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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Richard Landes has a preliminary report from BU: BU Panel on "Gaza Behind the Headlines" Boring and Predictably Dishonest

I just got back from a panel organized and hosted by the Muslim Law Student's Association, a "discussion about human rights issues in Gaza, and co-sponsored by Human Rights Law Society and National Security Law Society at the BU Law School Auditorium. It was attended by about 500 people...

...In fact the panel had virtually nothing to do with Gaza. No one talked about what happened there; no one discussed the implications of current situation at length; no one dealt with the legal issues. (For a good treatment of "Gaza behind the headlines, see Yvonne Greene's piece.)

Instead is was more or less a low-key, flat, and repetitive articulation of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis about American foreign policy. The working assumption of all the panelists was that a) Israel did bad things in Gaza; b) the US supported them; and c) it's all our jobs to work for a change a foreign policy that harms the US both morally and practically. Kind of like channeling Amira Hass...

...All in all, if this is the kind of quality of thought and empirical grounding that MIT, Harvard, and BU have to offer on these subjects, then oao is right: Education is in terrible shape because it's become propaganda. Any of these presentation would not have made the grade at a serious first-year history department seminar. Besides Chomsky's (which was just his typical ramblings), the worst was Kennedy's [Duncan Kennedy is working on making a name for himself in this. See: Bait, Switch and Dish -- Harvard Style -S]. I hope his other work in law is more substantive, otherwise the students there are being cheated...

Richard has other commentary, and reproduces his notes in the post with a further, in depth posting promised. He deserves a great deal of thanks for being one of the few Jewish faculty members out there willing to fight back on the record.

2 Comments

Yes and it's depressing to find oneself agreeing with oao that The West Is Doomed.

It's getting harder and harder to argue the point.

There is unfortunately so much evidence that he's right, which is depressing.

On the other hand - there are so many young people - I know many myself - who are alive - creative - open - hopeful - questioning - and who do not fall into the category of these other apparently brain-numbed characters who parrot what they've been told and have no ability to seek facts for themselves.

I'm not giving up on us just yet.

But it's worrisome isn't it - the academy cannot be the nucleus of stupidity or the whole society will fall.

Well, it has happened before hasn't it - Hitler had support from universities and even from British aristocrats and American plutocrats - we can't afford to fall asleep.

An eyewitness:
http://tinyurl.com/b5n6xl

Tonight at the U of T [Israeli Apartheid Week] event, two Jewish students were assaulted by the Palestinian “Security” team for being “disruptive” (asking a legitimate question “does Israel have a right to exist”) The Palestinian “security” smacked a student in the head and grabbed him by his neck, while another “security” officer told a second Jewish student to “Shut the F**ck up or he’ll saw his head off”…All of this was done in a crowded lecture room with over 100 witnesses!!

I was there, there are no pictures, filming and taking pictures was prohibited (they seem to have a problem with the general public hearing what they say) it was reported to the police who chose (as usual) to do NOTHING...

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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