Olive branch | AspenTimes.com

Olive branch

Dear Editor:

I learned about Aspencounterpoint.com just a couple of days ago. I too have been inviting interesting people to Aspen to speak and, like you, am hoping The Aspen Institute will help me broaden the conversation in Aspen.

I am very happy to see citizen activism to increase public access to rarely heard ideas; better yet would be anything resembling real debate.

In this case, my guest speaker is an ex-Israeli and friend-to-Palestinians Gilad Atzmon. His website is here: http://gilad.co.uk. He is coming to Aspen on Friday, July 2. I have personally arranged for his talk at 6 p.m. Friday at Aspen Community Church.

Last week I wrote two letters to editor that refer to your July 15 symposium with John Bolton. One of them invites the three of you to Gilad’s event at the church. This is not a rhetorical invitation. I am at least as sure as you are that Aspen would benefit from new perspectives. Gilad Atzmon brings information to Aspen that is truly rarely heard – and the facts and opinions he does bring are usually overwhelmed here by counteracting spin. Even if he is wrong to any degree, I am sure his words deserve to be heard and compared with those of some of the people you are inviting to Aspen.

It is very important for ordinary people to be able to create the environments here for expression of their views. I do appreciate what you are doing. I like to listen to all views – from Hickenlooper, Bennet and Romanoff to a Sarah Palin speech on the same day. I would like to extend to you directly the offer to attend the Gilad Atzmon talk in hopes that someday we can coordinate simultaneous civil dialogue among opposing visiting expert advocates.

In addition, I have scheduled a recorded press conference at GrassRoots TV on Friday afternoon. I wonder if one of you would like to help interview Gilad Atzmon? Please consider this a serious request. I had also hoped that Ayaan Hirsi Ali would do a unique peer-to-peer interview with Gilad Atzmon, but she has declined because of a full schedule. The fact that Mr. Atzmon and Ms. Hirsi Ali have both traced similar paths from childhood – but from different religious backgrounds – would make such a meeting very interesting.

I hope my letters will in any case bring more people to your event and Gilad Atzmon’s so many can be exposed to new ideas (noting in passing that even the publicly advertised portion of the Ideas Festival is far too costly for many of us).

Harvie Branscomb

El Jebel

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