Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dr. M. Wattad - Secular Israeli Arab

It's not often you get to meet a man like Dr. Wattad. Only 29 years old, he's a powerful and knowledgeable speaker, well educated and with a rock solid commitment to rational dialogue about Israel's place in the Middle East.

Born in Israel to Arab parents, Dr. Wattad is proud of both his Arab heritage and his Israeli nationality. He freely admits that he does not agree with everything the Israeli government does, but then, who does believe that everything in their home country is perfect?

That's exactly his point. His lecture at the JCC was a repeat of the one earlier in the day at the University of Calgary, "Israel/Palestine: Self-Criticism and a Vision for Peace in the Middle East", sponsored by the Calgary Jewish Community Center and the Israeli 'Size Doesn't Matter' campaign. This campaign was designed to counter the foolish and dangerous Israeli Apartheid Movement, what Leonard Stern, Editor of the Ottawa Citizen calls a "strange, collective stalking" on university campus's across Canada.

Dr Wattad acknowledges that his Israel is a flawed country, with policies both internally and in foreign affairs that he disagrees with. He also speaks of the collective Arab cultural mindset that prohibits self critism, (example here) and which resides as the root cause of the Arab World's efforts to dismantle and destroy Israel and it's people. Dr. Wattad calls Hamas 'childish' for refusing to align and integrate with the Palestinian Authority, preventing peace and promoting terror for it's own ends.

Dr. Wattad holds a Masters and Doctorate in Law from Columbia University, and a Masters in Law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He also served as a Legal Clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel, and teaches at Zefat Law School. With all his education and intellect, he is a passionate free speech advocate who listened patiently and challenged provocatively all members of the audience during the Q&A session post-lecture.

Thanks to Judy Shapiro and the staff at Calgary JCC for inviting me to hear this lecture, and thanks to Dr Wattad for his truly fearless defence of his home country of Israel, and his rational, thoughtful approach to securing a real peace in his homeland.

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