Columbia faculty members walk out after pro-Palestinian protesters arrested - Page 45 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15317002
Pants-of-dog wrote:You know who else opposes using the IHRA definition of antisemitism to police campus speech?

Its author.


Here is his full statement on the matter . You all can read it for yourself .


Let’s call it the conflict over the conflict.

As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its fifth month, American university campuses continue to be a second front in a proxy war. Early on, university presidents waded in with statements that were attacked for supporting Israel, or the Palestinians, with insufficient zeal. In December three university presidents gave legally correct but tone deaf responses to a loaded question about genocide — based on an erroneous claim that everyone who used the phrase “intifada” or “from the river to the sea” was calling for the genocide of Jews, and shouldn’t they be disciplined? Lost in this viral sound bite was the important distinction between actual threat or harassment, which should indeed be punished, and expression of opinions, which, no matter how hateful, should be countered but not punished.

Academic freedom, let alone free speech, requires ideas, no matter how vile, to be heard — and then opposed with not only more speech but also the major asset campuses should tap: learning. Why do some students talk only about Palestinian suffering and resistance “by any means necessary,” never mentioning the brutal Hamas attack? Why are others seemingly untroubled by the ever-expanding “collateral damage” of Israel’s response, the ever-escalating number of Palestinians being killed?

Campus conflict over Israeli/Palestinian issues is nothing new, of course. For years each side has acted as though it alone held the moral high ground, ardently convinced of its righteousness. In the aftermath of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the battle for the narrative has reached a fever pitch. “Doxxing trucks” visited campuses at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia universities, displaying the names and photos of students who expressed solidarity with Palestinians alongside the caption “antisemite.” Brandeis University banned the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, not for any specific action but for its language. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida banned the SJP on the dubious grounds that its speech constitutes “material support” for terrorism. Attempts to intimidate students and organizations engaged in pro-Palestinian speech into silence have been going on for a long time. A shady website called Canary Mission has been compiling information about people — scholars, college students, and others who it believes possess the wrong views about Israel — for years. Both the doxxing trucks and the site are blacklists, an odious tactic perfected by Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee and deployed disproportionately against Jews in Hollywood and elsewhere. (I never thought anyone in the Jewish community would ever want to replicate such a thing.)

Meanwhile, many pro-Israel Jewish students are fearful of being perceived as supporters of Israel. That’s not new either. In 2022 a group called Law Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Berkeley banned anyone it deemed to be a Zionist from speaking to their organization — and then asked other groups at the law school to adopt the same “no Zionists allowed” stance. Some did. Of course, groups concerned with climate change or sexual abuse can choose to devote themselves to Palestinian solidarity as well, or even to prioritize it. But to exclude Zionists from such a group because Zionism is perceived as inherently evil is McCarthyism, too. Increasingly, mainstream Jewish groups have been pushing lawmakers and universities to adopt what’s known as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism on campus to chill or suppress much pro-Palestinian speech. I was the lead drafter of the 2005 text that became the 2016 IHRA definition. It was designed primarily for European data collectors to be able to craft reports over borders and time to measure the level of antisemitism. Examples were the heart of the definition to guide the data collection process. There were examples about Israel, not to label anyone an antisemite but because there was a correlation, as opposed to causation, between certain expressions and the climate for antisemitism. But it was never intended to be weaponized to muzzle campus free speech.

Everyone on a campus has the right to use their free speech rights to counter expressions they find hateful. Asking the state to suppress disfavored ideas, especially on campuses, is never acceptable. Some Jewish groups and leaders were rightly outraged when DeSantis restricted what could be taught about race and gender in Florida schools. But many partisans of Israel are imitating him by pushing for the adoption of the IHRA definition as a kind of de facto speech code, policing the boundaries of what can be said on campus.In 2022, a Tennessee bill used the IHRA definition to circumscribe what might be taught about Israel, potentially jeopardizing teachers who assign readings critical of Zionism or allow an “Israel Apartheid Week” demonstration. The bill was sponsored by a Republican legislator who once proposed making the Bible the state’s “official book” — and he also pushed a law that would remove “age-inappropriate” books from libraries. When asked what should be done with said books, he replied, “burn them.” When Jewish groups are aligning themselves with advocates of book-burning, something has gone seriously wrong.

