June 15, 2024
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Touro University Political Science Students Visit Maltese Embassy, UN Security Council

Touro’s Lander College for Men political science students visit the U.N. They are pictured with Malta’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Adam Kuymizakis (center) and Touro University Profs. Daniel Friedman (fourth from left) and Israel Singer (fourth from right).

Seventeen students from Lander College for Men (LCM) and Lander College for Women (LCW) participated in this field trip which was organized by their shared political science professor, Dr. Daniel Friedman. Both Dr. Friedman and Dr. Israel Singer, another professor in the LCM political science department, escorted the students through the embassy and United Nations, utilizing their personal governmental connections and extensive political experience to enhance this exclusive opportunity.

Balancing conventional lectures with real-life experiences is critical to the educational process. Last week, political science students at Touro University encountered this idea firsthand on their visit to the Maltese embassy and the U.N. Security Council.

Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier was reported as saying she wanted to “save the children of Gaza.” Given the terrifying global climate in which the Jewish people and the State of Israel currently find themselves, one could only assume this was another attempt to delegitimize Israel at the United Nations. And with the passing of the resolution at the Security Council, Israel’s vociferous denouncement came as no surprise. Is there anything we as American Jews can do to help? Touro University’s political science students weren’t prepared to sit back and wait for the establishment to write “letters to the editor.”

 

One-on-One With the Maltese Ambassador

The excursion began at the Maltese embassy in midtown Manhattan, where Touro students had a discussion with the Maltese Ambassador to the United Nations, Vanessa Frazier. Ambassador Frazier explained her unique role in the U.N. resolution regarding a humanitarian pause in the war in Gaza. As the sponsor of the resolution, she helped facilitate the temporary truce, making it clear that Hamas must return, in her words, “all the hostages, especially the children.” Basically, the media had misrepresented her intentions with their biased reports of her efforts to “save the children in Gaza.” The truth is, she was unequivocal in her determination to leverage the U.N. to insist on the release of all the hostages. And she reminded us, emphatically, that Malta is an EU member—a body that considers Hamas a terrorist organization.

Through this encounter, the Touro students gleaned an inside perspective into Israel’s recent cease-fire, gaining a newfound understanding of the role the United Nations plays in modern-day world events. They also discovered the invaluable role of a mediator in international conflicts, who collaborates with both sides with the objective of uncovering any concurrences they may share and concessions they may allow.

Student Tzivia Lutch commented that “While I would hope that the U.N. would do more to support Israel in this conflict, it was fascinating to learn about the process of submitting, modifying, and passing resolutions at the U.N.”

Touro’s Lander College for Women political science students at the Embassy of Malta to the U.N., pictured with Ambassador Vanessa Frazier (center) and Touro Profs. Daniel Friedman (left) and Israel Singer (right).

UN Security Council Meeting

Next, the Touro students were brought to the United Nations, where they observed the Security Council’s monthly meeting on “The Palestinian Question,” aptly occurring on the 76th anniversary of the U.N.’s resolution for the creation of a Jewish state. To the students’ surprise, many of the speeches called for a two-state solution and their sole concern was for the innocent civilians of Gaza. The lone voices of the Japanese and British ambassadors stressed that Israel has a right to defend themselves, and that Jewish lives matter just as much as the Palestinian civilians.

“The purpose of this event today was to demonstrate to the students that engagement with the sources of power is not beyond their reach,” explained Dr. Friedman. “People are people and the more human relationships we cultivate, the greater impact we can make on the world.”

This visit also displayed the unfortunate unfavorable bias of the United Nations against the State of Israel. Dr. Singer expressed that “the students felt the isolation of Israel in the hall of the Security Council. Even Israel’s best ally—the United States—gave them tepid support along with a mouthful of two-state solution preferences.”

 

The Experience of a Lifetime

Despite coming face-to-face with some difficult realities, the Touro students had a positive experience. Hillel Pinsky, described the trip as “an experience of a lifetime.”

Touro students wondered if the establishment of loyal ties within the United Nations will rectify its notoriously systemic antisemitic bias. They understand that as the future of American Jewry, the answer to the query lies with them.


Chaya Nessa Krycer is a political science major and honors scholar at Touro’s Lander College for Women.

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