A Palestinian Exception to the First Amendment

Steven Salaita spoke today at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. According to the YMCA, where the event was held, some 400 students, faculty, staff, and supporters turned up.

Salaita opened with a statement. Here are some excerpts:

My name is Steven Salaita. I am a professor with an accomplished scholarly record; I have been a fair and devoted teacher to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students; I have been a valued and open-minded colleague to numerous faculty across disciplines and universities. My ideas and my identity are far more substantive and complex than the recent characterizations based on a selected handful of my Twitter posts.

Two weeks before my start date, and without any warning, I received a summary letter from University Chancellor Phyllis Wise informing me that my position was terminated, but with no explanation or opportunity to challenge her unilateral decision. As a result, my family has no income, no health insurance, and no home of our own. Our young son has been left without a preschool. I have lost the great achievement of a scholarly career – lifetime tenure, with its promised protections of academic freedom.

Even more troubling are the documented revelations that the decision to terminate me is a result of pressure from wealthy donors – individuals who expressly dislike my political views. As the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups have been tracking, this is part of a nationwide, concerted effort by wealthy and well-organized groups to attack pro-Palestinian students and faculty and silence their speech. This risks creating a Palestinian exception to the First Amendment and to academic freedom.

I am here to reaffirm my commitment to teaching and to a position with the American Indian Studies program at UIUC. I reiterate the demand that the University recognize the importance of respecting the faculty’s hiring decision and reinstate me. It is my sincere hope that I can – as a member of this academic institution – engage with the entire University community in a constructive conversation about the substance of my viewpoints on Palestinian human rights and about the values of academic freedom.

For me, the best part of his press conference was the Q and A with the media, which begins at 40:50 in the video below. I would encourage everyone to watch it because it gives you the best sense of Salaita the man, the thinker, and the teacher. As I’ve said, I don’t know Salaita personally, except through our interactions on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve never met him or heard him speak. I haven’t read his academic writings. But listening to and watching him field questions, it became clear to me why the American Indian Studies department was so eager to hire him.

My favorite exchange occurs at 43:30. Someone in the media asks him why he would want to still come and teach at UIUC. Looking around the room, which is filled with students, Salaita says:

The question is—and if I’m summarizing it incorrectly let me know—some people are wondering why I would want to work here after all of this has happened and whether it might be uncomfortable. The answer is…the answer is in this room.




One other point to note. At 55:00, one of Salaita’s attorneys is asked about what the litigation process would look like. The attorney replies:

There’s no question that if there is litigation there will be an intensive document retrieval process that will involve trying to get at the heart of exactly what the motivation was for this decision. We think, based on what is already known, the university is going to have some very hard arguments. But we will learn a lot. We will also be able to take depositions. And that is an opportunity to sit people down and ask them about their role in this process, their decision-making and other things. Again, Professor Salaita’s goal is not to have to go down that road. But he is prepared to do so if necessary.

I’ve long felt that one of the things that has to make the university nervous is the prospect of litigation. Yes, the university has tons of money and lawyers. But it also has interests. And one of those interests is protecting the privacy of its donors. I can’t for the life of me believe that the university really wants to risk the rage and rancor of donors having their names dragged into the harsh glare of the public spotlight. Once this case gets into court—and most experts, regardless of which side they fall, believe that Salaita has a good chance of getting into court—there will be discovery motions that will turn up all sorts of paper. What we’ve seen already is damning and embarrassing. But think about what could be coming down the pike: not only emails to and fro, but also records of phone calls, transcripts of meetings, and more. Even if the university were to win the case, they’d have to lose a lot in order to do so.

In other news, Chancellor Wise was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune.

On Monday, Wise acknowledged in an interview that she wished she had “been more consultative” before rescinding Salaita’s job offer, and said it could have led her to a different decision. She said the situation has been “challenging.”

She also said there was “no possibility” that he would work at the U. of I.

“I wish I had not consulted with just a few people and then written the letter to Professor Salaita,” Wise said. “I don’t know what the consultation would have led me to do.”

This is now the third time that Wise has said that she regrets not consulting with other voices on the campus. But this is the first time that she’s positively stated that not only did her firing of Salaita not reflect her own position, but also that she might have reached a different decision than the one she reached had she consulted other voices. Which is precisely the argument that so many of us have been making about whose voices Wise did and did not heed in this process. It almost seems as if she’s trying to give Salaita evidence for his case.

Last, Katherine Franke, who’s been leading the legal academic community on this issue, and Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a PhD candidate in political science at the CUNY Graduate Center, appeared today on Democracy Now.

I urge you to listen to the interview, in particular the part that begins at 47:00. There Kris, whom I know personally, speaks about his experience as an adjunct at Brooklyn College, where he was hired by my department to teach a course on Middle East politics for the spring of 2011 and then fired before the course began. Sound familiar? The reason he was fired? Pro-Israel forces objected to something he had written. Sound familiar? Here’s what one of the leaders of those forces, NYS Assemblyman Dov Hikind, said at the time about an academic paper Kris had written on suicide bombers:

Hikind, a staunch ally of Israel, sent a letter on Monday to Karen Gould, the college’s president, with a copy to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, in which he questioned the adjunct’s appointment. Calling Petersen-Overton “an overt supporter of terrorism,” Hikind said he was “better suited for a teaching position at the Islamic University of Gaza.”

Hikind, who said he earned his master’s degree in political science from Brooklyn College, told Inside Higher Ed that he reached these conclusions after spending “countless hours” reading the newly hired adjunct’s work. This included, chiefly, his unpublished paper, “Inventing the Martyr: Struggle, Sacrifice and the Signification of Palestinian National Identity,” in which he examines martyrdom as it “embodies ideals of struggle and sacrifice” in the context of national identity. Hikind said such works reflect an effort to “understand” suicide bombers. “There’s nothing to understand about someone who murders women and children,” he said. “You condemn.”

Kris didn’t say anything about anti-Semitism becoming honorable, he didn’t say anything about settlers going missing, he didn’t say anything about necklaces of teeth. His crime was trying “to understand about someone who murders women and children.” As Dostoevsky did in Crime and Punishment. That was enough to get him fired.

This is why I come to this whole Salaita affair with a bit of skepticism about the tweets. It’s skepticism born of my own personal experience with four controversial fights over Israel/Palestine. If it’s not the tweets, it’s the grad student paper trying to understand suicide bombers. If it’s not the grad student paper trying to understand suicide bombers, it’s the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright who cannot receive an honorary degree because he’s voiced criticism of Israel. If it’s not the Pulitzer-Prize-winning playwright who cannot receive an honorary degree because he’s voiced criticism of Israel, it’s the New York City Council threatening CUNY’s funding because the political science department at Brooklyn College is co-sponsoring—not endorsing, not organizing, not funding, but co-sponsoring—a panel on BDS. If it’s not the New York City Council threatening CUNY’s funding because the political science department at Brooklyn College is co-sponsoring a panel on BDS, it’s the NYS Legislature threatening a college’s funding if it financially supports individual faculty membership in the American Studies Association, which supports the academic boycott of Israel.

Every time it’s the same goddam story: supporters of Israel, increasingly anxious over the way the conversation about Israel is going in this country, flexing their muscles to muzzle a voice, to stop a debate. (Just today Buzzfeed is reporting that AIPAC is looking for ways to pass federal legislation to stop BDS in its tracks.) A Palestinian exception to the First Amendment?

Thankfully, in Kris’s case, we were able to rally a national campaign of prominent academics, particularly in political science, to support his reinstatement. We made his case a national story. Sound familiar?

And here’s the best part, dear reader: We won.

Since I came onto the interwebs, I’ve been involved in five fights over the place of Israel/Palestine in academe: the Petersen-Overton fight, which we won; the Tony Kushner fight, which we won; the BDS at Brooklyn College fight, which we won, the NYS Assembly fight, which we won, and now the Salaita affair.

There is a Palestinian exception to the First Amendment. And we’re fighting to end it. Because that’s the way the First Amendment has always advanced in this country: not simply through reasoned argument, but through struggle. Vorwärts!



  1. Boethius September 10, 2014 at 3:37 am | #

    The Salaita case is a interesting situation. To some extent I think he’s hard done by, but I’m rooting for the UIUC administration here. I’m not so much interested in the Israel/Palestine angle, but the overall spiralling costs and lack of accountability in academia in general.

    Specifically, there’s two points which I haven’t seen as part of the discussion heretofore, and wondered if you had any comments on.

    First, we are apparently asked to believe that Mr. Salaita is some kind of exceptional scholar, worthy of tenure at Urbana. I just don’t see it. Certainly for my own part, I’d be willing to overlook the controversial tweets if there were some body of scholarship apart from Israel/Palestine. As it is, it seems that the tweets, and Mr. Salaita’s “academic” work, are pretty much of a piece, which looks to me like agitprop hackery. I’m sure you’d dispute that characterization, but I think it’s safe to say that even if we can explain away the tweets as not disqualifying, it really shouldn’t be representative of the primary work product of a professor.

    Second, probably more important, is that from the boycotters’ pov, there is no legitimate point of the process where the UIUC administration can exercise control over the hiring decisions of new faculty. To that end, the boycotters’ actions in this context are disgraceful. There is a strong norm in academia toward peer search committees as being the key decisionmakers in faculty appointments. It’s quite another thing to say that such committees have total autonomy without any possibility of supervision or accountability to any larger interest such as the university as a whole, or even the taxpayers (given that UIUC is a public university).

    University administrators are, usually, the least sympathetic figures I can think of. Yet in the context the reactionary stridency of the boycotters, I’m cheering for Chancellor Wise. The whole thing looks about 50/50 at this point.

    • Chris September 10, 2014 at 7:58 am | #

      “We are apparently asked to believe that Mr. Salaita is some kind of exceptional scholar, worthy of tenure at Urbana. I just don’t see it.”

      Really? Based on what? Did you actually READ his work? I doubt it since you focus entirely on the tweets, as if you are not obligated to actually read his work in order to form an opinion.

      “From the boycotters’ pov, there is no legitimate point of the process where the UIUC administration can exercise control over the hiring decisions of new faculty. To that end, the boycotters’ actions in this context are disgraceful.”

      NO BOYCOTTER has said that hiring committees have total autonomy. His hire was approved by the dean and a number of other administrators higher up the chain and as a result he was issued an OFFER LETTER. No university, business, or organisation EVER issues an offer of employment UNLESS they are certain that they want to hire someone.

      This is really quite simple: if you received an offer of employment, would you not assume that you had been hired? The university was so certain of his hire that the board of trustees meeting meant to finalise the appointment was scheduled one month AFTER he was to begin teaching.

      • Boethius September 10, 2014 at 11:21 am | #

        “Really? Based on what? Did you actually READ his work? I doubt it since you focus entirely on the tweets, as if you are not obligated to actually read his work in order to form an opinion.”

        Of course not (though the part about focusing on the tweets isn’t quite right since I wrote above that the tweets could easily be outweighed by other considerations, if there were any).

        From the pro-Salaita side, the idea seems to be that Salaita’s work is some kind of unified theory of indigeneity where Israel/Palestine is considered in the context of Native Americans and vice versa. That seems to me to be thin academic dressing for anti-Israel activism and whether it is or not, it’s very likely to be useless hackery.

        Ie, aside from the contingencies of the offer letter and timing and the rest of it, there is a strong balance of equities against this appointment.

        But given the offer letter the facts associated with it, Salaita is hard done by. Certainly if Urbana treated every appointment this way they would get a very bad reputation in a hurry. Of course, Urbana doesn’t treat every appointment this way. At the very least there is a moral case that UIUC should follow through on its appointment of Mr Salaita given that it sent him an offer letter.

        But, if it does, there are likely to be at least one or both of two adverse consequences for the rest of the world: the hiring process becomes even more sclerotic than it already is (and academia is pretty bad at this already). And, that universities or parts thereof become even more hothouses of intellectual irrelevance, and even more expensive for students and other funding sources.

      • Total September 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm | #

        That seems to me to be thin academic dressing for anti-Israel activism and whether it is or not, it’s very likely to be useless hackery.

        “I didn’t read his stuff, but it doesn’t seem like it can be any good.”

        Is that really the argument you want to go with?

      • Boethius September 11, 2014 at 1:02 am | #

        “Is that really the argument you want to go with?”

        I’m persuadeable, but until somebody makes a decent argument for something else I’ll stick with that.

