Amy Kaplan and U Penn’s Anti-Israel Hate Fest

David Meir-Levi writes and lectures on Middle East topics, until recently in the History Department of San Jose State University.


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And Professor Kaplan’s suggestion is to construct a course such that its thematic structure accommodates the interspersing of pro-Palestinian themes into the course.  In other words, subordinate the classroom to the political ideology of the teacher, and structure the classroom’s content such that the teacher can advance that ideology in ways that will not be readily apparent to the students.  Professor Kaplan legitimizes the use of the classroom as a political bully pulpit to promote the teacher’s political persuasion…the exact opposite of what academic integrity demands.

Tragically, every bit as distressing as Kaplan’s enthusiasm about using the university classroom as a means to surreptitiously advance Arab propaganda and support the Arab war against Israel is her department chairperson’s disingenuous attempt to support her in doing so. Professor Nancy Bentley misrepresents Kaplan’s intentions by asserting that Kaplan did not think that such an endeavor was feasible.  But the whole content of Kaplan’s response is how to do exactly that.

Bentley then goes on to say that since the examples given by Kaplan were electives, discussions of the politics of the Israeli-Palestine conflict would never be forced on a “captive audience.”[8]  Bentley sees no problem with the politicization of the classroom, expresses no expectation that the teacher will provide competing or conflicting views on the topic, seeks no standard of objectivity relating to the course, and suggests instead that as long as the course is not a requirement it is of no concern that the teacher is abandoning all pretense of academic objectivity.

Bentley, Kaplan, and the other attendees at the PennBDS conference are not only destroying the university from within by conforming to the whims of current academic fashion and subordinating scholarship to their own personal ideologies, they are also supporting the heinous endeavor of Israel’s enemies — the destruction of Israel and the genocide of its Jews — by promoting the faux narrative that justifies that endeavor.

This is not just bad scholarship, this is complicity with evil.

Complicity with evil is evil.

______________________________

End Notes

[1]  Perhaps the most comprehensive and even-handed analysis of the conference is “The demonization of Israel” by Asaf Romirowsky and Professor Donna Robinson Divine, at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4192178,00.html and http://www.romirowsky.com/11202/israel-demonization.

[2] Others of the same ilk at the conference included:

Bina Ahmed, who has urged anti-Israel activists to “support the resistance.”

Helena Cobban, an anti-Israel blogger and former Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest,who  has described Israelis as “stupid” and “incapable of empathy and compassion for other people.”

Bill Fletcher, who regularly accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and “apartheid.”

Reverend Grayland Hagler, a Protestant minister, has called for the dismantling of the State of Israel, and who defended and supported the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based charity that was convicted in November 2008 of funneling money to Hamas.

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, a professor at Wesleyan University, who has claimed that Palestinians have the right to use violence against Israel because they are illegally occupied.

Ahmed Moor, a Beirut-based freelance journalist, who advocates support for BDS on the grounds that it will dismantle the Jewish state, and has been quoted as saying:  “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state.”

Dina Omar, who claims that Israel is “premised on the death of Palestine” and that Israel engages in “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians, and has been quoted as saying: “As it exists today, Israel being premised on the death of Palestine and privileging Jews over all others is a process of ethnic cleansing.”

Carolyn Boyd, who insists that Israeli policy in the West Bank “recalls the Jim Crow laws of the American South and the discriminatory practices of apartheid South Africa.”

Philip Weiss, a writer and founder of the anti-Israel blog “Mondoweiss,” has alleged that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is a sort of vicarious revenge for the Holocaust, with Palestinians standing in for the Nazis and the “abused becoming the abuser.”

[3]  Summarized and reviewed in its pre-publication state at http://unitcrit.blogspot.com/2010/11/115-lecture-amy-kaplan-exodus-and.html.

[4]  See, inter alia,  http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/02/bds-professor-at-penn-explains-how-to.htmlhttp://patdollard.com/2012/02/public-school-teachers-using-classrooms-to-attack-israel/; http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/152708#.T0Mxf8VSQ4v; http://news.yahoo.com/did-ivy-league-professor-suggest-including-anti-israel-063009857.html; and the misleading defense of Professor Kaplan by the chair of the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania, Nancy Bentley, at http://scrollpost.com/blog/2012/02/10/university-of-pa-responds-about-amy.

[5]  Transcribed verbatim from the You Tube clip noted above end note #3 and from http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/02/bds-professor-at-penn-explains-how-to.html; and see there for additional comments and critique.

[6]  Mahmoud Darwish was an influential Palestinian poet and PLO member who became a national symbol for many Palestinians.  His poetry often demonizes Israel and supports terrorism against Israeli and other civilians.

