Perspectives clashed Tuesday in the Engineering Auditorium when speakers gathered to lecture on Middle Eastern issues, including the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Each speaker at the "teach-in" delved into the controversial topics and presented information that was suited to their arguments.
David Meir-Levi, a history lecturer at SJSU who taught in Jerusalem in the 1960s and '70s, said Israel offered to give back land taken from Palestinians and Arab nations in exchange for peace, but it was always met with refusal and conflict.
"When a group refuses peace, then pressure is needed," Meir-Levi said.
Salem Ajluni, an SJSU alumnus who served as a United Nations economist in the Palestinian territories, said the Oslo Accords in 1993, agreements which created the Palestinian Authority to self govern the semi-autonomous group, allowed Israel to no longer be responsible for Palestinians.
"Israel wanted Palestine to have its own authority because under international rules an occupying state must take care of the people in the occupied lands," Ajluni said.
Meir-Levi said peace deals between Israel and Arab nations in 1979 and 1994 were reached and land was returned in Egypt and Jordan, respectively.
Ajluni, however, said the original goal of the Palestine Liberation Organization was to have a unitary democratic state for Jews and Palestinians, but Israel refused.
Che Angkham, a senior anthropology major, said the forum was an informative event.
"Even if the information is disputed, at least it's opening up discussion," she said.
Angkham said she was disappointed that more students didn't attend. There were about 25 people in the auditorium, which can hold up to 200.
"It really needs to be the students," she said, "because we're the generation that's going to inherit this mess."
Brian Fernandez, a junior communications major, said he didn't expect to hear multiple perspectives.
"It's good to an extent, because you're having two opposing views," he said, "which is what I'm all for - hearing both sides, whether they might be wrong or not.
"It made me want to research both sides, not just accept one or the other."
Each speaker had a chance to talk for two minutes before the Q-and-A format session with the audience. During both segments, speakers interrupted each other and disputed each other's arguments. The audience interrupted the speakers as well and yelled out their points of view.
"Whether or not you are right or wrong, there is a level of respect and listening that needs to occur in order for resolution to happen," Angkham said.
Fernandez said he didn't expect that much conflict at the event.
"It almost reached a level of Fox News. It was like, 'Who's louder?'" he said. "And I didn't like that."