      • Ligurio September 11, 2014 at 10:55 am | #

        I’m sorry, but can I just point out how hilarious it is that a character named “Boethius” could write the following sentence: ” To some extent I think he’s hard done by, but I’m rooting for the UIUC administration here.”? I laughed out loud at that.

    • Scott Lemieux September 10, 2014 at 10:05 am | #

      First, we are apparently asked to believe that Mr. Salaita is some kind of exceptional scholar, worthy of tenure at Urbana. I just don’t see it.

      Why we should privilege these bare assertions over actual experts in the field actually familiar with Salaita’s work as a while is, to put it mildly, unclear.

      Second, probably more important, is that from the boycotters’ pov, there is no legitimate point of the process where the UIUC administration can exercise control over the hiring decisions of new faculty.

      Based on what?

    • Needs September 10, 2014 at 10:30 am | #

      The Deans and Provost well have the ability to squelch a hire. They did not. They almost certainly made that decision based on the tenure file generated as part of his hire that shows a strong consensus (I’d guess that file has at least 9 outside tenure letters, maybe as many as 12) within the broader field of NAIS that Salaita is doing important work. I’m sure Salaita did not resign from VaTech until he received word from Warrior and the relevant dean that the file was strong.

      Regardless, those are the figures with the expertise to evaluate his scholarship in the context of the University, not the board of trustees nor internet commentators.

    • Snarki, child of Loki September 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm | #

      “I’m not so much interested in the Israel/Palestine angle, but the overall spiralling costs and lack of accountability in academia in general.”

      In which case, you should be advocating firing Chancellor Wise and her team of Development admins, each of which costs much more than any hire in a humanities field, and who, you know, DON’T ACTUALLY TEACH ANY STUDENTS.

      • Boethius September 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm | #

        Well yeah, as a generality I think it’s fair to say that there are way too may non-teaching admins working on America’s campuses. And in fact, the proliferation of such admins is a substantial cause of the growing expense and lack of accountability associated with contemporary academia.

        But if by some miracle there were a dozen of them getting laid off at Chapel Hill or somewhere, how much would anybody care? Maybe a little bit, maybe not at all.

        The boycotters in the Salaita case seem to combine tthe worst of Left activism, cultural insularity, and financial irresponsibility in American universities.

    • Andrew Miller September 10, 2014 at 12:45 pm | #

      Thank you for the ignorant jackass perspective.

  2. bor September 10, 2014 at 3:58 am | #

    With all due respect, Corey, I live in a city with a couple of well known universities. These universities reflect our regional universities quite well. They have sizable Jewish populations among students and faculty and to some degree in surrounding areas. They also have many Jewish donors who are targeted by the universities because they are known to be generous givers.

    My experience is precisely the opposite of your claim of victimization of anti-Israel forces and academics. It is the Jewish students who tend to suffer. That is, they tend to suffer if they’re not perceived to be “good Jews” in solidarity with the Israel bashers.

    In my experience, the campuses have to deal with endless strife generated by the anti-Israel students, including ridiculous fake “separation” walls replete with misinformation about the Israel-Arab conflict, absurd “apartheid weeks” that consume the campuses’ attention for days and days usually in central parts of the campus and usually with aggressive activists “selling” their propaganda in person, in classes and on the quad. These anti-Israel activists often bring out lecturers who are some of the harshest critics of Israel – many of them not even academics – to give extremely harsh talks about Israel. I’ve been to some where videotaping was expressly forbidden and heard unbelievable lies given to a roomful of students while a host professor was nodding his head in assent as if the lies were factual (no, you don’t always get to challenge them, or if you do, you’re permitted one question and you have to choose wisely).

    That’s without getting into the endless, multi-campus attempts to lead student governments into a boycott of Israel. This is activism which is not repressed despite the fact that it often grinds the work of students governments to a halt prevents caring for the real and important needs of campus students so that instead they and the campus may focus on the BDS crowd’s Israel obsession. Somehow, magically, you want to claim victimhood when entire campuses across the country are busy debating boycott of Israel or companies that sell to Israel despite the fact that there are 200 other countries on this planet including dozens and dozens of true human rights violating countries that are entirely ignored. On these campuses, students on these government boards often complain that they don’t feel they can actually take care of their constituents’ needs because this anti-Israel activists’ demands steal so much of their time. They bend over backwards to permit this to happen, which is precisely the opposite scenario to what you’re describing.

    And you know, you can play all the usual games about how we should be targeting Israel instead of Saudi Arabia or China, but at the end of the day when you target one country, which happens to be the Jewish-identified one, and ignore, say, the Iranian regime that blithely arrests, tortures thousands and kills hundreds every year because they’re gay or political activists, or the Chinese government with their erasure of Tibetan culture and elimination of that people’s inherent right to self determination even as China removes many rights we take for granted from its own citizenry, or Egypt, which killed in one day five times as many Arabs as were killed in a real fight at Deir Yassin in 1948, or Syria which uses chemical weapons on its people, or Western armies that have a far worse record of killing civilians in wartime – in wars far away from their borders – than the IDF in wars right on its borders with rockets raining down on its people, or countries that occupy other lands illegally such as Turkey and Morocco, or countries that simply crush their opponents like Russia, or movements such as Boko Haram, ISIS, Hizbullah (which essentially controls Lebanon through the blackmail of violence), the Taliban, etc. that shamelessly destroy communities, families and lives, then it’s pretty darn hard to claim that it’s because you just have a passion to rectify wrongs in the world because you care so deeply about human rights. It’s actually a very clear case of antisemitism couched in political rhetoric (don’t bother with the “Israel is our greatest ally” stuff, China is our biggest trading partner by far and you guys don’t touch it).

    The anti-Israel students get away with their nefarious attacks on the world’s only Jewish state – a liberal democracy that offers its citizens, most of whom are refugees or descendants of refugees, a quality of life most of the rest of the world can only dream of getting, and even those under its military rule demonstrate higher rates of literacy, longevity and other benchmarks of quality of life than much of the world’s population – precisely because they know they can if they just yell about the right to freedom of speech or academic freedom.

    Apparently, that freedom permits you to divert attention from everything else so that you can push your political agenda – an agenda which is clearly aligned with that of some of the most ruthless authoritarian regimes in this world as well as the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinians’ largest political parties.

    You know who else gets away with it, in my experience? The faculty who oppose Israel. How many Poli Sci departments actually look to hire someone whose politics aren’t anti-Israel? Is MESA friendly to these scholars? You want to see what I mean? Take a look at your own movement, the BDS movement. When was the last time you people held a conference where true dissenting voices were heard? What, is there a shortage of extremely well qualified and knowledgeable professors to explain the situation in Israel without labeling it negatively? No, there are plenty of those people around. They don’t get invited for two reasons. The first is that instead of academics, your movement is focused on polemics and the second is that many people in your movement are bigots who are able to dress up their bigotry by claiming that they will not entertain the idea of a person with certain ideological stripes (in this case Zionism) sharing a stage with them. Of course, they never shut down scholars who might share ideologies with some of the repressive regimes I’ve mentioned or who support Western armies in their far-away wars. Nope, somehow, magically, it’s the people who would speak for the Jewish state who are excluded.

    And again, universities turn a blind eye. And scholars, serious scholars such as you, permit this to happen. How could you? Are you unaware of what happened in the 1930s?

    You want to talk about victories? Yeah, your side got Kushner to talk? Your side also shut down Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hypocritical?

    You won the fight over CUNY and NYS Assembly funding so that you could pursue BDS on campuses and enjoy academic freedom? Sure, with the help of a Zionist mayor who, if he were an academic would never be invited to a BDS conference (Lisa Duggan holds her conferences in secrecy these days). But BDS itself supports curtailing academic freedom as long as it’s the academic freedom of Israelis (please don’t bother with the lies about the suffering of Palestinian scholars – all 8 Palestinian universities came into being as universities after 1967 and scholars there are free to research and write whatever they want as long as it doesn’t anger Fatah or Hamas; and students there are so free they get to host art shows depicting flying Israeli body parts as some al Najah University students did to celebrate the bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem that murdered diners, including an entire family sitting down to dinner). Nothing happened to those students, by the way and the show ran for a month. But BDS wants to shut down Israeli universities’ academic freedom. Hypocrisy?

    I should add that Salaita today had the gall to bring up AAUP standards on academic freedom…except that he ignores their standards when it comes to boycotting Israeli institutions, which the AAUP rejects. Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy of the first rank.

    And now to victims. Who are the victims here? Is it really those anti-Israelis who are aggressive activists who thereby often undermine their own situation, as Salaita has done here, or is it somebody else?

    Anybody who looks at campuses today knows the answer very well.

    The gloating, boisterous, cocky, demanding, and vilifying group is the anti-Israel crowd. They are confident, aggressive, in-your-face on campus after campus. The MSAs, SJPs, Muslim Studies organizations, in conjunction with the more leftist campus elements completely dominate campus discourse on the topic of Israel-Arab conflict. In fact, if you want to know exactly what I mean, take a look at Salaita’s tweets, book reviews and even some of his academic writings.

    On the other side you have Jewish students who typically have a choice to make. If they support Israel and want to demonstrate it, chances are they will be pariahs on campus and forced to huddle among themselves. This is intentional and driven by the anti-Israel activists. If the Jewish students support Israel but don’t want to be excluded socially, they shut up about it and will often sublimate any connection to that part of their heritage. Or, if they want to avoid the stigma that the aggressive, dominant group along with their faculty enablers drive on campus, then they join the big, strong group.

    Jewish students are shut down, vilified, forced to defend not just Israel but very often the Jewish community as well (note Salaita’s antisemitic remark about Foxman’s book regarding the myth of Jewish power), told that antisemitism is nothing more than a ruse to prevent criticism of Israel, and at times physically attacked. I linked to such an attack on this site the other day. The attacker has not yet been charged, weeks after it happened at Temple University (which published Salaita, by the way). On some campuses, Jewish students have had to run and hide from mobs or have been attacked in groups (SFSU, York University, Concordia), in other campuses speakers invited by Jewish organizations on campus have been shouted down so that the right of their listeners to hear their talks was curtailed – the speakers invariably being Jewish or Israeli or both. It is relentless and ongoing. And you are part of this. You, Corey Robin.

    There is no “Palestinian exception to the First Amendment.” What there is a Palestinian exception to the rules of civility that govern campuses. There is a Palestinian exception to all the human rights violations in the world (well, unless you can compare it to past violations like you would if your were studying, say, Native American Studies). There is a Palestinian exception when it comes to attacking Jews and denying it by claiming it’s an entirely different group, that monstrous one called “Zionists.” There is a Palestinian exception to behaving towards all others as you would wish to be treated (“If you are a supporter of Israel, you are an awful human being”). There is a Palestinian exception to encouraging violence towards a certain group of people (wishing that hundreds of thousands will go “missing” after some Jewish teenagers are kidnapped). There is a Palestinian exception to ignoring why wars with Israel begin and how they are fought, in favor of made-up lies about those conflicts (for example, in demonstrating tacit support for the phenomenon of Palestinian suicide bombings by claiming they are an understandable response to Israel’s actions, despite the fact that suicide bombings happened in Iraq and Sri Lanka in far greater numbers than Israel ever experienced). Yes indeed, there is quite a Palestinian exception on campus.

    And when anti-Israel activists are called on it, they claim they’re the victims of those “powerful” “interests.” What victims. We should all be so lucky.

    • Ligurio September 10, 2014 at 7:25 am | #

      I was struck from my horse of dogmatic slumber or at least was stupified thereon by the brilliant flash of light that dawned like a nuclear fallout slowly but ineluctably across the five-thousand words of Bor’s comment.

      I now grasp that the real victims of this whole affair are Jewish American college kids and, even more than they, their parents. Just as Hamas launches homemade rocket after homemade rocket into Israel only to hide behind human shields as Israel slings its single stone of US Apache helicopters and fighter jets against the giant’s head, so Salaita launches tweets against the time-honored conflation of Jewishness and Zionism in our public culture before retreating to hide behind his student shields, even as bor–like Netanahyu before him–courageously hurls a compact five-page essay against the foe.

      • kfm designs September 10, 2014 at 9:55 am | #

        Brilliant response! And I must thank you for summarizing my less than civil thoughts in such eloquent prose. Bravo, Sir. Bravissimo!

      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm | #

        Brilliant response? Let me guess…you were on the search committee that hired Salaita?

    • Brian September 10, 2014 at 9:14 am | #

      The idea that Israel-supporting Jewish students are “fearful” and “huddling” is so preposterous I have to believe these are David Project talking points. Until you give me a list of students and professors who’ve lost their jobs and appointments because of their support of Israel I have to say you’re just bullshitting. Same old victimhood hasbara. Grow a pair. If you support a colonizer state that massacres its indigenous people, stand up and say it proudly.

