SAMPLE ESSAY 1: Carnegie-Mellon, current affairs: Middle East debate
A Greek philosopher once said, “In argument, truth is born.” Even though sometimes feelings and emotions come into play that confuse the issue at hand, usually an argument results in a new insight on the subject. Even if a person holds strong views that are unshaken by anything his adversary may say, he may nevertheless gain from the debate. It forces him to organize and analyze his views, leaving him with aa clearer understanding of the subject than before. Further, his opponent’s arguments help him better appreciate his views and their differences. Finally, the argument forces both to look inwards, at their character and value system.
For these reasons, I enjoy debating issues that are important to me and about which I hold strong views. One such issue receiving great national attention is the Middle East peace process. While the peace process has always been important to the American community as a wwhole, and more specifically to the Jewish American community, the assassination of Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has focused the spotlight upon it, as well as intensified the debate around it. Since I attend a private Jewish school, I often ddiscuss this topic with my peers, often finding myself in the minority. Most of them support the peace process, while I adhere to the views of the Likud (opposition) party, which opposes the peace process.
Complicating the issue are several emotional stigmas that are often attached to it, transforming the discussion from an objective one to one driven by passion. The foremost of these stigmas is the accusation, which is often hurled at the opponents of the peace process, of promoting war and violence. Often made by people who know little about the issue, this view fails to realize that opposition to the peace process does not imply opposition of peace. Rather, it implies disapproval of certain tactics and specifics of tthe peace process as it was carried out by Rabin.
Another commonly advanced accusation against American Jews who disagree with the peace process centers around the question of whether they have the right to influence Israeli policy. “You don’t have to send your children to the Army,” it is said, “your children don’t die in wars. What right have you to oppose peace?!” The fallacy of this argument is that it doesn’t differentiate between belief and action. While it is true, ffor precisely the reasons above, that American Jews have no right to try to influence Israeli policy, that does not preclude them from having ideas of what that policy should be.
Finally, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin has introduced yet another dimension into this debate. In its aftermath, opposing the peace process sometimes is identified with condoning the assassination itself. Such an identification of the man and his beliefs ...
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