[7] Kaplan was presumably referring to the book “The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist,” by Emile Habiby,whose Amazon description reads:

“Saeed is the comic hero, the luckless fool, whose tale tells of aggression and resistance, terror and heroism, reason and loyalty that typify the hardships and struggles of Arabs in Israel…The author‘s own anger and sorrow at Palestine’s tragedy and his acquaintance with the absurdities of Israeli politics (he was once a member of Israel’s parliament himself) are here transmuted into satire both biting and funny” (quoted here from http://news.yahoo.com/did-ivy-league-professor-suggest-including-anti-israel-063009857.html).

[8] For full text of Professor Bentley’s response see her: http://scrollpost.com/blog/2012/02/10/university-of-pa-responds-about-amy

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  • Sami

    Learn the truth about the BDS Hitlerjugend by going to PACBI.com

    • Nakba1948

      LOL, you mental midgets thumbs-downed some PARODYING the BDS movement. How sadly representative of your knee-jerk mentality.

      • Nakba1948

        "Ooh, that website has the word 'Palestine' on its home page. Quick, somebody caller Spencer and Horowitz!"

      • APP

        You are a nazi, Mr NakBS. Why don't you lend your insights on an Arab site. This site is fighting for "NEVER AGAIN" Your people wish to inflict another Holocaust on us. NEVER AGAIN!

  • Jim

    The sad reality is that any one that discusses the problems Israel causes is immediately branded an antisemitic or a hater of Israel by Jewish people or the state of Israel. This is playing the race card as we so often see in the US by any of a number of racial groups. By doing so they in fact show how racist they are.
    The state of Israel has some big problems and in many ways does things we in the US deem incompatible with our way of life. The only way some of us know about it is the media. Sadly that same media sees the Jewish state as a perfect thing. It is far from it.

    • FriendofGaryCooper

      WHERE is your HEAD? The media is about as anti-Israel as one could imagine; just look at all the slew of Israel critics and bashers in the media. And criticism of Israel is a way of life, among American Jews and in Israel itself.

      • reader

        His head is in his sitting utility unfitted with light fixtures. His diatribe is complete nonsense and demagoguery. The entire leftist political strategy is based on identity politics, but they always blame their opponents of being prejudiced.

    • aspacia

      Israel has problems, mostly stemming from its violent neighbors. She was and is continually attacked and responds. Actually, Israel should expel every Gazan from Gaza and every West Bank Arab into Jordan because the leaders of these two groups want to destroy Israel and want Judenfrei lands. What is good for the goose is good for the gander and what Hamas and Fatah incite is a call for another Holocaust. Read what they teach their children. Peruse Palestinian Watch for insight.

      Just think for a minute about resources and all the societies of the ME and ask which more closely be identified with the West. It is Israel.

    • stern

      Okay Jim, let's consider the "problems" Israel causes.

      For a start, there's the rather obvious one, and the one that I'll bet creates the biggest problem of all for you. The State of Israel makes it possible for Jews to defend themselves, for the first time in two thousand years. No doubt that one gives you sleepless night after sleepless night.

      But fair enough, I'm sure you would rather address the "problems" Israel creates for the Arabs of the Middle East. Let's first consider the Arabs who live in Israel. Well, these guys get to vote in national elections, they have political parties representing them, they sit on the Israeli Supreme Court, they serve in the cabinet – and if they do not have political aspirations, they can live and work anywhere, marry anyone they want, take advantage of the Israeli health care system and more. Of course, that's a huge problem for you, because nowhere else in the Middle East do Arabs enjoy anything close to those privileges of living in a democracy.

      Ah, you say, what about the Palestinians? Well, my friend, I have it on good authority that the Palestinians in the West Bank (I exclude Gaza because Gaza is completely under the control of Hamas; yes, Israel maintains an arms blockade, but food, medicine and even construction material goes through the border daily, and Gaza is also bordered by Egypt, so you can't blame Israel for the lives of the Gazans, although I know you will try) … sorry, back to my point. The Palestinians in the West Bank enjoy a higher quality of life and a longer life expectancy than Arabs anywhere else in the Middle East.

      What? I hear you say. Can't be. Well, my friend, it is. In May 2011the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released a report on the qualify of life in the West Bank and – surprise, surprise, – it showed that in terms of infrastructure, access to resources like water and electricity and more, the West Bank Palestinians have it better than the average Arab anywhere else in the Middle East. Once again, a huge problem for you, because it goes against everything you've come to believe. Oh, and in case you missed it, that report was issued by the Palestinians themselves, not Israel. (See http://www.myesha.org.il/?CategoryID=335&Arti… and run it through google translate)

      So, on behalf of Israel and Israelis everywhere, I apologize for causing you all those problems, and I promise that we will to everything in our power to continue to do so.

