New Front in Israel Campus Wars

Pages: 1 2

Harvard University has been excoriated for allowing a student-organized conference, the “One State Conference: Israel/Palestine and the one-State solution,” to take place on its campus (March 2 & 3, 2012), financed in part by university resources (Harvard’s Provost and the Weatherhead Institute), located at the prestigious Kennedy School Forum, posted on the Harvard Kennedy School of Government website, and advertised as a Harvard Kennedy School Student Conference.  The Kennedy School website includes a disclaimer: “The One-State Conference is run solely by the student organizers, and students alone are responsible for all aspects of the program, including content and speakers, as with all student-run events.  It does not represent the views of the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, or any Harvard school or center.”  But it still had all the trappings of a Harvard event.

The organizers promised a conference that would explore “the possible contours of a one-state solution and the challenges that stand in the way of its realization.”    But a variety of critics defined the conference as an anti-Israel hate-fest on the basis of its presenters, its sponsors (including notoriously anti-Israel groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Committee, Justice for Palestine, the Palestine Caucus, the Arab Caucus, the Progressive Caucus, and the Alliance for Justice in the Middle East), and its content.

Not surprisingly, controversy erupted well in advance of the conference itself. Alan Dershowitz, a tenured professor at Harvard Law School, condemned the conference as a genuine hate-fest because “virtually all of the speakers oppose Israel’s existence.” He described the call for a single-state solution as “a euphemism for ending the existence of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people…. The “one-state” solution is not ‘the alternative for Israel. It is the alternative to Israel.’”

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) called on Harvard to cancel the forum: “I want to condemn in the strongest possible terms Harvard’s sponsorship of a conference exploring a ‘one-state solution’ to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This is dangerous thinking that gives comfort to Israel’s enemies who view the ‘one-state solution’ as a euphemism for eliminating Israel as a Jewish state. Harvard may have a right to do this, but that doesn’t make it right to do it. The University should cancel this conference.”

Professor Richard Cravatts, president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), summed it up best:

A conference whose goal is to demonize and delegitimize Israel is not an academic enterprise. It is propaganda parading as scholarship, and violates not only one of the basic precepts of scholarship but also the spirit of the Kennedy School, which was conceived as a place where students could debate, with academic integrity, reason, and insight, the important issues facing decision makers.

The one-state solution, far from a rational plan for Palestinian statehood, actually proposes to do with votes and demography the same thing that Arab armies have themselves failed to do for the past 64 years.

It is thus no surprise that the participants at this conference were the usual suspects of the hate-Israel crowd.

Ilan Pappé, a notorious anti-Israel Israeli faux-historian, was one of the keynote speakers; despite the fact that he has been exposed as inventing history and distorting facts to fit his personal anti-Zionist ideology. As he himself has said, “I care less about veracity because I have an agenda to advance.”

The other keynote speaker, Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada and author of the 2006 book “One Country, a Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse,” has made a career of Israel bashing.

Another participant for whom facts are irrelevant is Eve Spangler, who routinely accuses Israel of “genocide, apartheid, and sociocide.”  Elsewhere she has declared that “there is no ‘real’ history, only competing narratives.” So much for objective scholarship.

Another, Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the PLO, simply makes stuff up to demonize Israel and minimize the heinousness of terrorism.  She has repeatedly claimed, in stark contradiction to the oft video-taped explosions and destruction caused by qassams, that none of the almost 12,000 rockets and mortars that Hamas has rained down on Israeli towns “actually [had] an explosive head on them.” According to her, Hamas is just pretending to kill Israelis.

Among Harvard faculty and affiliate staff presenting at the conference were:

  • Stephen Walt: author of the ferociously anti-Israel and factually shoddy The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which many consider an anti-Semitic tract. Ironically, he was the only speaker at the conference to acknowledge the possibility of a two-state solution.
  • Duncan Kennedy: Harvard  professor of law who has leveled extreme, factually inaccurate charges against Israel and calls for boycott and divestment.
  • Timothy McCarthy: lecturer at the Carr Center at the Kennedy School and a member of the board of advisors of Freedom Forward, a pro-Palestinian, activist group.
  • Naor Ben-Yahoyada: a visiting lecturer at Harvard.  In 2007 he was part of a campaign that distributed wanted posters for Israel’s chief of staff, Dan Halutz, calling him a war criminal, and in 2009 he spoke at an Israel Apartheid Week event in Rhode Island.

In response to the criticism, the Weatherhead Center and the Carr Center for Human Right removed their sponsorships; but the Kennedy School logo remained. This should come as no surprise. The Kennedy School of Government, with its sharply skewed Middle East Initiative program; the university’s virulently anti-Israel Center for Middle Eastern Studies and affiliated Outreach Center[1]; the various anti-Israel programs and personalities at the Weatherhead Center, at the Carr Center for Human Rights and in other departments — all have in recent years promoted bigoted attacks against the Jewish state.