      • BillR September 10, 2014 at 9:55 am | #

        The phrase “word salad” comes to mind as a frequent tactic of hasbara trolls. It is frequently invoked with regard to several pro-Israel posters on mondoweiss. There was a notorious commenter named “Richard Witty” who used to post several dozen times daily incredibly incoherent stream of consciousness monologues that would inevitably result in multiple response and counter-response trails that would derail the entire conversation. Eventually, although I’m opposed to such policies, he was banned after his 10,000’th post. He was a past master at feigning “even-handedness” and starting his posts with sympathy for Palestinians, but the end result was always entirely predictable. These are giveaway tactics of professional PR flacks:

        Given his history of helping corporate crooks talk their way out of crises, perhaps it was appropriate that Luntz was contracted by the Israel Project, an international pro-Israel activism outfit with ties to the country’s foreign ministry, to craft its official hasbara handbook. In the 116-page guide, fine-tuned for the sensibilities of an audience high on passion and low on information, Luntz outlines strategies for promoting Israel in the media and on campus. Throughout the document, Luntz urges pro-Israel activists to lead attacks on adversaries by “start[ing] with empathy for both sides first.” He advises Israel advocates to feign humility and concern for Palestinian children before opening up a relentless focus on the “Iran-backed Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad.”


      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 1:12 pm | #

        David Project. Hasbara. Colonizer. Indigenous. The usual non-response.

        But you ask for an interesting stat. Have there been students who have suffered in the classroom for their views? How, exactly, does one prove that? Show me a mechanism and a doable study that would allow me to demonstrate this. Let’s see, I’d have to first identify the anti-Israel faculty, define their level of activism, find classes they teach, determine whether they recognize who their Jewish students are, or rather who are the ones who support Israel, find comparable non-Israel supporting students and their papers/exams/assignments, compare these and their quality, compare grades and demonstrate that the B became a B- or a C.

        In other words, don’t set impossible standards.

        Likewise for hiring of professors. How do you demonstrate that a professor never got to the initial pile, to the initial interview round, to the campus visit round or wasn’t the selected hire because their research demonstrates that they may side with Israel? You can’t.

        Anecdotally, I’ve spoken to scholars whose work doesn’t depict Israel negatively (or positively, actually, their bias doesn’t jump out at you the way Salaita’s does) and they’ve told me that they face many issues within MESA, for example, and they believe they’ve faced discrimination as a result. Can they prove it? Of course not. We’re not talking about stupid people here. Things don’t even need to be said, they are just done.

        I’ll tell you what, though, since you want me to prove the impossible. Why don’t you demonstrate to us that the hiring of a BDS activist by UIUC’s Native American Studies which is led by an active BDS activist professor isn’t a case of preferential treatment? Let me help you out a bit: If Salaita is the best candidate from a nationwide pool, how is it that Salaita’s former university hasn’t reached out to reinstate him? Don’t they care deeply about their reputation and want to continue to offer their students the best available scholarship?

    • Thanksbor September 10, 2014 at 9:40 am | #

      Thank you, bor, for eloquently and passionately giving voice to an important alternative perspective (one that many of us believe has a great deal of truth). Your time is appreciated by many of us! And thank you also to Corey for allowing alternative views on your blog! Such openness is admirable indeed, but, I’m afraid, far too uncommon in these types of debates.

      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm | #

        I also appreciate Robin’s openness to permitting me to speak here, and I agree that it’s rare.

      • Brian September 10, 2014 at 1:31 pm | #

        To Bor(ing): “Have there been students who have suffered in the classroom for their views? How, exactly, does one prove that? Show me a mechanism and a doable study that would allow me to demonstrate this.”

        So if you can’t prove your unprovable allegations that Jewish students are being discriminated against for their pro-Israel views or your best argument is that pro-Israel scholars “feel” they are facing discrimination but can’t prove it, then maybe you should stand down and stop talking propaganda. I can give you specific examples of anti-Israel scholars and academics who faced job and social discrimination, public humiliation and loss of money, security and status for speaking up about the terrible practices of your precious nation-state. Actually you can google it yourself.

        Calling someone “BDS” this and “BDS” that is boring and not an argument. Salaita was hired by the department because he is the best in the field, something that may be hard for you to tolerate. Zionists have made him an untouchable because of their underhanded tactics and their hypersensitivity to criticism. That’s on you, Bor.

        BTW, if you commit or support murder and massacre of a captive occupied population, I can understand why it’s so hard to feel criticized. It’s very difficult to look at the maimed bodies of children killed in your name.

      • Brian September 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm | #

        And also a great deal of lies and evasion. Please, Bor and his ilk have plenty of places to speak. Don’t give me that “no one lets us talk” bullshit.

      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 2:59 pm | #

        “To Bor(ing)”

        Thank you for demonstrating the level of discourse to which Salaita’s supporters rise.

        It shouldn’t surprise anyone since it is precisely this juvenile idiocy that got Salaita un-hired.

    • CM September 11, 2014 at 8:51 am | #

      There is no moral obligation to follow any moral ideal. No one is morally obligated to address human rights obligations in China–free agents get to choose which evils they are not morally obligated to address. Addressing human rights violations in Israel amounts to following a moral ideal–there is no moral obligation to follow any particular moral ideal. Suggesting this is anti-Semitic is a sophistical tactic that depends fundamentally on confusing the difference between moral rules and moral ideals.

  3. Brian September 10, 2014 at 9:05 am | #

    Wise should resign. Her job description includes managing donors. Clearly she’s shown capacity to do that. And if you can’t support or believe the integrity of your own actions you shouldn’t be in a leadership position.

    • Brian September 10, 2014 at 9:06 am | #

      I meant no capacity to do that, that is manage donors.

  4. Lynne September 10, 2014 at 9:42 am | #

    It seems extraordinary that Chancellor Wise is saying that on the one hand her decision might have been different had she consulted different people, but on the other hand there is still no chance Salaita will work at UI.

    • NattyB September 10, 2014 at 9:53 am | #

      A fount of clarity and wisdom right there.

      I am pretty amazed at how tone deaf they are. It’s like they’re so insulated in the bubble, that they’ve come to internalize the concerns of the state and donors.

      I mean, we’re talking George W. Bushian levels of tone deafness and lack of self-awareness. I say that, because (i) they’re saying all this stuff re: commitment to academic freedom and scholarly inquiry when (ii) you’re being boycotted by 5000+ academics in protest, with (iii) academic organizations dedicated to academic freedom and scholarly inquiry, are saying, you’re causing grave harm to those objectives.

      I get George W. Bush saying, we support human rights and telling the ACLU to f— off. I think it’s a little harder, to be a chancellor at a major public university, to just ignore the AAUP.

    • CD September 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm | #

      It’s possible Christopher Kennedy was the key player, mobilizing a majority on the board in late July and then telling Wise Salaita was doomed. That’s the most parsimonious explanation for Wise’s actions and statements and fits Kennedy’s reputation as an activist chair. This is not a defense of Wise, but her reputation at U Washington was as an apolitical technocrat.

  5. David Green September 10, 2014 at 11:16 am | #

    Beyond everything about I/P, the hypocritical posturing about academic freedom on this campus is a sight to behold. I wrote about in May. Cary Nelson was in the audience, stating this his view I/P is that he hopes that one day the occupation will end.

    • s. wallerstein September 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm | #


      Since your last reply to me implies that you are a distinguished scholar, you might give us the pleasure of indicating who you are.

      It seems strange that someone from the academic world like yourself, who, as you claim, has at times found themself excluded or left out because of your views, would support the firing/dishiring of Professor Salaita. I would think that your experience would lead you to urge that academic freedom be more impartially practiced for both yourself and for Salaita. You know, Voltaire and all that stuff about disagreeing with what you say, but defending your right to say it.

      I see that Chomsky has criticized the BDS movement and I will read more carefully what he has to say on the subject, since Chomsky’s credibility (for me) is very high. This is completely irrelevant, but I watch Chomsky being interviewed, he’s over 80 and has a better memory than I had when I was 18. How can a human being process as much information as gracefully and accurately as Chomsky does?

  6. bor September 10, 2014 at 11:25 am | #

    Oh, I thought of one more “Palestinian exception.”

    The exception to openly lobby for the destruction of a state on university campuses.

    Right? BDS is officially for the destruction of Israel as the democratic, political entity which exists today. Many Palestinian advocates also call for support to Israel’s enemies during its wars and afterwards. In other words, support for the physical destruction of Israel.

    No such equivalent exists at universities regarding any other state. In this context, it is important to note that Israel is the only Jewish-identified state on the planet and is home to the refugees and their descendants who had to leave the Arab and Muslim states over the past century. That should be a big red flag, n’est ce pas?

    • Corey Robin September 10, 2014 at 11:34 am | #

      “The exception to openly lobby for the destruction of a state on university campuses…No such equivalent exists at universities regarding any other state.”

      Are you high? Or 8 years old, with no knowledge, much less memory, of a thing called the Cold War, where for decades, university professors not only called for, but often worked for the government that attempted (cf. Henry Kissinger, Walt Rostow, McGeorge Bundy), the overthrow of the Soviet Union not merely as a government or a regime but as a state? To break it up into a series of smaller states, as was done after 1989? To support the physical destruction of the Soviet Union.

      Professors who, after the Cold War was over, argued for — and in some cases lobbied for (and again worked for the government that helped facilitate) — the breakup of the Yugoslavian state (which, if you look on a map, no longer exists) into Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and so on?

      Professors who, after 9/11, called for not only the overthrow of Saddam Hussein but the break-up of the Iraqi state into a Kurdish republic, an Iraqi nation proper, and so on?

      Your comment is a big red flag, my friend: of either a historical ignorance of epic proportion (I mean, we’re not exactly talking about ancient Byzantium) or a willingness to say anything in the service of your cause.


      • Matt September 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm | #

        I believe (possibly) what Bor intends is something like “destruction of a democratic state,” and further, the destruction of a state dedicated to preserving and protecting a minority that was subjected to mass enslavement and near extermination in the mid 20th century. When any political group suggests that it would like to see the “destruction” of this state, it is quite likely to generate a fair amount of fear and loathing from those who believe its preservation is essential–which is not the same thing as supporting that state’s military and political policies in all their forms. Many people might like to see the end of the occupation of Palestine, but if that goal is paired with destruction of Israel, then one is likely to see a parting of ways.

      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 2:43 pm | #

        Amazing, Corey, you’ve just indirectly acknowledged that the goal of the anti-Israel movement is indeed the destruction of the state of Israel.

        You’ve also just compared Israel to Soviet Russia, Yugoslavia and Hussein’s Iraq. Poor choices.

        Let’s ignore the fact that all three were dictatorships/authoritarian regimes that subjugated their own people whereas Israel is a democracy with an elected government that represents a majority of its population and voters. After all, that would cut into the anti-Israel rhetoric.

        Instead, let’s focus on two much bigger problems with your comment, the first being what those calling for the “destruction” of these states were seeking, and the second being a comparison of campus activism on behalf of the destruction of those states.

        The majority of activism regarding those three states involved the question of whether to conduct war against them and how to conduct that war.

        The goal in the case of Soviet Russia was to eliminate an enemy of the US, first and foremost; an enemy in an active war against us. Second, those who advocated for a break-up of the Soviet UNION were seeking to free countries that had been subsumed or enslaved by Communist Russia.For example, a country such as Lithuania. There is no comparable situation with Israel either in the call for its destruction or in the meaning of that destruction. Israel didn’t take over another state and doesn’t control any other states. It is not an artificial entity but a state, created with the approval of the international community on land that had no sovereign and which was reserved for it by the international community as a “home for the Jewish people” You have a right to challenge whether this was fair or unfair, but this is nothing like the Soviet Union. You could compare Israel to Lithuania or Jordan, but not to the Soviet Union. Also, nobody was saying that the state of Russia should stop existing, that it should be overtaken by other people or that it be destroyed in any other form, but rather that the artificial entity it had created should be destroyed in order to grant the absorbed nations their right to self-determination – including Russians in Russia. Russia itself would certainly remain untouched. Nobody was talking about destroying Russia.

        In the case of Yugoslavia, once again, the debate was about engaging in war with this state, not regarding its existence. The question was how to stop the massacres against Kosovars and bring the Yugoslavian government to heel. There was no debate about ending Yugoslavia as a state whatsoever. Perhaps a professor here and there mentioned it, but it was far from an active part of the debate.