    • Jobe

      Who is sworn to DESTROY whom? Who regularly attacks civilian population centers to indiscriminently kill citizens? Who has launched 3 wars against whom? Who in the Middle East is our staunchest ally?

    • ziontruth

      "The sad reality is that any one that discusses the problems Israel causes is immediately branded an antisemitic or a hater of Israel by Jewish people or the state of Israel."

      You speak as if this were the reaction to any kind of criticism of Israel. It isn't. The criticism that Israel receives far too often, and does indeed merit decrial as Jew-hatred, is of the existential type that blames the Jewish State not for this or that policies but for its very existence as the sovereign polity of the Jewish nation in their one and only homeland of Palestine.

      Try "I don't think the Greeks are entitled to a nation-state in Hellas, but that doesn't mean I'm a Greek-hater." Maybe there were actual sentiments to that effect in the 1820s. However, they didn't wash then, just as anti-Zionism doesn't wash now: You cannot both be against self-determination for a real nation and not hate the members of that nation. Even if you don't intend to hate, you as good as do so by giving aid and comfort to their enemies.

      There is an option of neutrality. It's called apathy. The moment you take the claims of Israel's Arab imperialist enemies over those of the Jews, you're no longer neutral. And therefore, you have no right to protest being called on your anti-Israel activity.

    • Nakba1948

      Good point, Jim. No other country gets away with *less* scrutiny than Israel in the American media. If I were you, I'd simply ignore the "anti-Semitism" charge. This is how the Zionists like to shut down debate, when they feel they can't address the substance of your points (cf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGVPBO9_cA). Ironically, the FPM clowns, through their demagoguery and persistent Islamophobia, foster more anti-Semitism than they eradicate. I genuinely feel for the average Jews who are affected by this nonsense.

      • Ghostwriter

        Please,Nakba1948,stop being silly. The Israelis are not screaming "Death to America" every five minutes. Yours ARE!!!! The Israelis don't burn the American flag every chance they get. Yours DO!!!! The Israelis care about America and Americans. Yours do not and never have. Your people want to kill every Jew and American on the face of this earth. Stop ask me and other Americans for sympathy for you people because you won't get it! You've never EARNED it!!!!

      • reader

        "Ironically, the FPM clowns, through their demagoguery and persistent Islamophobia, foster more anti-Semitism than they eradicate. I genuinely feel for the average Jews who are affected by this nonsense."

        Ironically, David Horowitz has a simple test for a liar like this. The simple question is, whether the liar supports Nazi organizations, such as HAMAS and Hezbollah, both of which overtly call for the murder of ALL Jews and ALL Americans EVERYWHERE. The answer is inevitably 'yes,' or there's no answer at all. Case closed.

      • si91

        No other religion gets away with "less" scrutiny than Islam in the American media. If I were you, I'd simply ignore the "Islamophobia" charge. That's how Jihadophiles like to shut down debate, when they feel they can't address the substance of your points. Ironically enough, the Nakba1948 clowns, through their demagoguery and persistent antisemitism, foster more Islamophobia than they eradicate. I genuinely feel for the average Muslims who are affected by this nonsense.

        • ziontruth

          Nice one, si91!

    • APP

      After more than TWO milenia of antisemitism we can sense it a mile away. None of your disguises will fly NEVER AGAIN. The Arabs are famous for making up invented everything. The truth is immutable. Israel was and is ours and will be ours forever! The hater shall perish…

      • irateiconoclast

        Zei Gezunt!and…MASADA WILL NEVER FALL AGAIN!!!

    • irateiconoclast

      Your bilge is an exemplar of the intellectually dishonest gambit that Jew-haters employ on a regular basis, to wit: No matter how clear and egregious the hatred of Jews, as expressed by disproportionate and unjustified criticism of Israel and those who support it…those who point it out are somehow being unfair.

      As you may or not be aware, Judaism is a RELIGION, not a RACE–so your credibility is shot from the get-go.

      If Israel has "big problems"–they stem from a-holes like YOU!

      The media?…seems like you want them to be even MORE anti-Israel than they already are….

  • Judy

    Jim go commit an act of sexual penetration upon yourself!

    • mrbean

      Hmmm…. Judy I am so shocked. tsk tsk tsk …heh heh heh

    • Nakba1948

      Another incisive, tasteful comment.

      • Judy

        Nakba1948's mother sure is a tasteful commment

  • mrbean

    The relentless 60-year campaign of terror against the Jewish people is savage. The torture of hostage Gilad Shalit was savage. The bloody hacking to death of the Fogel family was savage. The Munich Olympic massacre was savage. The unspeakable torture of Ehud Goldwasser was savage. The tens of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel (into schools, homes, etc.) are savage. The vicious Jew-hatred behind this genocide is savage. The endless demonization of the Jewish people in the Palestinian and Arab media is savage. The refusal to recognize the state of Israel is savage. So, to quote Ayn Rand — "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man."

