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Friday, September 26, 2008

No one on Israel's side at Yale

I had a cup of coffee with Noah Pollak several months ago, and we've been in touch regularly ever since. Noah is now in graduate school at Yale, where he seems to be determined to make himself the most hated man on campus. Yale has long been known for its hostility to Jewish students (a more subdued version of Columbia) but today, Noah ripped the mask off something Yale calls its Council on Middle East Studies (CMES) and shows that its upcoming conference will be a festival of Israel-bashing at which Israel will have no defenders on the panels.
The taxpayer-funded Council claims itself "a central resource for the Yale community, the region, and the nation on issues pertaining to the Middle East" that organizes programs and events "designed to advance understanding of regional issues." It is fair to ask whether CMES's annual conference furthers these objectives.

Several things are remarkable about the list of conference participants on the program. The keynote speaker--you can tell a lot about who the organizers of a conference wish to identify themselves with by the choice of the keynote--is Robert Malley, the controversial former Obama adviser whose work over the past several years has been notable in its effort to absolve Yasser Arafat of blame for the failure of the Camp David talks in 2000 and his attempt to convince anyone who will listen that the key to peace in the Middle East is for Israel and Abu Mazen to go hat in hand to Hamas. This is CMES's choice to headline its conference.


The panel on "Peacemaking in the 21st Century"--this presumably refers to the various Israeli-Arab conflicts--amazingly does not feature a single person on it who has a positive, or even balanced, thing to say about Israel. The "Israeli" voice is Avi Shlaim, who lived in Israel for a few years in childhood and today says that Israel looks "like an 'Ashkenazi trick' of which [I don't] feel a part." Shlaim rose to fame as a relentless and often unhinged critic of Zionism and Israel; his life's work is dedicated to the proposition that there has never been an Arab offer for peace that was not sincere, and an Israeli offer for peace that was not a deception. He favors an arms embargo and economic sanctions against Israel. The organizers of Yale's conference on the Middle East apparently could not find a single professor in a relevant discipline to speak without rancor or fanaticism about Israel's place in the region. So what about government officials? Sallama Shaker, an Egyptian foreign minister, will be at the conference, after all. But apparently the Israeli consulate in New York, an hour-and-a-half drive from New Haven, was considered too far away.

So, Avi Shlaim will hold forth on the myriad injustices of Zionism; Rob Malley will tell us that we must bring Hamas in from the cold; Trita Parsi will apologize for the Iranian regime; Murhaf Jouejati will apologize for Bashar Assad; Daoud Kuttab, who three days after 9/11 blamed the attacks on American support for Israel, will lecture on the illegitimacy of Israeli self-defense; and Marwan Khawaja, the pro-Hezbollah Yale professor, will tell us what Lebanon needs, although this time, ensconced in New Haven, he will probably not say that Lebanon needs Hezbollah to slaughter more Zionists, as he did in 2006.

Read the whole thing. And if you're someone who gets asked for money by Yale University, the next time you should just say no.


At 9:36 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Where Go The Boats?


Dark brown is the river,

Golden is the sand.

It floats along forever,

With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,

Castles of the foam,

Boats of mine a-floating

Where will all come home?

On goes the river

And out past the mill,

Away down the valley,

Away down the hill.

Away down the river,

A hundred miles or more,

Other little children

Shall bring my boats ashore.

-----by aoc powerlevewling


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