        In the case of Iraq, very few people were arguing about destroying that country in order to divide it. This was never a goal at any point, not of the advocates of the war or its opponents. You are conflating the destruction of a state and its democratically elected government – and thereby its citizens’ right to self-determination – with the destruction of a dictatorial regime. The question debated was whether it was appropriate to go to war against Iraq and the possible benefits/consequences of doing so. When Rabbi Michael Lerner was prevented by ANSWER from setting foot on a stage to speak during a rally because he was a Zionist (ample proof of my points above, by the way), the rally was in opposition to going to war against Iraq, not in opposition to the destruction Iraq. That was immaterial because it was clear that Iraq must continue to exist as a state or it would upend the entire order of the modern Middle East.

        Oh, and by the way, unlike the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Iraq which sought to suppress the other nations under their authoritarian control, Israel hasgranted Palestinians governance over their own people for 20 years now and has offered them statehood twice officially and once unofficially in just the past 14 years.

        The above examples demonstrate that you are seeking to compare apples and oranges.

        The second problem with your comments is that even if we overlook the apples vs oranges issue, you cannot demonstrate anything resembling the anti-Israel activism on campuses to what happened on campuses regarding any of those conflicts. I’ve already demonstrated that in both Yugoslavia and Iraq, any activism involved a very short period before war began. There were few (if any) campus rallies or propaganda missions or “Anti-Iraq Weeks” or masses of Yugoslavia conferences, much less calls for boycotts, etc. While the Cold War lasted for much longer, I am hard-pressed to think of comparable activism on behalf of destruction of the Soviet Union. Rather, if you found such “activism” it was in the form of long, boring academic tracts.

        Certainly, Russian-American students were not under the gun or forced to defend their views on campus, and even if you were Iraqi or Yugoslavian on campus and felt your country was unjustly attacked for a few months, you did not find yourself having to deal with years upon years of on-campus lies, attacks, belligerence, veiled comments about your group and student governments having to deal with issues relating to Iraq or Yugoslavia.

        That last point, in particular is critical to killing your argument. Most research pointing to student activism on campus over the past couple of decades demonstrates student inaction and disengagement. Sometimes there is a fad movement that overtakes a couple of campuses, but there were and are no sustained campaigns against any countries, except for a brief period against Sudan while it was busy committing genocide. Of course, that was a relatively cost-less activity for most Sudanese students, not only because of their relatively small number around US campuses but also because the nature of the protests did not target Sudanese statehood.

        Your comparisons don’t hold up to scrutiny.

        If you want to argue that I’m wrong, demonstrate actual parallels to a national, nee international, campus movement to destroy a country that is the democratic embodiment of self-determination of the majority of its citizens. And furthermore, demonstrate a similar impact upon students who are ethnically, culturally or historically connected to that country.

        And please let’s stop with the 8 year old and “are you high” comments. I expect those from lesser minds, not from you. Let’s focus on facts.

        Fair enough, Corey, then you should have no problem pulling up examples of campus scenarios that are parallel to what we see today with the campus activities of the Israel-destruction crowd.

        • Corey Robin September 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm | #

          Shorter Bor: What I really meant to say is, not that there are no other campaigns on campus, besides the campaign against the State of Israel, to destroy a state — which is what I in fact did originally say — but that there are no other campaigns on campus, besides the campaign against the State of Israel, to destroy the State of Israel. The first statement I made was wrong, though I’m pretending I never said it; the second statement I am now making is right, though I don’t realize that it’s a tautology.

          On Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 2:43 PM, Corey Robin wrote:


      • Bor September 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm | #

        Please ignore the last paragraph. It was my original first paragraph and I missed that it was at the bottom when publishing my comment.

      • s. wallerstein September 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm | #

        The fact that a state is democratic does not mean that it cannot commit grave injustices and serious human rights violations, as was the case of the United States during the era of segregation (not to mention Guantánamo, etc.) and is the case of Israel today.

        If Jewish pro-Israel students feel pressured on campus today, great. They are being pressured in the name of a good cause. I myself (I’m neither on campus nor live in the U.S.) often feel pressured by good causes to act and at times I do, although I would not have without that often “bothersome” pressure.

        I’m Jewish, by the way, was raised to be very pro-Israel (in the era of the movie Exodus) and only began to see the great injustices and human rights violations committed there because people pressured me.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 4:39 pm | #


        You are perspicacious indeed. You honed in right away on the word “campaign” in describing what I was getting at in my original statement and subsequent megillah. Unfortunately, your accurate description of my point precisely undermines your claims: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/campaign.

        Was there a campaign across North American universities to destroy Iraq, Yugoslavia or even the Soviet Union?

        Please provide some evidence of this. Note that showing an outlier professor here or there, or even a handful of them, is insufficient since you are claiming a multi-campus “campaign” comparable to BDS. Therefore, you need to demonstrate that the campaign in question (Iraq, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union) was or is similar in scope, involving hundreds and perhaps even thousands of professors, many of them with related publications and classes (often not even in their field or tangentially related to their field), a nationwide network of campus activists on both the student and faculty side, a gaggle of student groups with the very precise mission of targeting the country in question and its on-campus and off-campus supporters, multiple conferences on the subject (and extra points if these conferences did not permit scholars from the opposite political viewpoint to participate), and direct and indirect links to the groups/countries whose fortunes would be changed if those countries were destroyed.

        Heck, show us a movement half the size of BDS. I certainly can’t think of anything comparable, but you’re so confident about this that you have dismissed my comments twice now, so it should be easy for you to prove me wrong. I can’t wait to see you bring up the multi-campus movement “Students for Justice in Kosovo” and their incessant demands that numerous student governments boycott Yugoslavia until Yugoslavia gives up the ghost.

        Also, I was very careful and specific in my comment when I wrote, “…the destruction of Israel as the DEMOCRATIC, political entity which exists today.” Your examples were of non-democratic states. Thus, at the very least, the second element of the proof required of you is an example of a similar campaign against another democratic country.

        Good luck!

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 4:48 pm | #

        S Wallerstein,

        If you acknowledge that it was pressure that made you come to your conclusions, how do you know that these conclusions aren’t wrong?

        I’m only asking because your conclusions are wrong and you appear to be confused.

      • s. wallerstein September 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm | #


        You ask how I know that conclusions reached under pressure aren’t wrong?

        That’s an interesting philosophical question and I suppose that in general, conclusions reached under pressure should be submitted to the same tests as conclusions reached otherwise.

        For example, I stopped smoking because of social pressure. In retrospect, that seems to have been a correct decision.

        I became much less sexist because of pressure from women who found me to be a chauvinist pig (that’s back in the 1970’s). I’d say that that too was a correct decision.

        I could give other examples, but those two seem to show that conclusions reached under pressure are not necessarily wrong.

        As I get older, I find that I have lots of prejudices from my upbringing, which, as I said, was quite Zionist and I find that it’s worthwhile to examine the prejudices which come from my somewhat provincial upbringing in the light of what others think.
        That’s one of the reasons I participate in forums in internet.

        As a Jew, I identify with Jews and expect a Jewish state to observe human rights and to be reasonably just in its policies. That other states (you mention Saudi Arabia and China) violate human rights does not surprise me, but it seems that my role is first to get my own house in order, that is, Israel before I becry brutality elsewhere.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm | #

        S Wallerstein,

        You could have been born 40 years earlier and found cigarettes to be very desirable due to social pressure. Presently there are studies showing that red wine may be good for you and last week the NY Times published an article with the results of a study demonstrating that more fat in a diet is healthy. I’m sure you cut back on fats as well in the past due to pressure from a nagging partner, but now you’ll have to get back to eating napoleons along with your fatty steak due to a new nagging partner.

        Perhaps it’s better to stick to some core fundamentals?

        I, too, expect a Jewish state to observe human rights and to be reasonably just in its policies. That’s precisely why I continue to support Israel. For example, today there was a report in the Israeli press that the community which receives the second largest amount in federal government subsidies is the Arab sector (http://www.timesofisrael.com/settlements-get-higher-share-of-state-funds-study-reveals/). This is a community in which Christian Arabs have higher matriculation rates than Jewish Israelis, in which all religions, including ones that come under severe pressure in other Middle Eastern states, such as the Baha’i, have complete freedom of religion, a community which is presently targeted by the government for “affirmative action” type hiring policies. And now we learn they also receive more subsidies than most Jewish communities in the country despite the fact that some of these other communities send their sons and daughters to the army to risk life and limb to defend against Israel’s attackers.

        I could go on, as I’m sure you realize, but my point is that if your concern is with Israel’s policies, surely the very first policy that should concern you is that Israel, a state the majority of whose citizens are refugees or descended from refugees should be able to protect them from extremely hostile neighbors.

        It should also be noted that it’s one thing to claim that you are seeking to address issues which concern you about Israel, but it’s an entirely different matter when you seek to destroy the state which in its present form is a democratic embodiment of its citizens’ desire for self-determination. That is what the anti-Israel movement on campuses is seeking. They’re saying this explicitly.

        Finally, your point about China and Saudi Arabia entirely misses what I am saying. My point is that it is absurd to attack a country like Israel when you have countries such as China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, etc. all committing horrific, ongoing human rights abuses that significantly outweigh what is happening in Israel by many measures, including one of a basic count of how many people are affected.

        Let me give you an example of the immoral nature of your position. Assad pere and Assad fils have both been committing crimes against their people for decades. The father murdered 20,000 unarmed, non-hostile civilians in Hama in the ’80s in a matter of weeks – which is more Palestinian Arabs than have been killed in combat and wars and demonstrations by Israel or the Yishuv since the conflict began 100 years ago – and yet nothing was done to him or his regime. There were no boycotts, no attempts to remove him. No conferences. Nothing. In fact, many of the same people who attack Israel today used Syria as an example of a state that was victimized by Israel. That seems to me to be a significant oversight by the people who care about human rights.

        What happened? Well, since Assad pere’s rule’s horrendous activities were ignored by the world, he was able to continue to inflict horrors upon his subjects and then hand off his rule to his son. I have sat in lecture halls where some of the very people listed on the list supporting the boycott against UIUC for Salaita spoke on behalf of the “reformist” son who Israel MUST make peace with if it is to adhere to international law (by peace they meant to give up the Golan Heights). While they were defending this murderer, he was busy following in his father’s footsteps until he began to bomb them and to gas his own citizens – something Israel claimed his father had done before him as well.

        So you see, every time you ignore awful human rights violations on a scale far worse than Israel’s supposed (and some real) violations, even if your excuse is that you’re not Chinese or Saudi or Korean – an excuse that doesn’t seem to trouble many Israel critics who are neither Palestinian nor Jewish – you are violating the rights and needs of true victims of human rights violations. What is worse is that you’re using rhetorical tricks (and in this case an appeal to common heritage) to justify ignoring the plight of hundreds of millions around the world in order to focus on Israel, the only state identified as the Jewish state.

      • s. wallerstein September 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm | #


        I really admire you energy. How can you write so fast without grammatical or syntactical errors?

        You make a false assumption, that the BDS movement seeks to destroy Israel. Corey, for some reason I do not understand, seems to agree with you about that, but I don’t.

        I would not support any movement which seeks to destroy Israel. I simply want Israel to adhere to reasonable standards of human rights and social justice. By the way, Israel has a right to an army and to modern armaments: they do not have a right to occupy territories seized in the 1967 war. After Israel withdraws from those territories and from East Jerusalem, I would advise them to
        maintain an efficient and well-armed military force because it’s a tough world.

        That you may find some anti-semites in the BDS movement I do not deny, but the fact there are some does not discredit the whole movement. Political alliances make strange bedfellows, they say. The presence of anti-semites in the BDS should no more scare people away from it than the presence of Stalinist communists in the U.S. civil rights movement should have scared people away from it.

        As for Mr. Assad, he’s a ruthless dictator, but given the rise of ISIS, I sense that he’s soon to become one of the best friends of the so-called free world.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 8:49 pm | #

        S Wallerstein,

        “How can you write so fast without grammatical or syntactical errors?”

        If only this were true. I’ve made many embarrassing mistakes in these comments, but I don’t have time to proofread.

        “You make a false assumption, that the BDS movement seeks to destroy Israel. Corey, for some reason I do not understand, seems to agree with you about that, but I don’t.”

        Corey agrees with me because that is precisely what BDS seeks to achieve. You can dance around the meaning of things, but essentially the movement seeks to eliminate the political entity of Israel as it exists and as it presently and historically represents the will of its majority.