  • PAthena

    The Arabs envy Jews so much that some have taken on the name of Jews – calling themselves "Palestinians." The Roman Emperor Hadrian, after having defeated the last Jewish rebellion under Bar Kochba in 135 A.D., changed the name of Judea to "Palestina" in order to eradicate all memory of Judea and the Jews. (He outlawed Judaism and renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina," "Aelius" being his gens name.) From that time the name "Palestine" was synonymous with "land of the Jews" or "the Holy Land" (since Jesus was a Jew). That is why Great Britain was given the "Palestine Mandate" after World War I, to be "the homeland of the Jews."
    Calling Arabs "Palestinians" is an effect of the phony history and propaganda of Gamal Nasser, ruler of Egypt, and the Soviet Union, haters of Jews, who founded the "Palestine Liberation Organization" (P.L.O.) in Cairo in 1964.

  • Moishe Pupick

    Th., 02/23/12 common era

    Professor Kaplan is yet one more useful (Jewish) idiot being used by The Moslem Brotherhood in its global jihad. She is an example of a contemporary Jewish kapo. I wonder how she imagines that she would fare under a Moslem Caliphate. The good prof. ought to get her tochus muy pronto to a Mikveh and start to do t'shuva.

  • Brujo Blanco

    There are those that believe they can reach out into the bowels of history, identify past wrongs, and correct them today. The Muslims want to retaliate against Jews (not just Israelis) for past wrongs. This type of thinking whether based on fact or fiction identifies a debt that cannot be paid. There are those Muslims that want to be “paid” for the actions. Of Christians during the Crusades. In our own country there are blacks that want to be paid for slavery. History happened qnd it cannot be changed or corrected.

  • maria

    Israel is only democratic state in the ME. There are 20% of population are Arabs. How many Jews live in Gaza? Zero. Where is apparteid state? It is concocted label as well as concocted Palestinians who are Arabs from neighboring Arab countries. It is historical facts. Occupation? One more concocted label. Several Arab countries attacked one tiny Israel. They were defeated and Jews liberated their historial promissed Land.
    More over League of Nation by Belfur treaty appointed that Land for recreation of Jews state. UN is voioleted that treaty. Great Britain who it was entrust violeted it. The most what about Israel's "crime" is lie. Just don't be deaf and blind and listen what Arabs saying openly. Palestinians concocted to destroy Israel. Period. If Arabs in those wars would won, all Jews will be killed. It is truth.

  • driheart

    Dear professor Amy Kaplan, I am aware of your activity in BDS. As a teacher of ME Arab Israel conflict I am frequently asked:" Do you think that Netanyahu is worse than Basher al Assad? Are women treated worse in Israel than in Saudi? Are Gays and Lesbians treated in Israel worse than they are treated in Iran? Did Israel ever suggest genocide of Palestinians? Lastly, can you comment on professor Norman Finkelstein suggestion that all that BDS wants is the destruction of Israel, that BDS is a cult. http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/02/norman-f
    This interview for me is an eye opener and suggests that BDS movement is Palestinization of anti Semitism. I am only amazed that Sarah Shulman "Pinkwashing" suggested that Israel has a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life.

  • BS77

    Everything the left touches turns to dirt……Indoctrinated ivory tower leftist robots like Amy Kaplan have no idea what is real and what isn't. I ll tell you one thing: Israel is NOT the problem in the middle east. Pseudo intellectual college drones like Kaplan live in hermetically sealed leftist star chambers….and dutifully grind out books, tracts and lecture material that is nothing more than leftist pap regurgitated repeatedly to the out stretched beaks of moronic college birds who have no ability to discern truth from lies.

  • Fin

    1922-2012 90 Years to first Arab racist anti-Jewish boycott The current bigoted anti-Israel boycotts, are NOT related to any "policies." It began many years before Israel was re-established, in 1922. It was pushed mainly by the infamous Mufti Haj amin al-Husseini, who allied himself with Hitler later on. http://freeisraelnow.blogspot.com/2012/02/1922-20

  • SECREV

    why is an English professor even allowed to teach anything other than English?

  • irateiconoclast

    Kaplan is a Kapo Kunt!

  • Eben Cohen

    Dr. Amy Kaplan’s anti Israel activities are nothing but a mere white wash academic madness and frivolity.
    It should be seen as such and totally ignored.
    She’s entitled to her opinions but Israel as a nation also has the right to be and knows how best to go about it.
    Those who put off other peoples’ candle for their own to remain; should not think that will make theirs burn brighter.
    A word is enough for the wise.