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Israel and Censorship at Harvard. Harvard Crimson Article.

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by maverick4, Sep 15, 2007.

  1. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=519498

    Since Vietnam, Israel has become the heartbeat of U.S. foreign policy and a litmus test of what can be debated—and even of who will be allowed to speak—on university campuses. This year, the Congress of the University and College Union—the British lecturers’ union—proposed a boycott of Israeli universities and academics for what it regards as their complicity in 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. This boycott has its counterpart in a decades-old U.S. practice of threatening, defaming, or censoring scholars who dare to criticize Israel.

    Two years ago at Harvard, a social scientist who was the most widely cited in his area of study but who had, in a popular book, criticized the U.S.-Israel alliance, became the subject of insinuations that he was anti-Semitic—insinuations that were likely fatal to his candidacy. In recent years, at least three professors—Oxford’s Tom Paulin, DePaul’s Norman Finkelstein, and Rutgers’ Robert Trivers—have been invited to speak at Harvard and then disinvited after complaints that they had spoken critically of Israel or disagreed sharply with Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz regarding Israel’s military conduct.

    In a 2006 faculty meeting, Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature Ruth R. Wisse vocalized the underlying rationale of such censorship as few other professors have dared. Denying that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are separate phenomena, she declared anti-Zionism—that is, the rejection of the racially-based claim that Jewish people have a collective right to Palestine—the worst kind of anti-Semitism. For such defenders of Israel, any acknowledgment that Zionism in principle and in practice violates Palestinian rights is tantamount to an endorsement of the Holocaust.

    But is it anti-Semitic to ask why the Palestinians should pay the price for the ghastly crime of the Germans? Why were the property rights of the German perpetrators sacrosanct and those of the guiltless Palestinians adjudged an acceptable casualty? In U.S. foreign policy, not all racial groups are guaranteed the same rights and protections. Otherwise, why does the U.S. rightly defend Jewish people’s claims on European bank accounts, property, and compensation for labor expropriated during the 1930s and 1940s, while quashing the rights of millions of Palestinians refugees to lands, houses, and goods stolen as a condition of Israel’s founding in the late 1940s? As a nation we seem unconscious of the hypocrisy. The convention that persecuted Europeans had the right to safe havens on lands stolen from non-Europeans was, by the mid-20th century, as outmoded as the Confederacy’s defense of slavery in the mid-19th.

    However, what follows is the most important question for the health of the academic and moral community that we share here at Harvard: How can one engage in a critical and nonetheless loving conversation about Zionism with a community as gravely traumatized as the Jewish people? The question has become particularly difficult to answer since Harvard’s previous president publicly declared that petitions against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza were a form of anti-Semitism, comparable to vandalizing Jewish gravestones.

    ...In my country, people tremble in the fear of losing their friends, jobs, advertising revenues, campaign contributions, and alumni donations if they question Zionism or Israeli policy—despite the billions of our tax dollars paid annually for Israel’s defense and sustenance. Even the Israeli military hosts freer debates about this issue than any U.S. university does. One result: Israel has now withdrawn from Gaza, an action that Summers slammed Harvard and MIT professors as anti-Semitic for even contemplating.

    ...Thus, my concerns about Zionism are motivated by neither pro-Arab nor anti-Jewish bias, but by the fear that those who dismiss all anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism—or, equally often, as Jewish self-hatred—risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Israel’s defenders convince the world that all legitimately Jewish people are Zionists and that Jewish people are uniform in their opinions about Israel and its policies, then the convinced will conclude that condemning Israel or its policies requires them to hate Jewish people.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  2. PatsFanInVa

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    Well, Mav, you've managed to re-publish an article which, at the very least, contains in it's supposedly objective reporting, a deliberate adjectival smearing of the word Zionism, even while it claims to debunk an opponent's claim that anti-Zionism is anti-semitism.