        Salaita, for example, believes fully and completely that he has a right to live as a full citizen of Israel despite the fact that he’s an American-Nicaraguan-Jordanian. That’s fair enough, he feels a deep connection to that land. However, he also knows that in order to accomplish this fantasy, he must eliminate the present political reality of Israel entirely. The problem is that since Israel is a democracy whose creation was supported by the international community, and is a country with Basic Laws and other governing rules that have come into being under democratically elected governments (including rules that allow, in his words “for every jackass who claims” to be Jewish to move to Israel), what Salaita and BDS are proposing is nothing less than the elimination of the Israeli state to exist as it presently does.

        Except that this state is the realization and embodiment of its people’s desire to govern themselves. Salaita and BDS would take that CHOICE and RIGHT away from them, which as you probably know is a declaration to remove their universal right to self-determination.

        By the way, the BDSers aren’t stupid and they know that what I’ve just stated is unimpeachable, so people like Omar Barghouti are now writing papers where they claim that this universal right of self-determination does not apply to…you guessed it, Israelis.

        “I would not support any movement which seeks to destroy Israel.”

        Good, you reject BDS, and now you partially know why.

        “I simply want Israel to adhere to reasonable standards of human rights and social justice.”

        Good, because it does. There is certainly plenty of room for improvement but what it already offers compares well to most countries that have been around for centuries and which do not have enemies on their borders.

        “By the way, Israel has a right to an army and to modern armaments: they do not have a right to occupy territories seized in the 1967 war. After Israel withdraws from those territories and from East Jerusalem, I would advise them to maintain an efficient and well-armed military force because it’s a tough world.”

        Glad you support the IDF. Israel has every legal right to maintain a presence in any territory which it conquered in a defensive war in 1967. Read 242 and 338 which are the basis for the Oslo Accords, which, in turn, govern the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians. Essentially, until the day the requirements of those resolutions are met (and if you read them you’ll see this isn’t likely to happen any time soon), Israel may legally remain in that territory. There are also legal scholars who claim Israel has a right to the land of Judea and Samaria because of San Remo, but we’ll leave that argument aside and merely focus on the legality of the present situation. Additionally, Israel has a moral right to be there, but that’s also another discussion.

        As for “East Jerusalem,” it is the same as “West Bank,” a false name given by the Jordanians in order to attempt to claim sovereignty over this land. Every time you use that term you support a historical fiction. Eastern Jerusalem is neither Jordanian nor Palestinian. You may claim that it is also not Israeli, despite the fact that Israel has annexed this area – which according to many of Israel’s opponents is precisely the outcome they seek when they claim they want a single state for all this area’s residents – but at the very least, eastern Jerusalem is disputed.

        I have to add that since you are a Jewish person who cares deeply about your heritage it surprises me the ease with which you would remove Israel from the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter which are both in eastern Jerusalem and as an excuse base your claims on the forced cleansing of every last Jew from this area for 19 years in 1948. Even if you aren’t aware of Jewish history and its connection to this area, how could you be unaware of Palestinian-Arab imposed limits on the number of Jews who were permitted to pray at the Western Wall when the British gave the Arabs authority over this area during the Mandate years? How can you be unaware of the Jordanian violation of the cease fire terms with Israel, a cease fire which lasted for 19 years, during which they did not permit a single Jew to pray at the Western Wall despite having agreed to permit it? They didn’t even permit non-Jews with Jewish sounding names in! They also created a law that specified that any Jew who had lived in the city previously would not be permitted to take Jordanian citizenship – every Jew, not every Zionist. And furthermore, how can you be unaware of the PA’s position that any historic claim by the Jewish people to the Western Wall or the Temple Mount is a historic lie? These are the people to whom you would grant sovereignty and control over this site?

        “That you may find some anti-semites in the BDS movement I do not deny, but the fact there are some does not discredit the whole movement.”

        Sorry, Wallerstein, but I’ve pointed out to you that there are numerous nations that would deserve boycott if the issues were human rights violations, occupation, war or any other number of reasons given by BDSers and Israel’s opponents generally. By focusing on one country, which happens to be the one identified by its majority as a Jewish one, to the exclusion of others, the BDS movement not only deflects much-needed attention from serious violators, it also demonstrates it is inherently antisemitic. That’s without getting into the actual antisemitic claims made by many of its members. Salaita tacitly acknowledges this when he states “By eagerly conflating Jewishness and Israel, Zionists are partly responsible when people say antisemitic shit…” Translation: “We know that we say antisemitic shit about Israel, Israelis and their Jewish supporters, but it’s their fault for being Jewish and letting us know.”

        What discredits the BDS movement further is their desire to destroy a people’s universal right to self determination, their monstrous generalizations about people who support Zionism, their attempts to coerce historical antisemitic tropes into present day depictions of Israelis and their supporters (see Salaita’s book review of Foxman’s book about the myth of Jewish power), their intentional exclusion of scholars and individuals whose work and ideas contradict theirs from any form of academic exchange, their on-campus hostility toward Israeli and Jewish speakers who aren’t on their side of the political divide, their systematic exclusion of dialogue with Jewish organizations, and their emphasis on leading student boycotts against Israel on the basis of accusations that could be applied to many other countries including the USA.

        “Political alliances make strange bedfellows, they say. The presence of anti-semites in the BDS should no more scare people away from it than the presence of Stalinist communists in the U.S. civil rights movement should have scared people away from it.”

        Yeah, well, read the above. The entire movement is tainted. But you’re right, political alliances do make strange bedfellows. That is why the very same leftists who affiliate themselves with criticism of Israel line up with Muslim and Arab critics who come from countries where the reality for most citizens is antithetical to these leftists’ sworn views. Consider what happened to Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis. As one commentator pointed out at the time, apparently women’s rights in Islamic and Arab countries lie far lower on the ladder of “human rights” hierarchical ladder than, say, trying to support Palestinians in their quest to destroy Israel.

        “As for Mr. Assad, he’s a ruthless dictator, but given the rise of ISIS, I sense that he’s soon to become one of the best friends of the so-called free world.”

        Great. That means that shortly I’ll once again sit in university halls and listen to some blow-hard “expert” pontificate about Israeli intransigence (dressed up with comments about supposed Israeli aggression and human rights violations) in making peace by stubbornly forgoing giving up vital strategic territory to a Syrian “reformist” leader. And standing next to her on the podium will be other academics who will nod their head in heavy assent, shaming themselves and the entirety of their scholarship. Maybe if I’m lucky they’ll permit me to ask one question from the audience, since they will certainly not have extended an invitation to join the panel to any scholar who might present a different viewpoint on Israel.

        Poor students! This is what amounts to “academic freedom” these days and this is precisely what universities have permitted to happen to their campuses under this mantra. UIUC has made a very wise choice regarding Salaita.

    • Ligurio September 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm | #

      You unintentionally get at the crux of the issue. In fact, Israel prioritizes its status as a “Jewish-identified state” well before its status as a democratic state. See the many many public comments from Israeli politicians to this effect in regards to the African refugee “infiltrators” and “intruders”, Israel’s construction of an enormous outdoor prison to “hold intruders” before they are later “expelled,” Israel’s apartheid-like refusal to grant Palestinians democratic rights and privileges, and so forth. Israel is a democratic state in much the way that South Africa was a democratic state. I was in favor of the destruction of the South African apartheid state, and I am in favor of the destruction of the state of Israel, insofar as it is premised on similar principles.

    • Andrew Miller September 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm | #

      ” BDS is officially for the destruction of Israel as the democratic, political entity which exists today.”

      Right, just like the Civil Rights movement was officially for the destruction of the South as the democratic, political entity which existed at the time and just like the campaign to boycott South Africa was officially for the destruction of South Africa as the democratic, political entity which existed at the time.

      • Matt September 10, 2014 at 8:49 pm | #

        “the South as the democratic, political entity which existed at the time.” If you mean the Confederacy, it went under in 1865, so no, the Civil Rights movement was not for the destruction of anything since there was no South as a political entity at the time.

    • Brian September 10, 2014 at 1:38 pm | #

      An exclusionist nation state that practices murder and dispossession as social policy should not exist. It should be replaced by a secular, transparent and democratic state with equal rights for all and justice for all those impacted by its policies. Even former IDF soldiers are coming to this conclusion — that occupation is wrong and immoral. When will you? http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il

    • GeoffT September 10, 2014 at 6:00 pm | #

      I am a scottish born brit and plenty of people are lobbying for the ‘destruction’ of my country on university campuses, even as I write. I feel real angst about the legal/national geography of the place I was born changing such that it no longer exists. I don’t want it to happen but it might.

      Israeli-jews are in a wildly more volatile situation than us, but the belief that preserving nations as they currently exist is some sort of inviolable moral principle whose rejection is evidence of racism/genocidal intent is wrong. Self-determination seems like it can trump the demand to maintain the existence or integrity of exising states (in my case that of the only scottish country within the union).

      I should add that I don’t really have a clear views as to the endurance of Israel as the only jewish state. But you should see that it does not follow from the desire to see a fundemental change in the nature/makeup/constitution of the state of Israel that one is pro-genocide or anti-semetic (it might be that they actually are, but the formentioned desire is not equivalent to it).

      • Bor September 11, 2014 at 1:17 pm | #

        Geoff, your country isn’t surrounded by enemies. If it morphs into something else, you will not be threatened and other than some expected negative economic fallout, the only thing you will experience is a new democratic government.

        Unfortunately, Israel is surrounded by hostile countries and people and there is both a history of strife over the past century as well as far deeper historic and religious conflicts that will certainly affect the outcome. Let me ask you a question. You are watching what ISIS is doing to the minorities in its midst – specifically the mass murder of the men in the areas it captures and the enslavement of women and children. Would you even risk this happening to your people if you could avoid it?

        Too harsh? ISIS is an “anomaly” and what has happened to two countries that are far bigger than Israel is going to turn out differently? Okay, then show me another democracy in the area. Lebanon comes closest and that country has been under either Syria’s or Hizbullah’s thumb for decades, without getting into the civil wars it has experienced on a sectarian basis. Hamas or Fatah? Both undemocratic and quite vicious with their opponents. Hamas used Fatah men as human shields during the recent Gaza operation and executed 27 of them on the street openly. They threw Fatah men off rooftops in 2006 when they took Gaza over. Egypt? The new government, a remake of the old government, killed 550 demonstrators in one day and is presently giving life and 20 year prison sentences to political opponents.

        Even if you are an eternal optimist, would you ever risk the possibility of avoiding this outcome if you could help it? This isn’t a game or some battle on a campus somewhere, this is real.

        Despite the fact that all the anti-Israel groups in the US have the words “peace” and “justice” in their names, the cri de coeur of this conflict is “itbah al yahud” (http://hamodia.com/2014/07/16/2014-anti-semitic-redux-parisian-style/) not kumbaya, and has been as far back as 1920 when the Arabs launched their first attacks on what was then a tiny Jewish minority in what was the remnant of Ottoman Palestine. Or, as Salaita, a Palestinian-American, two generations removed from Mandatory Palestine and possessor of three academic degrees would have it, all the “settlers” should “go missing.”

  7. thom prentice phd September 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm | #

    This whole “civility” thing is bullshit.

    One should read the, ahem “DECORUM” rules for any city council, court, school board, whatever, the “civility” rules go on and on and cover the most puerile, infantile, tiniest most minute stuff, all to REPRESS citizen participation. For instance, the Dallas City Council outlaws POSTERS — THAT is a violation of decorum for them, but a violation of the First Amendment for me. Plenty of cops there to arrest anyone with posters but no cops there to arrest the Council for violating the First Amendment. WHat Up With That?

    Most of the rules of DECORUM are infantile, puerile, childish, treating adults as children — perhaps rules MADE by adults who HAVE infantile child psyches — ‘arrested development’ — maybe THAT is why they seek public office and constant external gratification in the first place. I am beginning to wonder if puerile, infantility is the flip side of fascism.

    People who have respect for each other — like, say, collegiality — do not NEED rules of civility — especially from FLAGRANT, BLATANT VIOLATORS of civility — like Phyllis Wise and Christopher Kennedy (is his father turning over in his Arlington grave?) who VIOLATE CIVILITY by SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT of say, The First Amendment — which is a CIVILITY VIOLATION and CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY of the most HEINOUS SORT. To The Hague with both Wise and Kennedy and everyone else involved in this sorry AIPAC/LIKUD fascism. And that is what it is puerile, infantile, AIPAC/LIKUD FASCISM.

