This Ivy League school took a novel approach to easing tensions sparked by the Israel-Hamas war. Did it work? #Ivy #League #school #approach #easing #tensions #sparked #IsraelHamas #war #work

“You can condemn, but you also have to understand,” Heschel said.

Dartmouth President Sian Beilock encouraged students to attend the first event, which was so successful that a second forum was quickly organized. The second time more than 1,300 joined over livestream and in person, at a school with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates.

One of the panelists, Ezzedine Fishere, a Muslim professor of Middle Eastern Studies and a former Egyptian diplomat to Israel, said he “dreaded” the first forum when he saw how many people showed up.

“I was kind of going, ‘This is going to be emotional, the risk of things going out of control is pretty high,’” said Fishere. “But ultimately, although there were strong emotions among the participants, I think both forums went very well in the sense that we were capable of having this dialogue, of talking about the attacks and explaining, but also making clear that there is a difference between explaining and justifying.”

Owen Seiner, a Jewish senior majoring in Jewish studies, attended the forums. He said he feels safe being Jewish at Dartmouth and wears his Star of David necklace without fear he might be harassed by someone with anti-Israel or antisemitic views.

“I think the focus on academics and the presence of professors in the discussions has helped to sort of reduce the intensity of a lot of students feelings on the issues, and sort of channeled them towards more productive approaches, whatever they might be,” Seiner said.

Dartmouth has not gone entirely without friction since Oct. 7. Two students, Roan Wade and Kevin Engel, were arrested in late October after setting up a tent outside the school’s administration building, pushing the school to divest from “Israeli apartheid” and threatening to take “physical action.”

#Ivy #League #school #approach #easing #tensions #sparked #IsraelHamas #war #work

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