The Israel/Hamas conflict has pushed people further into their ideological straightjackets. Each side believes that the other is not just misinformed but malevolent. Each denies that the issue is complicated. Each wants to put things squarely on one side of the ledger (unequivocally antisemitic or obviously benign), when many expressions about Israel fall in a gray area. When we use the term antisemitism so expansively, it’s emptied of its meaning, harming our ability to confront it.

What to do

Instead of vilifying people on campus with deeply opposing views, or focusing only on what pure expressions we want to suppress with a definition-turned-speech code, faculty, students, staff, and those who care about the university should be helping it do what it aspires to do best: teach. Since October, I’ve fielded countless calls from college presidents, university chancellors, other administrators, parents, and students seeking advice about how to navigate these difficult times. This is what I tell them: Anyone who cares about education should be focusing on not only how to respond in the moment but how we can work collaboratively to build a better campus for the future.

First, mine the expertise of the faculty. Dartmouth offered a prime case study in which friendships between Jewish studies and Middle East studies faculties led them to initiate educational forums in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 attacks. As one participant noted, students “can advocate for their side; they can find someone to blame; or they can try to understand.” Students need to hear different points of view and to learn to unpack buzzwords rather than sling them as weapons. At Bard College, where I work, a colleague has organized a new course this spring that delves deeply into such concepts such as antisemitism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, genocide, human rights, Islamophobia, laws of war, settler colonialism, Zionism, and anti-Zionism, among others.

Second, any actions taken should advance, and certainly not diminish, academic freedom. There’s a desperate need for more classes and first-year orientations about both free speech and academic freedom. Too many students believe that ideas they find disturbing are indistinguishable from actual violence. They should absolutely be protected from harassment, threats, intimidation, and discrimination. But they should also know they are on campus to be disturbed by ideas, even ones that cut them to their core.

Students must have the opportunity to think through how to respond to ideas they find unsettling — to learn from those with whom they disagree. Students should have the right to experiment with ideas, including the right to be wrong. And they should expect that college will help them develop the tools to think critically about concepts they’ll find disturbing for the rest of their lives. There are no ideological “safe spaces” after graduation day, after all.

Third, university presidents should reach out to donors who have abandoned their institutions in protest. If campus life really matters to them, their primary concern shouldn’t be communal advocacy and the parsing of what individual students or administrators say or don’t say about Oct. 7 and its aftermath. When funding is pulled in reaction to what a student or faculty member tweets or says at a rally, academic freedom is sacrificed. Donors should be asking how they can help enhance the campus’ ability to teach widely and well about such fractious issues to improve the institution for today’s students and for generations to come.

Fourth, universities need to build programs to teach and research around the vexing subject of human hate (and offer courses on specific hatreds, including antisemitism). There are a growing number of hate studies centers around the globe, and the more students understand why hatred exists, how it works in individuals, groups, culture, and politics, the more introspective they might be about what they are feeling and thinking in such moments. When I run workshops, on campus and off, about how to have rational discussions about Israel and Palestine, I assign, and start with, readings from hate studies. I’ve seen how the power of knowing more about how we, as human beings, default to “us” and “them” can actually change the conversation.

Winston Churchill once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” It’s important to recognize that the current moment, despite its evident and ongoing horrors, also represents an opportunity. Universities today have the chance to imagine new courses and programs and teaching, along with changes in campus culture. Do this well and more students may come to value intellectual discomfort over conformity. Do this well and we might graduate future leaders who have the capacity to imagine why and how that otherwise friendly person across a political divide looks at the world differently.

Kenneth S. Stern is director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate and the author of “The Conflict Over The Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate.” https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/i-am-the-author-of-the-antisemitism-definition-it-was-never-meant-to-chill-free-speech-on-campus/ar-BB1ikTNS
#15317009
I will note even he isn't against the IHRA definition either. He's against limiting speech, and it seems this includes hate speech in general.

I will also note his own institution has had a double-standard on this specific matter, to the point just this week it decided to adopt a policy of institutional neutrality.

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/28/us/h ... pathy.html
#15317024
Unthinking Majority wrote:What is "this side" and "you guys"? I've stated my opposition to everything illegal or possibly illegal in this war, including the illegal and immoral acts of the Israeli gov and support an investigation of any such alleged incidents of war crimes, so that's a strawman that can be ignored.