    While I do not agree that is the case, it's curious that the Crimson chose to portray Zionism -- the belief in a Jewish state -- as "the racially-based claim that Jewish people have a collective right to Palestine."

    First of all, Judaism, though having an ethnic dimension, is not a race. Even the ultraorthodox -- who regrettably hold sway over matters of conversion in Israel -- do not say you must be born a Jew to be a Jew. So there is no such thing as a "racially based claim" of a "collective right to Palestine." (and there is even less such thing as a "racially-based claim," since adverbs used in compoundy modifiers do not use hyphens in such modifiers.)

    More to the point, Zionism has encompassed a number of proposals for a Jewish homeland or state. It is the belief in a Jewish state. In practice, it has resulted in the establishment of a Jewish state, in Israel. With luck, for the first time ever, there will also be a nation of Palestine one day. There has never been before.

    Again, you will notice that you are at lilberty to oppose Zionism on this forum, and have managed little more than "people who oppose Zionism are opposed by Zionists, who are so powerful they take away the jobs, homes, etc., of people who oppose them!"

    Evidently that is not the case, whether on this board, in the mainstream media, or at Harvard.

    As to the remainder of this diatribe: the author clearly has no understanding of the history of Israel, the mandatory period, or for that matter the history of the Ottomans or previous entities in the region. In particular, the author appears ignorant of the history of the Zionist movement, starting with efforts to build a homeland by land-buys and working that land with Jewish inhabitants.

    The beginning of the friction goes back to squatter rights, essentially: people who were pissed off they couldn't rent land anymore, which they never actually owned. Early in the 20th centuray the most vocal (and violent) exponents of genocide against Jews in the palestine mandate, were tenant farmers who were "dispossessed" by Jews who had bought the land from Arab or Turkish owners. The real beef was that Jews wanted other Jews working the land -- so that Jews could settle somewhere they could live in peace.

    Ironic, no? And a little less disastrously evil than is portrayed in this article, if a little less than the utopian dream of the early Zionists.

    It's the "poor Palestinians" because the interest for the Jews was to return to their ancestral homeland. If you had to buy land somewhere that was by and large the place to buy it -- although other Zionists formed communities of Jews elsewhere, which were accepted by surrounding inhabitants.

    In fact, many others in the region advocated accepting the return of the Jews, based on the fact that their presence usually resulted in a great deal of trade, industry, and overall advancement. But they were all eventually silenced by the Nazi allies at the heart of the Palestinian leadership. OH SURELY THIS IS A PROPAGANDA TRACT!!! A SLAM!!!

    Nah, look it up. Haj Amin Al-Husseini. Shouldn't be hard to find. Hitler ally, called to Berlin fairly often during the war, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and leader of the Palestinian Muslim community.

    The Arab League spokesmen during the Israeli War of Independence of 1947-1948 spoke openly about a "war of extermination." Look that one up too, people. Arab League Secretary General Abdul Razek Azzam Pasha. (Usually just referred to as Azzam Pasha.)

    Long story short, my friend, the Arab Palestinian community has never accepted Jews in their historically Muslim neighborhood, and there are those who are religiously (literally) motivated to destroy the presence of Jews there.

    And the response of the state of Israel - to embrace survival instead of capitulation - is deemed racist.

    Read the history of the region and the history of the Palestine mandate.

    I have a proposition for you, though, Maverick: since you are so solidly in favor of the Palestinian people being the rightful owners of Israel, would you be so solidly in favor of that position after 1900 years of Israel's existence?

    Or does their claim to the land at some point expire?

    Let me know when that point is. After all, at some point their claim must become "racially-based," particularly is Israel does to others as others did to Jews in the region. Let us say, Israel expels most non-Jews from both Israel and the occupied territories. Since they don't live their, their claim will at some point be considered "racially-based" and therefore forfeit, right?

    Tell me when that point is. Tell the Israelis when that point is.