    Fascism is not civil so to have fascists trying to impose civility on others is, well, fascist.

    But I could be wrong.

  8. CM September 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm | #

    Civility in Israeli politics seems to be a recent innovation, according to a recent piece in Haaretz, titled, “Is civility breaking out in Israeli politics?” http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/is-civility-breaking-out-in-israeli-politics.premium-1.506417

  9. Roquentin September 10, 2014 at 1:47 pm | #

    There would be a degree of validity to the argument of why should Israel be targeted when so many other nations have human rights abuses that are just as bad, but the massive difference is that the US government doesn’t support those governments on anywhere near the same level. Staying out is one thing, actively supporting is entirely another. I’m usually the first one to favor the US minding its own business. I rolled my eyes when people talked about boycotting the Olympics in Beijing (over Tibet) and Moscow (over Homophobia). Did a single person who argued for that say the same thing about the Olympics in Salt Lake City? Was there a call to boycott those games over Iraq and Homophobia. Last I checked, Utah wasn’t exactly gay friendly either.

    All of this is just to restate how different, at least to me (as a goy no less), active support is from staying out of it. I’d prefer not to be involved at all, but since the country I reside in already is that choice was more or less made for me.

    • Ligurio September 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm | #

      You must have missed the whimsical note wherein Bor informed us all that the U.S.’s relationship with Turkey is as intimate and enabling as its relationship to Israel.

      • bor September 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm | #

        Ligurio, that wasn’t my note and it’s not what I wrote. You professed ignorance regarding the relationship between Turkey and the USA and I provided a link demonstrating that Erdogan is extremely well liked by Obama and that relations and cooperation between the two countries are held at higher levels than many other countries. Obviously you were ignorant about this in the first place and then you compound this ignorance with a lack of comprehension when you see a piece of information intended to enlighten. I can’t really help you. Sorry.

    • Bor September 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm | #

      Right. Then why don’t you target China, with whom we conduct hundreds of billions in trade every year – far more than any relationship we have with Israel? Why don’t you target Saudi Arabia whom we’ve supported in numerous ways for decades, militarily and financially? Your argument is that we don’t support them as much as Israel? Of course we do. The only difference is that they’re authoritarian regimes with far, far worse human rights records and that unlike Israel they don’t have to deal with diplomatic, political and military attacks against them. You cannot single out a single state and claim that you’re not singling it out – particularly when there are countries around that commit far worse violations. Why aren’t you actively boycotting or seeking to destroy Turkey, a country that has been occupying Cyprus brutally? That occupation is only 7 years younger than Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, and Israel’s presence there was justified by a war launched against it and a promise by the international community, whereas Turkey has zero justification for its actions and is both an American and European ally.


      And I cannot stress enough how egregious this focus on Israel is in historical terms when one considers that it is the sole Jewish-identified country in the world.

      • NattyB September 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm | #

        And I cannot stress enough how egregious this focus on Israel is in historical terms when one considers that it is the sole Jewish-identified country in the world.

        How is that even a principled argument? Hey, you know those 500 children who were killed for no good reason. Yah . . . about them . . . I know, I know, you’re pretty angry since nobody forces Israel to kill those children. I know, you’re upset because Israel, yes they deny Palestinians basic human rights and then kills them when they fight back . . . Yes, I know they turned Gaza into a parking lot and leveled entire high-rises for no good reason. But you have to understand, this is the sole Jewish-identified country in the world, so, to point out it’s war crimes, including on-going ethnic cleansing, is a tad, shall we say, gauche.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 4:43 pm | #

        “How is that even a principled argument?”

        You need to think about this a little bit, Natty. Permit me to give you a hint as to the field of research where you should begin your search: History.

      • NattyB September 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm | #

        So because of the Holocaust, we cannot criticize Israel? And that to you is a principled argument? This is what I get for responding to Bore.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm | #

        Is that the extent of what has happened to Jews in history, Natty?

        Did political Zionism precede the Holocaust? If so, why?

        Did religious Zionism precede the Holocaust? If so, why? and how?

        From where do Israel’s Jews come (hint: Arab and Muslim lands)?

        I could continue, but you have a pretty big research assignment before you.

      • Roquentin September 10, 2014 at 8:22 pm | #

        Do you sincerely think that the Jews are the only ethnic group in history to suffer? Or that their sufferings are so great that no one else’s compare? That this suffering gives them carte blanche approval to do anything they please? Or maybe you think suffering just doesn’t count when it isn’t happening to you or people like you…. I can’t tell.

        Not only that, why should this argument be a pissing contest about “who suffered the most” historically? Is this really the only way Israel’s actions can be justified in 2014?

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 9:03 pm | #

        Roquentin, do you sincerely believe that straw men and red herrings count in a debate?

      • Ash September 10, 2014 at 9:05 pm | #


        Israel’s Jews also come from white Christian Europe and the US. The fact that they were subjected to pogroms isn’t something that we can all collectively be held responsible for, esp if one is a mixed race South Asian Jew living in Britain like me. Nor should we be precluded from criticising and challenging the genocidal policies and ethnic cleansing of a state whilst our arse-licking governments, in our name, stay silent.

        Quit with the bullshit.

      • bor September 11, 2014 at 12:56 am | #

        Yes Ash, of course Israel’s Jews come from Europe. I wrote my comment to Natty quickly, it’s supposed to say “From where do MOST OF Israel’s Jews come.” The majority come from Muslim and Arab countries. The rest of your comment has nothing to do with what I wrote, it’s just you frothing at the mouth.

      • NattyB September 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm | #


        My Jewish side came from Russia in 1905. My Wife’s Jewish side came to the New World in the early 16th Century from Portugal.

        I was Bar Mitvah’d by the Kotel. I’m also part East Asian. I have no f—ing clue why you asked me “from where do most of Israel’s Jews come from,” as if it matters. The European anti-semitism was significantly worse than that faced by the Mizrahim.

        I just don’t like seeing the natives slaughtered in my name, as a Jew, and I find it offensive whenever someone tries excusing Israel’s mistreatment of minorities by pointing to how Jews have been mistreated in the past. The learning lesson to me, is never again. Not, “it’s our turn,” to be the bad guy.

      • Bor September 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm | #


        Your personal history is irrelevant here. I hope you had a nice bar mitzvah.

        It doesn’t matter whether European antisemitism was worse or better than that experienced by Jews in Arab and Muslim lands. 99% of that community no longer lives in Arab and Muslim lands, including some who lived in ancient communities such as in Iraq. 75% of those 99% moved to Israel and today they and their descendants live in Israel, a country that has provided a refuge and a new home for them because they needed one after the Arab violence and discrimination they faced.

        This is a home they’ve had to defend with life and limb, not by “slaughtering natives” you little propagandist. The US, UK and NATO have yet to get their combatant to civilian death ratio in wartime even close to Israel’s.

        Since you’re too obtuse to understand the point, I guess I’ll have to spell it out for you so that we can stop wasting time: the issue isn’t that historic abuse of Jews gives Israel carte blanche to do anything, particularly since that’s not how Israel acts anyway.

        Rather, the point I’ve been making is that by discriminating against Israel in a manner that no other country or people face, especially serious offender countries and groups whose crimes make Israel look like Mother Theresa, those who are doing it – such as, for example, campus and boycott activists – are echoing this historic discrimination and abuse of the Jewish people. And they’re doing it regarding a set of circumstances that if successful would weaken Israel to the point where it would not be able to defend itself…at which point the almost certain outcome is a repeat of history.

        This is why I keep repeating that Israel is the sole Jewish-identified country in the world. It is the physical and political embodiment of what had been a weak and dispersed minority that could not defend itself against the violence and discrimination it faced. Of course, just as Jews were a minority in their countries, now Israel is a tiny minority in a world with hundreds of countries…and just like those Jewish communities, it is being treated harshly and unfairly (think of the UN “Human Rights” Council.” Every time you hold Israel to a standard to which you don’t hold other countries and every time you ascribe violent motives or some other trope of antisemitism to Israel and Israelis, you are playing the role of an unwitting (or worse, witting) accessory to those who openly seek to repeat history.

        You don’t want to see Israel kill anyone? Great! We agree on this. So then why don’t you spend your valuable energy pressing its enemies, those who deny its right to exist as a Jewish state, to stop with their attacks?

  10. LFC September 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm | #

    Bor’s comments way upthread about the Soviet Union having been an ‘artificial’ entity (and by implication not a recognized sovereign state) are just weird. The U.S. recognized and had diplomatic relations w the USSR for decades. So did most other countries. That the USSR might have ‘enslaved’ regions like the Baltics and others that wd have preferred independence is a proposition that’s certainly defensible but it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with whether the USSR was a recognized sovereign state, legitimate in international law. It was. Period.

    (P.s. I haven’t read every single word in this lengthy thread. There is a limit to my patience.)

    • bor September 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm | #

      Tell that to the Lithuanians, Georgians, Chechens, Ukranians, etc., etc., etc. Anyway, I wasn’t commenting on whether the Soviet Union was a state, it most certainly was. However, I was pointing out that it was an authoritarian state that eliminated entire other states’ – nations or groups or communities, actual states! – right to self-determination violently when it established itself. The irony of this should not be lost upon anybody who reads the UN rule found in UNSCR 242 that (paraphrasing) the acquisition of territory by force is impermissible and is read by Israel’s opponents to mean that Israel must get out of Judea and Samaria. Apparently some rules apply to some countries and not to others. The USSR was then, as it is now, a permanent member of the UNSC and one with veto power.

      • bor September 10, 2014 at 9:02 pm | #

        I meant to write ” – NOT nations or groups or communities, actual states! -“

      • Brian September 11, 2014 at 9:41 am | #

        Anyone who says “Judea and Samaria” shows their inability to argue based on logical and rational principles. Just own it already, you want to shout everyone down and write longer and more tediously than everyone else. We know who you are, Bor, and who pays you to spend your time spewing propaganda. Tell your masters it’s amazing that they’d finance someone to respond to Corey’s blog. Their level of paranoia and defensiveness is something to see. But you and they are losing control of the narrative. We can expect more rhetorical thrashing from you. More nonsense like “we can do what we like to the Palestinians because Jews were expelled from (unrelated) Muslim and Arab countries.” Illogical, unsubstantiated propaganda that seeks to reduce the Palestinians to perpetrators and the Zionist state to perpetual victim hood. I say again — grow a pair and accept that you support a murderous, discriminatory, dehumanizing philosophy that has war crimes to answer for.

      • Bor September 11, 2014 at 1:52 pm | #


        I’m glad to read that you see Joooos in your dreams, but I did want to educate you regarding the name Judea and Samaria, since you think that using this term indicates something negative.

        Judea and Samaria is the accepted name for the area you wish to call “West Bank.” For one piece of evidence, take a look at the UN Special Committee Report on Palestine which was the basis for UNGA 181, the Partition Resolution of 1947.


        In describing division of the territory, the report specifically mentions “the hill country of Samaria and Judea.” Do you know why? Because that is the historic designation of this area.

        When did this change? When Jordan conquered this area in 1948, after signing the cease fire with Israel, Jordan began a process of seeking to annex this territory. It renamed Judea and Samaria “West Bank” to indicate that it is the west bank area of the Jordan River and changed its own name from TransJordan (meaning, the area across the Jordan) to Jordan. Jordan then tried to officially annex this territory but was rebuffed by the international community, except, of course, for Britain (and I think Pakistan). How long did the Jordanians control this territory? 19 years.

        Permit me to suggest that when someone uses “West Bank” today instead of the historic name Judea and Samaria, they are simply demonstrating ignorance of this history or an attempt to establish conclusions where none exist.

  11. Pablo September 11, 2014 at 5:59 am | #

    This excellent post, predictably, attracted hasbarist trolls spewing the same tired nonsense.

  12. J Thomas September 11, 2014 at 10:39 am | #

    It does not make sense for Bor to win arguments here. By the time somebody is clicking on Corey’s post, they’ve almost certainly already seen through his hasbara. So his alternative approach is to interfere with his enemies’ communications. The more he can get people to reply to him instead of saying something potentially useful, the better he does.

    He can quickly paste in long comments from his library, and add in a sentence or two at the beginning or end, or occasionally in the middle, to make it look like it’s a response to somebody. If you actually reply to him, it takes more of your time than his. So he can count it a win.

    If you are commenting here, he has chosen you for an enemy. Blogging: War by other means.

