Medialens tells us that the Zionist lobby does it again! Are we surprised?
Oh yes, when was it last all Western leaders praised freedom of expression by walking through Paris? Will even one of them now stand up and demand that this conference be held anyhow?
What is it the West’s academic community boats about in comparison with other cultures – isn’t it freedom of our universities, the free search for knowledge and the right to express differing opinions on analytical issues – in contrast to politically controlled academic work?
Why is it that practically every derogatory terms can freely be used about, say, Russians, Serbs, Muslims, Iranians etc. and their countries without anyone raising an eyebrow?
Why do Zionists again and again promote a censorship that undermines the finest principles (ideally speaking) of Western culture in order to stop debates about Israel?
And how much anti-Semitism do Zionists risk/want to produce by actions such as forcing this conference to be cancelled?
I can’t speak about Britain, but your views are pretty well off when it comes to most US universities. “West” is a big word. I suspect much of Europe has universities that generally side with Palestinians in the conflict.
Speaking from personal experience from a respected US university, it was open season on Israel and Zionism within the Political Science, Near Eastern Studies, and Religion departments. A token Israeli would be invited to debate four to five others at the colloquiums and typically just be talked or yelled over.
Implying that Israel controls the narrative in the western university system is laughable.
Also, the idea that derogatory terms can be used freely against Arabs and Persians in our academic forums is preposterous.
Where did you attend university?
Thanks, Jeremiah. J. Dodd – I appreciate your comments but we don’t agree and that is fine too. I should have made it clear that when I talked about derogatory claims, I was continuing the general line, also with the ref to the Paris demonstration – since that did not relate specifically to the universities only. Sorry for not being clear. I have my PhD from Lund University in Sweden and I’ve been a visiting professor and scholar in a number of countries in and outside the West. It is basically always the same story, more or less. Im sure you are right that there are Israelis who have been placed in an unfair situation too as you say – however, in the concrete case it remains a shame of huge proportions to demand the conference cancelled.
Finally, a wonderful example just comes to mind: do you remember how Dr. Bollinger, the the president of Harvard University – I guess you’d call it resepcted – treated Iran’s President Ahmedinejad some years ago? I don’t have to tell you, I hope, that Ahmedinejad was not my cup of tea, to say the least, but how was that welcome shaped – and how was the debate up to the event. Few noticed it because it was soooo natural to do that to a person from Iran whereas the same University President probably would have received Mr. Netanyahu with a minimum of decency and courtesy. – Jan
Many believe the decades-old Israel-Palestine struggle is largely responsible – the source – for the horrific historic violence and suffering in the Middle East. Successfully resolving that critical struggle through conferences and dialogue is clearly much, much less dangerous than more divisions-intensifying, heart-shattering military escalation.
I also believe it to be a critical issue. However I also believe that we should not be naive. When the Cold War ended in Europe and the old Eastern block and the Soviet collapsed, many thought that would end conflict in Europe, but the opposite was the case. A lot of “old” and hidded conflicts suddenly sprang into life when the trusted deterrence vanished. The same thing may happen in the Middle East. I was born and raised in North Africa and that place is home to numerous age-old conflicts that rarely get Western attention (except when they end in visible and violent revolutions such as in Libya and Syria – both of which can be traced to ethnic strife over decades if not centuries), and I can identify plenty of potential hot spots. Without doubt the Israel-Palestine struggle needs to be resolved, but a lot of Middle East authoritarian regimes has used this struggle as an excuse to cover up own persecutions of minorities. The lesson from the fall of the Soviet Union is that these “hidden” struggles should be observed and be addressed in parallel with resolving the Israel-Palestine tragedy.
Thank you for your reply. The United Nations falls short of its potential for reducing war and violence. The yearly UN meetings where the world’s leaders have the opportunity to address the General Assembly are positive from the standpoint of increased communication of ideas. Along with adding a requirement that all UN member states must sign on to the International Criminal Court or risk being expelled from the organization as an amendment to the UN Charter, reforms recommended by “The Elders” (www.theelders.org), and other reforms making the UN more effective, the UN could easily arrange a week-long conference with the title “Building a Peaceful World”, “Peace on Earth”, etc., where each member state is given equal time to articulate proposals. Until the true root causes of war are articulated and understood by all – in contrast to a seeming “taboo” against mention of the causes – the UN and its member states (humanity) continue to practice horrific-consequences, in fact self-inflicted pain, massive denial.