Thursday, February 07, 2013

When Corey Robin says "We won" he's referring to academics and the principle of academic freedom, but it's a fact that the leader of the American Nazi party would never have been sponsored. Sponsorship is not endorsement but it is engagement. Ten years ago, any Palestinian who dared to argue for sanctions against Israel would have been seen within the academy as unworthy of engagement. The NY Times editorial from 3 days ago would never have been written.  Change begins outside the academy in the society of which the academy is an aspect.

To the small degree that the discussion of the BDS presentation has been about the merits of BDS itself it has been a discussion among Zionists and their friends, and former Zionists, about the appropriate definition of Zionism: another debate among moderate Christian/white/male/heterosexual people of the Jewish/negro/woman/homosexual problem.

American liberals above, American conservatives below.

THIS IS HOW CONGRESS DISCUSSES PALESTINE

Link here. So first, frame Palestinian reconciliation as a BAD THING even if it seems peace is pretty unlikely if the Palestinians are divided. Second, only invite Jewish experts from pro-Israel think tanks and advocacy groups. Third, whatever you do, don't invite Palestinians. Got it? Good.
Academics claim to be above it all, a priori, and they're not.  The principle of academic independence allows academics the space to follow intellectual pursuits. Having a degree and a title doesn't make you an intellectual.

The academy talks within and about itself. Those with an interest in larger issues haven't really paid attention. They're discussing drones, assassinations, torture, Egypt, The MB, Israel, Saudi, Tunisia, the murder of Chokri Belaid.

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