Pages: 1 2

  • Canadian

    You are lying and distorting other peoples allegations in order to prevent a group of sadistic terrorists from being held to account. Which means you are actively taking part in the criminal conspiracy. Considering the level of psychological cruelty involved, and the psychotic disregard displayed by this group of war criminals and their supporters, that puts you squarely in the category of "monster".
    Personal note: Please "grow" some common sens into you, YOU ARE CURRENTLY CONDEMNING HUMANITY TO SUICIDE, AND YOU DO NOT HAVE EVEN ONE SHRED OF RATIONALITY IN YOU PRO-TYRANNY STANCE.

    • stern

      The thing I object to most about you is the name you've chosen for yourself. As a true Canadian, I thank heaven we have a decent Prime Minister who stands up to the hate-filled likes of you. You don't deserve to call yourself by that name.

    • Snorbak

      With regard to the "sadistic terrorists" being held to account; Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc copped yet another bloody nose over the weekend for the 160+ rockets they targeted at Israel, in case you missed the news.
      I also agree with you when you state "….the psychotic disregard displayed by this group of war criminals and their supporters, that puts YOU squarely in the category of "monster"."

      By the way, you mis-spoke your last statement, so I corrected it for you;
      ISLAM IS CURRENTLY CONDEMNING ITS CHILDREN & FOLLOWERS TO SUICIDE, AND I HAVE NOT ONE SHRED OF RATIONALITY IN MY PRO-TYRANNY STANCE.

      Regards,

    • UCSPanther

      Let's see:

      Support Israel-support democracy, human rights, tolerance, civilization, advancement and personal freedom.
      Oppose Israel- support totalitarianism, barbarism, intolerance, corruption, regression to the medieval times and no personal freedom.

      No surprise that antisemites and anti-Israel activists tend to support brutal and corrupt dictators…

    • Western Canadian

      Again, you are not a canadian…. Very few canadians have your incredible level of ignorance, combined with your rabid jew hatred.

  • Sally

    Anti-Semites hate dem joos because the anti-Semites have such tiny peckers.

  • artcohn

    Excellent article! Harvard has demeaned itself by holding this poluted conference.A great many intelligent and informed prospective students will no longer care to apply to Harvard. The university will be lrft with the dregs.

    • stern

      From your keyboard to those prospective students' ears!!

  • Larry

    Harvard has gone from a college of higher education to a college of lower education. I remember when a Jew or a person of color could not get into Harvard. Now Harvard wants to make it as uncomfortable as possible for a Jew to attend this college.

  • 080

    Well why not? These same people are in favor of a one state solution for America. There are now some 2,000 mosques in America and the number is growing. After all, Sayid Qutb the modern guru of the Moslem Brotherhood seems to have derived his critique of the West from Nietzsche, the same place as those advocates of modernity.

  • Glennd1

    The article refers to the Jewish people's "right" to sovereignty – which is the moral basis of the debate to begin with. I realize it's threatening to Zionists aspirations to have the morality of their religious claim to land questioned, but that doesn't make it illegitimate. If one thinks Zionism is not a moral cause in the first place, then the entire history looks quite different. The folks who oppose this conference oppose giving voice to that position at all, demanding resigning in defeat as a condition of entering into the debate. This is the same tactic as demanding that Hamas accept Israel's "right" to exist as a precondition to negotiating. The very foundation of the disagreement is Israel's "right" to exist.

    I realize this is calling into question the status quo and a state of affairs that many want to preserve. But to act as though there is no legitimate moral criticism available and that those who hold such views are not worthy of consideration is just boorish. If you are so convinced of the moral righteousness of Zionism, then defend it, don't decry attempts to debate it.

    Before you call me an anti-semite, read what I wrote carefully. There is nothing anti-semitic in what I wrote. I don't sympathize with the Muslims or the Islamists at all,. But I just think that Zionism was used to justify expelling 650,000 Arab Muslims from their homes, against all international efforts to stop it from happening and in defiance of the U.N. itself. This is the very action that gave rise to Israel and this action is justified by Zionists based on the Jewish "right" to sovereignty. This is why I disagree, and why many people like me don't accept the moral basis of the Zionist cause and hold Israel accountable for the crime against humanity that occasioned its very founding.

    I'm trying to be reasonable for once. Can anyone out there disagree with me but at least respect that I'm not a bigot but rather following my conscience as I see the facts?

  • Glennd1

    The article refers to the Jewish people's "right" to sovereignty – which is the moral basis of the debate to begin with. I realize it's threatening to Zionists aspirations to have the morality of their religious claim to land questioned, but that doesn't make it illegitimate. If one thinks Zionism is not a moral cause in the first place, then the entire history looks quite different. The folks who oppose this conference oppose giving voice to that position at all, demanding resigning in defeat as a condition of entering into the debate. This is the same tactic as demanding that Hamas accept Israel's "right" to exist as a precondition to negotiating. The very foundation of the disagreement is Israel's "right" to exist.

  • http://sisec.wiki.irisa.fr/tiki-index.php casio g-shock watches

    With a little bit of care, your fine timepiece can last a lifetime.
    - things that are still in very good condition
    at a lower price. For example, the Tank Francaise Series is a historical collection by
    itself.