    • Bor September 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm | #

      Everything I write is as fresh as the baguette I enjoyed this morning from the bakery. No cutting and pasting for me.

      Glad to see that you think I’m having an outsize impact and this little ol’ writer can affect you to the point where you have to fantasize about some imaginary conspiracies.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 11, 2014 at 2:39 pm | #

        You mean like your utterly baseless fantasy that Salaita would — *ahem* — terrorize Jewish and/or Zionist students who would take a course that he teaches? It is you that fantasizes about others, yo.

      • s. wallerstein September 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm | #


        So happy to hear that you enjoyed your breakfast.

        The issue here really is not if Israel is surrounded by threats or whether it is the only democratic state in the region or not, but Professor Salaita being fired.

        Since you yourself emphasize that you have felt excluded or even fearful of your employment (I assume that that is why you don’t use your name) and since you seem to be a professor, I don’t understand why you don’t support Salaita’s reasonable quest to teach where he had been given a job. That’s basic empathy.

        Anybody can say stupid or imprudent things in tweeter, which is one of the reasons I don’t have tweeter and it is quite possible that Salaita said stupid things there. Maybe he was drunk or high or
        in a bad mood.

        However, what one says in tweeter or to friends should not be taken into account in evaluating one’s employment, especially if one has already gotten the job.

        Maybe in the institution you work in a very pro-Palestinian administration will come into power. Would you like to be fired because of some imprudent things you said on Corey’s blog a day that you had an extra beer or two with your lunch or got caught in a long, long irritating traffic jam?

        What’s more, university communities (and democracies in general) become richer when they are more diverse. Debating the issues makes us think. I bet that all this debate has forced you to reexamine your own views about Israel, even if you ended up reconfirming what you previously believed.

        I would imagine that someone who obviously enjoys debating as much as you do and who does it as well would welcome a university community where you could debate someone like Professor Salaita.

        That’s my only point. Give Salaita his job back.

      • bor September 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm | #

        S Wallerstein,

        I didn’t discuss my employment or any other personal matter save for the baguette which I enjoyed.

        If you don’t fully understand Salaita and his positions, you should understand that since I’m a Zionist I am someone whom he holds in contempt a priori. He also seeks to eliminate me from the debate and definitely perceives me to be a reprehensible person. I’m going by his personal tweets and interviews in saying this.

        I’ll let the Chicago Tribune editors explain things:


        And they’re not even digging into his books and articles.

        Anyway, it’s over. The BoT voted 8-1 to prevent him from starting in a new job at UIUC. Now it’s going to be up to the lawyers.

      • s. wallerstein September 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm | #

        Sorry to hear that he wasn’t hired. It’s a shabby decision.

        Bor, your link didn’t work because it said “premium content, only available in the U.S.”. I’m from Chile.

        Even if Salaita would been against you being hired in similar circumstances (and you have no proof of that), there’s no reason to agitate against his job.

        I’m against McCarthyism of all sorts, not because I agree with Communists or because I imagine that once in power Communists would defend me, but because it’s better to allow everyone, whatever their views, the widest possible access to express their opinions.

      • Mystified September 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm | #

        Typically, when someone tries to hire away one of your star faculty members, the University goes to considerable lengths to put together a “retention package” to induce him or her to stay.

        In this case, Virginia Tech not only does not seem to have made any effort to retain Salaita, but has not even gone to the minimal step of offering him his old job back, when the new one fell through.

        Their silence speaks volumes …

  13. Notthatguy September 11, 2014 at 3:45 pm | #

    Can we be friends, bor?

    • bor September 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm | #

      If there’s chemistry, why not?

      • Notthatguy September 12, 2014 at 12:23 am | #

        I’d say that you could use a few friends here, but you’re doing just fine on your own. Nonetheless, you have a few here, even if they’re sometimes to tired to argue.

        And it’s a shame that it’s so hard for people to distinguish between intellectual confidence and dogmatism. It’s nice to find someone who has the former, and deservedly so, even if you have to exhaust yourself arguing against the latter.

      • bor September 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm | #

        Dude, you’ve made my day.

  14. Leila September 12, 2014 at 7:34 am | #

    So Israel throws the Palestinian Christians a few bones and that makes it generous. Israel was built on the robbery of Palestinian land, massacres by the Irgun, Stern, Hagganah (these Jewish terror gangs that included Shamir and Ben Gorion and other Israeli rulers formed IDF really IOF) and Ethnic cleansing of most of the people. We lost national lands, museums, banks, libraries, artifacts, schools, mosques, churches and public buildings, antiquities and precious collections of jewellries, embroidered clothes, cloth and tapestries (some in my family dating hundreds of years), personal family homes (my Grandpa dated to the 9th century but I can’t mention it as Israeli soldiers targeted people with means and robbed them), fruit and nut orchards, olive groves, olive presses, soap factories,orange groves and even the label Yaffa(renamed (Jaffa), aqueducts, underground cisterns dating back to a thousand years and robbed those ethnic cleansed of money, gold and birth certificates and other precious records. My Grandpa left West Bank to see my father who was dying of a heart attack and was forced to sign a paper in Hebrew that he gives up his rights to his home, property and the right to renter WB. My father read it before he died. It was in Hebrew a language my grandpa did not know, but my father did having been a lawyer in Jerusalem during the mandate. I was a college student outside during 1967 and Israel decided I can’t return after my studies as it did not count me after the invasion and I did not exist. Jews have a right to live and exist, but a racist colonialist undemocratic settler state needs to change and grow into an inclusive state, but the Bore does not want to give this privilege just like others refused for a long time as happened and still happens in US.

    • bor September 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm | #

      Leila, there are hundreds of thousands, and probably millions at this point, of Israelis who lost their homes, their communities, their valuables and sometimes they also lost family. No, it didn’t happen in Europe. It happened in parts of Mandatory Palestine and in numerous Arab and Muslim countries and it happened because of the conflict in Mandatory Palestine. Murderous riots in the Farhud in Iraq in the early ’40s were fomented by the Arab-“Palestinian” leader Haj Amin el Husseini. Later riots in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and other centers, particularly around 1948 but also in later years such as the riots in 1955 and ’56 in Morocco, led to the killing and destruction of Jewish homes and lives. Those communities dispersed due to the hostility and violence of their neighbors so that today 99% of the Jews in Arab countries are gone and three quarters of them ended up living in Israel.

      Your family experienced losses? I’m sorry to hear it. Really, I mean that sincerely.

      Surely, then, you understand fully why so many Israelis whose families had to pack up and leave hastily, sometimes leaving homes and communities that preceded your family’s 9th century home by 1400 years, view Israel as an indispensable refuge and home for them.

      They, too, had to begin again. Unlike most Palestinian families which were displaced 20-100 miles from their original homes in countries that were culturally the same and where Arabic was spoken (even if dialects were different), most Jewish families had to traverse countries and vast distances, and then had to learn a new language and adapt to a fairly new and modern culture very different than the place from which they were arriving.

      And they had to send their sons out to war in order to secure their families’ safety, often in wars they didn’t want. Some of those sons never returned and some who did were injured.

      Of course, if you’re familiar with the history, then you know very well that most of the Arab land losses in 1947 and 1948 happened because of a war the Israelis didn’t start, didn’t want and took steps to avoid. The Yishuv agreed to partition of land in 1937 that would have granted it control over very small parcels of land that would constitute a fraction of Israel’s land today. The Arabs rejected this proposition made by the Peel Commission.

      In 1947 the UN General Assembly proposed a division of the 22% of Mandatory Palestine that the British had not yet given away to Arabs, in violation of the rules of their Mandate, and offered the Jews 56% of that land, most of which was arid and unarable Negev desert land and offered to the Arabs 44%, much of which included the most fertile land in the territory. To put this into clear perspective, the Jews would have received a state in 12% of Mandatory Palestine, most of it desert, while the Arabs would have received two states on the remaining 88% of Mandatory Palestine, one of which was already in place.

      The Yishuv accepted and Arabs rejected.

      And the very next day, if you want to bring up Lehi and Irgun, the very next day after the UNGA vote in favor of the partition plan, Jaffa Arabs began shooting Yishuv Jews dead. Seven were killed that first day. A thousand would be murdered over the next three months. That is how the war started, before even getting into the Arab state attacks in the following year.

      The war that led to 1948 need not have happened.

      The base hatred of Jews that led to the destruction of the Jewish communities of the Levant need not have happened.

      The losses that so many experienced, Jewish and Arab, need not have happened.

      They happened primarily because the Arabs rejected any compromise with the Jews. Does 12% of Mandatory Palestine or even 50% of what was left after TransJordan was established seem unreasonable? And please don’t tell me this was “Arab land,” because most of it was not. The UN Committee which designed partition was extremely careful to adhere to community lines. The Partition Plan’s borders were indefensible. Furthermore, the UN committee essentially left Jerusalem – which was supposed to be internationalized – entirely surrounded by Arab lands, thereby cutting access to the Yishuv.

      The Arabs couldn’t live with Jerusalem in their back pocket and the best lands in what hadn’t already been given to Jordan?

      What I don’t hear from you, Leila, is an acceptance of any responsibility for what took place. Take some responsibility for a war that need not have happened. Take some responsibility for initiating that war. Take some responsibility for the hatred. Take some responsibility for the fact that 66 years later there are still “refugee camps” which are being kept there for optics, not because they’re needed (Yes! Read the Sixth Fatah Congress decision to keep refugee camps open because it helps with the struggle against Israel). Take some responsibility for the fact that Palestinians have still not been integrated into Lebanon, Jordan and have been kicked out of other host countries such as Kuwait.

      You don’t need to take full responsibility, but why don’t you begin with half. Half of what happened is the fault of the Arabs. I suggest you do this because if you begin with that premise, then you might, for the first time in a century, learn to find compromise. And if you seek compromise, then you’ll find it right along with the peace and justice Palestinian advocates claim they seek.

      You see, peace and justice also means peace and justice for the millions of Israelis who lost their homes because of 1948 and built new lives in Israel.

      Consider the following, Leila: if you understand that several hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs lost their homes and moved out this area, and then several hundred thousand Jews lost their homes in many of the same countries to which Palestinians moved ( the same countries that launched the war that culminated in Palestinian losses), and those Jews then moved into Israel, you will see that while you will never resolve the unfairness of what happened to individuals and their families, and you certainly won’t be able to turn the clock back, it is possible to find common ground on settling and ending this perpetual war and conflict.

      I know, I know, you’re angry and you’re steaming and you want to yell at me some more. Instead, perhaps you might want to take a little time and just think about what I’ve written.

  15. jonnybutter September 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm | #

    it is quite possible that Salaita said stupid things there. Maybe he was drunk or high or
    in a bad mood.

    I was also in a bad mood, watching hundreds of civilians – huddled in a big old ghetto – get slaughtered day after day after day, and the already pitiful infrastructure Israel allows them to have destroyed. Seeing children blown up or shot, it’s…I dunno, it makes me MOODY. Peeved. Even more when I know that it’s being done in my name with my tax money.

    You are a monster if that didn’t upset you.

    closed circuit to ‘Mystified’: you chose your name semi-wisely. You are completely talking out of your ass. thanks.

    • s. wallerstein September 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm | #

      Johnny Butter,

      Maybe I’m a monster, but one thing that I’ve learned, from experience, as I’ve grown older is that the public sphere is not that of self-expression.

      I (and I imagine, all people) have lots of hostile thoughts every day in frustrating situations and I don’t know how many times a day something makes me so indignant that I feel like killing someone. I generally keep those thoughts to myself or comment them to my partner.

      I’m not in tweeter, but I’ve learned that internet is the public sphere and that lots of people whom I don’t know and who have no way of knowing that I’m a completely non-violent person may end up reading any violent comments that I make.

      I think that Salaita, naturally indignant about Israeli aggression against Gaza, said something publicly that first of all, got him into a big mess and second, probably does not contribute to a peaceful and just solution in the Middle East (one that involves Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and from East Jerusalem, etc.), since it just scares a lot of people.

      As I said above, I support 100% Salaita’s right to his job and what he said in tweeter is no excuse to deprive him of it.

      • jonnybutter September 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm | #

        Maybe I’m a monster, but one thing that I’ve learned, from experience, as I’ve grown older is that the public sphere is not that of self-expression.

        First, please spare us the bor-ing rhetorical move (‘maybe I’m a monster’). Second, I bet I’m at least as old as you are (close to 60). Third, I don’t have any idea what you mean by: ‘The public sphere is not that of self expression’ What?

