methodical speech he gave and the well thought out responses to questions asked by the student body and this was a public presentation from which our President could take a lesson. It was nice to hear about viable solutions to the problem in the Middle East like using technology, wanting a peaceful Lebanon, and the difference between Israel and Iran (when/if they make one) having nuclear weapons. His reason was Israel has never and will never threaten anyone with them. They are there as a deterrence. There were two responses by Peres I was disappointed with. One was to a question by an Israeli native who has a Lebanese friend and asked Peres what he can say to his friend when Lebanese kids can’t go out and play in their backyard at the risk of being accidentally killed by Israeli soldiers and simply because they can’t due to the “occupation” (for the lack of a better word) in their area. Peres’ answer to that was basically it’s part of the conflict and Hezbollah should carry just as much of the blame, though he did say it in a more scholarly fashion. The other disappointment was to a response of his to a question that asked what Israel is doing to fix the damages done by the unintended consequences and damages of its bombing and its excursion into Lebanon. Peres simply said that unintended consequences are an unfortunate part of war. In my opinion, if you’re the civilized government you fix or at least put a band-aid on the problems that are affecting innocent people.