    PFnV
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  3. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    This article came out yesterday, what the hell are you talking about? Can you stop being as biased as Dershowitz for a moment and actually try to understand what this professor is saying? Zionists do not represent Jews, the same way Neocons do not represent Americans. Why do you continue to act as if anti-Zionism is akin to being a Nazi.

    There are lots of Israeli Jews who agree with this professor, including professor Norman Finkelstein, who was destroyed by the Zionist groupthink machine. The first comment under this article is also written by a Jewish person, I guess you'll just write him off as another crazy person, or try to insult his intelligence, eh?
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  4. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

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    Now who's doing the history revision? Jews were scattered from their homeland for centuries. Israel, as a nation, did not exist for a LONG LONG time until the British decided they did after WWII.

    Your example is akin to Native Americans taking back the United States, through mandate by the UN, simply because they were there first (forget the fact that they lost it).


    In your wacky hypothetical question, yes if Israel defeated the Palestinians once and for all, and held onto the land for 1900 years, then the land is Israel's, and not Palestinian land. But in the real world, the Palestinians had their land, which they occupied for centuries, taken from them simply 50 years ago because a 3rd party said it was someone else's land from 1000 years ago. Your suggestion is also highly dangerous, because it basically means you want the Jews and Palestinians to fight for the land, and that the rightful winner should keep it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  5. PatsFanInVa

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    That is the point, in part -- although there has been a Jewish presence in Israel for all of recorded history, including after the disastrous events of the Second Revolt. In fact, the provincial name Palestrina was the Roman way of naming the province for the Jews' ancient enemies, the Philistines.

    And that makes it wrong because...?

    Understood. Well, I understand your program's imperialist and militarist's basis, Maverick. It's not a matter of right and wrong, it's which side you're on, got it.

    Okay, well, let's see, 60 years down, 1840 to go.

    Yes, the Turks said just that. As did the Romans. As did the British. Please point me to the nation of Palestine, Maverick, at any time in history.

    The trouble with this analysis, is that the Arabs of Palestine and the surrounding region insisted there was no such thing as Palestine in 1948, at the time of the second partition. (The creation of a judenrein Jordan a couple of decades before was the first partition of the Palestine mandate.)

    And then they lost their little "war of extermination" against Israel, Maverick, and there are Palestinians. I see.

    Well, they should have looked at it that way prior to the war, and taken their quite generous share of the 1948 partition. It would have been a better deal all the way around.

    Evidently that is precisely your suggestion. You have established you believe that Israel is not legitimate, because for a period of time Israel had lost her sovereignty in the land.

    You never address the fact that, prior to the Arab League's war against Israel, most of the land Israel was awarded in the partition of Palestine, was purchased by Jews from Arab and Turkish owners.

    You never address the fact that, had the Yishuv been left in peace, no partition would ever be deemed necessary in the first place.

    You just repeat over and over that Israel was established by UN mandate, thereby delegitimizing its existence.

    And then you say Israel is illegitimate because the UN says so.

    Well, what are you going to do with the 6-7 million Israelis?

    I know the Arab League solution as proposed by Azzam Pasha. Genocide. I know that neither Muslim nor Christian European nations have much of a track record of good treatment of their Jewish citizens. I know the rhetoric of the last hundred years by the Arabs of the region, and I know the recent history.

    Were I an Israeli, I don't think I'd be rushing onto the "oh no there's nothing dangerous to Jews about destroying Israel" bandwagon.

    By the way, in my earlier post which you so astutely answered with "what are you talking about," why did you not do your homework?

    Are you afraid to simply google "War of Extermination" and "Azzam Pasha?"

    Are you afraid to google "Nazi" and "Amin Al Husseini"?

    Are you afraid of history that is not quite so one-sided as you present it? Are you afraid that Zionists might not be universally perceived as evil?

    That's the history I see suppressed, as would anybody in their right minds.

    By the way, good luck with returning the occupied territories of the West Bank of the Atlantic Ocean.

    PFnV
     

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