        I think that Salaita, naturally indignant about Israeli aggression against Gaza, said something publicly that first of all, got him into a big mess and second, probably does not contribute to a peaceful and just solution in the Middle East (one that involves Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and from East Jerusalem, etc.), since it just scares a lot of people.

        The problem here is two fold, One, the debate is about whether this should have gotten him into this kind of trouble; it doesn’t illuminate anything to say that he got into trouble – we know that! That is circular. Second, nothing anyone other than the Israeli government can do seems to contribute to a peaceful and just solution to the I/P problem. Nothing. It is preposterous to compare some tweets with the behaviour of the Israeli government over many many years. I am not going to recite the facts for you – you should know them by now.

        Since you are Chilean (I assume) at least the genocide is not being done in your name with your money, so maybe you naturally feel less urgently sick about it than I do. But there seems to be zero content in your response here. Sorry.

      • s. wallerstein September 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm | #

        Jonny Butter,

        I enter the public sphere because I want to convince others, to negotiate with them, to get them to see my point of view, not to
        let off steam or to tell the world how angry I am. Telling others how angry I am only convinces the already-convinced.

        In no way or in no moment did I compare Salaita’s tweets with Israeli aggression. That would be absurd. Israeli aggression is ethically unacceptable, while Salaita’s tweets are, let’s say, adolescent, the kind of thing that many of us may think, but we keep to ourselves because they don’t convince anyone except those who already agree with us.

        Salaita, in my opinion, was imprudent, not morally condemnable in his tweets and I say that above.

        Chile retired the ambassador to Israel in protest against the bombing of Gaza. Our president, Michelle Bachelet, can be described as “center-left”, but her decision to withdraw the ambassador was widely accepted across the political spectrum. I can understand your “not in my name” indignation.

      • jonnybutter September 12, 2014 at 9:29 pm | #

        I had a whole long comment SW, but…eh, I got rid of it. Enough long long comments from me.

        I would just say that I doubt you would be sanguine and cool headed the way you advise Salaita to have been if, in addition to just the brute fact of the Israeli government’s repulsive behavior toward the Palestinians, you, as a Chilean, were not only paying for it (3 billion dollars a year for almost 40 years), but you personally were also subject to punishment in your own country for criticizing said behaviour of a client government; and, as if that weren’t enough, this same repulsive government plotted with and allied itself with Pinochet types in Chile, and tried to undermine your elected president.

        It is intolerable and indefensible. The ‘Bor’s of the world can crank out as many square meters of bs as they want; and the Masters of the Universe, like this asshole Kennedy and the others, do have the power to stomp on people like in this particular situation. But it’s the beginning of the end for unquestioned support for the government of Israel in the US, and there is nothing either cohort can do about it, except hasten it (which they are, in fact, doing).

  16. Ms. Anonymous September 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm | #

    Thanks Bor, It’s refreshing to have the “other” side speak.

    I have no particular dog in this fight. (Full disclosure: I’m Irish-Canadian, atheist, ex-Catholic and have no Jews, Israelis, Arabs or Muslims in my extended family to my knowledge.) My politics is generic left-liberal. But I’m very sorry to say that over the course of my academic career – divided equally between Canada and the U.S. – the environment for Jewish students in the four universities in which I have taught has deteriorated noticeably over the last, say, twenty years. Your description of their predicament seems fair. And it pains me to say that the left has been if not entirely to blame for this environment, at least complicit. The universities today are pretty much inhospitable to anyone expressing pro-Israeli positions. And when I say “pro-Israeli” I am saying mainstream pro-Israeli, some variation of the 2-state position. Try pinning an Israeli flag to a table in any university hall these days and see how long it lasts without being torn down or defaced. But Hamas or Hezbollah banners (yes, I’ve learned to recognize them) seem quite welcome, even, paradoxically, at tables promoting women’s or gay rights. Since my field is physics, I can’t say with any certainty what it would be like for a Jewish (pro-Israel) student in a political science class, but my (anecdotal) assessment of colleagues in the social sciences suggests that they are intrinsically antagonistic to Israel. I regard myself as critical of many Israeli (governmental) actions, but the level of hostility (to Israel’s very existence) that I have witnessed in recent years in academia is a bit shocking.

    • Bor September 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm | #

      Thank you for your comment, Ms. Anonymous.

      I have watched the same deterioration.

      It is beyond sad.

      It is also, for those of us who know a little history, awful to watch and particularly galling when the primary culprits in having created this campus atmosphere deny that it’s happening, or worse, justify it.

  17. Leila September 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm | #

    Read, read and read and not only those you think are right. “The Gun and the Olive Branch” tells of the Israeli Mossad’s role in terror against Jews in Iraq and Egypt. Moshe Sharret confirmed it and that was what Israel planned in the Ingathering of the Jews. The The Western powers played their role. History is not static and the world will turn, turn and turn. Palestine/ Israel will be a one state for those who live in it. One man/woman one vote with equal rights. I am sad for our losses of family connections, community and society. I am sad my parents became impoverished so a Brooklyn Jew could take our house and land. My father should have retired with his heart condition. He kept working to support his elderly parents and his widowed sisters under occupation. Angry, no. I am past anger, but deeply saddened for the many who suffered and those who still suffer. One of my youngest cousins asked me when the pain will end. I replied that it may never end. It actually will get worse as we see from the Israeli attacks and the violent settlers running adults and children with their cars, shooting at villagers trying to extract a living under harsh conditions. Just as the Nazis wanted to remove Jews from within, these extremist Zionist want Palestinians gone and are calling for murder and mayhem. We are the original Jews who kept a live cultural heritage of biblical stories. My family is an example of that tolerance in intermarriages amongst all groups. Religion was needed to offer solace to those who needed to know they do not end at death as Gilgamesh and Samiramis sought. Judaism adopted these ideas. The other monotheistic religions followed suit. That was ancient history. Eternity is our collective memories and love of children and life. Humanism and Universal values should replace our antiquated view of the world If you need a God, pray for him without harassing me and stop quoting how he (only a chauvinist god does that) gave one chosen people someone’s home, fully furnished. I believe in children so I teach in a school where all races, languages and religions are amongst the families. I teach love and peaceful solutions as the world does not need any more hate. We need to end all conflicts and wars and pay attention to our Mother Earth. If we don’t do that, no need to worry about what God gave and to whom. Humanity is on the edge of extinction because of the greed of Western Colonialism married to Capitalism. The environment is facing collapse, but the militaristic states are marching to their own tune deaf to the loss of animal habitats, ocean environments and loss of plant varieties. Why because they think only they deserve to live and do not care about the death of others. My friend, death can’t tell your religious or ethnic makeup and it will come to all unless we act soon.

  18. Leila September 12, 2014 at 10:36 pm | #

    I will tell what made me angry. When my own innocent children were called names in a liberal US school because they mentioned the suffering of their Palestinian relatives. When my son was thirteen he was called a terrorist because he mentioned the Sabra and Shatila massacres. I took him to a demonstration on that fateful day in 1982. Years later my youngest at a Quaker school was told by her best friend she can’t be her friend anymore. My 9 year old asked why and her half Jewish half Irish friend told her that God gave her the land and Palestinians including her mother want to steal it. I spoke to her friend’s mother who was a librarian at the school. She told me yes God prefers them. My daughter initially got angry with me as she had hoped her friend would give up on some crazy idea and still be friends. She said I should not have talked to the mom. I moved my daughter as every lesson became about how Jews are superior and how God chose them. Peace and Justice message of Quakers got lost in the shuffle of Zionist teachings by teachers. My daughter told me later that she’s sorry she did not realize that girl was not really her friend and she was not mad about my talking. She said to me that anyone who believes he/she are superior have something wrong with the. She reiterated that she knows all people are born equal and her friend was taught these things by her mother. These two girls that went to school for 5 years prior were not allowed to see each other as the librarian started spreading rumors about my 9 year old and most of the girls stooped talking to her. That made me very anger as I saw my precious child a subject to ethnocentric bigotry. I refused to be shut down and spoke truth to justice and many of my friends in US as Jewish men and women who believe in Peace and Justice more than they believe in fairy tales. My own children became silent and lost in a country they call their own, the US. It took my youngest years to come to terms of being rejected at that school where children were aware of their status and how much money their parents made but not of humanity and the feelings of others. She remains sensitive to others and works now on peace and justice issues in this country where Ferguson gave the rest a window on life in places inside the US. My father, the lawyer of the poor would be proud of her.

  19. Leila September 12, 2014 at 10:49 pm | #

    Sorry for not editing previous writings. I guess am tired after a long day with 25 little primary children and hours of work after school.

    • bor September 13, 2014 at 12:17 am | #

      I don’t think the problem is with the editing.

      • Leila September 13, 2014 at 6:06 pm | #

        No more replies to a person from the stone age. Not worth my time to listen to your disrespect. After living seven decades plus, I learned a few things. One of them is to ignore prejudiced sh–s. Your problem is not ignorance but prejudice.

      • bor September 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm | #

        Nope, I’m afraid you missed the problem yet again, Leila. And throwing accusations of “prejudice” at me is not going to cut it just as your hateful screeds didn’t.

        If I may, I’d like to encourage you to consider two things.

        The first is that you should understand that you represent evidence demonstrating why the BDS movement is in actuality demanding Israel’s destruction. You see, they claim that “justice” will only be served, and the boycott ended, when you are permitted to move into Israel along with millions of other people who claim Palestinian descent. They want you to be an equal citizen with all other Israelis.

        Reading your comments, however, and be clear that they aren’t unique to you but reflect many, many, many similar conversations I’ve had over the years with Palestinians, people of Palestinian descent and their supporters, one doesn’t have to project long into the future to see how quickly Israeli society would be torn asunder if you and those who share your views would be given the right to move into that country.

        Your hateful views of Jews, of Israel and of recent and not-so-recent history embarrass you, embarrass those whose work you read/hear that taught this idiocy to you and provide ample evidence as to the real motives and nature of BDS and other boycott movements directed at Israel.

        The second thing I’d like you to consider is that you should look in the mirror. Look hard, Leila.

  20. בור September 14, 2014 at 2:36 am | #

    You know Bor, you must have subconsciously chosen your nickname on here for a good reason. Ask one of your friends to tell you what the word “bor” means in hebrew, it is pronounced exactly the same as in English. That is what you are 🙂

  21. Leila September 14, 2014 at 9:45 am | #

    Thanks for speaking up. Palestinians and their supporters have been silenced for too Long. I spoke to a Peace and Justice commission in a US city. An older Jewish woman told me to go home. Then she told me I did not exist as there is no Palestine and henceforth the are no Palestinians. When I was little my father told me to read widely and not rely on one source and open up to intellectual discourse. When I came to US to study, I was shocked to find so much close mindedness when it came to the issue of Palestine. Eduard Said talked about Intellectuals who are mouthpieces for the establishment. Also I think many side with their tribe so no need to read as you already made up your mind. I applaud the courageous ones who venture and will open the doors for others to speak.

    • wilywascal September 19, 2014 at 12:17 am | #

      It’s kind of funny, but sad, that in reading through the comments, it is bor who is trying to rationalize colonialism, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and the inherent racism in Zionism. He accuses others of hatred; he advises them to take responsibility for being dispossessed through no fault of their own, and then he tells them to look in the mirror! It is really just all more of the same projection we see so often from the hasbara. He claims to be sorry, but there is no remorse reflected in his words. His words instead reflect an ingrained fear and hatred of Palestinians and an unwillingness to take responsibility. It is actually he who is in need of serious introspection.

      The British Mandate nor the UN had any right to deprive Palestinians of their land and rights. Palestinians aren’t responsible for what Arab nations do, any more than one Western nation is responsible for what another does, but as is typical, the hasbara seek to conflate Palestinians with all Arabs. Palestinians didn’t go to Europe and start colonizing Jewish land to make an exclusive Palestinian state. Palestinians weren’t responsible for centuries of European persecution or the Holocaust, but they were forced to pay the highest cost, and bor likes to pretend there is nothing wrong with that. It’s the same kind of ignorance displayed in the past with Native Americans. Each tribe had its own territory, but European colonists saw nothing wrong with genocide, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and forcing them to move elsewhere when they desired the land and resources. What bor reveals is his intellectual dishonesty, because if the boot was on the other foot, he wouldn’t be defending Zionism. It’s a case of we got ours, so screw the indigenous people, because might makes right. No amount of disingenuous arguments can disguise that.

      Thank-you, Leila, for your eloquent and moving contributions here. It’s important to put a human face on things so that people don’t forget what has happened and is happening to real people.

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