The people continuing this war are those with black and white views of "us vs them" as you've shared. The only side people should be on is the side of justice and human rights and international law etc. If this had been followed not a single shot would have been fired since 1948, there would be a 2-state solution since then, and the Palestinians would have their own state and territory far larger than they have now or likely will ever have, even pre-1967 borders.

Unfortunately, the violence happening in Gaza does not give protestors the right to just do whatever they want in Canada and the US. That's not how democracy works. Protest is the right to speech, I support the rights of the students to protest, but they don't have the right to take over parts of campus or break reasonable school regulations, especially barring others from public parts of campus based on political views or ethnicity etc.


You said you don't care about the Oct 7 genocide. Your position is clear.


Yes, I think you have misunderstood my position.
#15317336
wat0n wrote:Was October 7 a form of legitimate resistance or will you keep trying to find ways to excuse it?...

Everyone knows the answer to this question.

The follow-up question is: Is it still legal to say that it was a form of legitimate resistance?

If I was a genocide-prone racist, I'd be inclined to make it illegal to express opinions that show any empathy for Israel's many local enemies.

But I'm not one, so I'm asking wat0n.
#15317339
QatzelOk wrote:Everyone knows the answer to this question.

The follow-up question is: Is it still legal to say that it was a form of legitimate resistance?

If I was a genocide-prone racist, I'd be inclined to make it illegal to express opinions that show any empathy for Israel's many local enemies.

But I'm not one, so I'm asking wat0n.


Oh but you are - you, after all, support the scalping of children due to their "race" i.e. being "European colonists". I can quote you on it.

They can still say whatever they want, it's not the government's business, but although they love to dish it they can't take it all and start whining when they run out of arguments (which happens quickly).
#15317516
wat0n wrote:...you, after all, support the scalping of children due to their "race" i.e. being "European colonists". I can quote you on it....

And yet you haven't quoted me at all.

If lies are all you have, wat0n, you're not worth sparring with.

Practicing argumentation with liars is like practicing swimming with piranas. Your swimming isn't likely to improve.
#15317518
QatzelOk wrote:And yet you haven't quoted me at all.

If lies are all you have, wat0n, you're not worth sparring with.

Practicing argumentation with liars is like practicing swimming with piranas. Your swimming isn't likely to improve.


Challenge accepted!

QatzelOk, referring to European children scalped in colonial North America wrote:The invaders were racists. They learned their racism in Europe.

This is the important difference between these well-armed, Crusading Euros, and the welcoming people whose lands they invaded.

If the First Nations had known about this European "racism," they would have killed every one of them as they got off their boats.
#15317522
wat0n wrote:Challenge accepted!

There's nothing about scalping or children in the post that you cited.

So you are pretending to know things, pretending to not understand things, pretending to have an argument...

I say you're someone's puppet account because... you aren't really debating, and you are on this site 24-7. I get that you probably are here to "encourage argumentation" but your lukewarm prompts really leave me cold as they seem to serve as an intimidation to actual real debaters.

This is probably why I limit my time on this site to once a day. I have no time for trolling with no new ideas.
#15317523
QatzelOk wrote:There's nothing about scalping or children in the post that you cited.

So you are pretending to know things, pretending to not understand things, pretending to have an argument...

I say you're someone's puppet account because... you aren't really debating, and you are on this site 24-7. I get that you probably are here to "encourage argumentation" but your lukewarm prompts really leave me cold as they seem to serve as an intimidation to actual real debaters.

This is probably why I limit my time on this site to once a day. I have no time for trolling with no new ideas.


It's as easy as to read to the post you were responding to that you are OK with scalping children (depending on their race).

Also, many of the children who were scalped were born in the colonies (I can't believe I need to say this).
#15317657
And now Israeli , and Jewish anti-war dissidents are feeling trapped between on one side neo-Zionists , and on the other anti-Zionists .
As New York’s annual parade in support of Israel worked its way down Fifth Avenue on Sunday, a group of Israeli citizens shouted from the sidelines.

They waved signs demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of the Israelis held by Hamas. They chanted “shame” as two rightwing Israeli cabinet ministers, who have defended the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians civilians, passed by.

Above all, the protesters sought to challenge those Americans who regard support for the war in Gaza as a litmus test of loyalty to Israel.

“Some people booed us because they saw the word ‘ceasefire’ even though that’s the best way to bring the hostages home,” said Noa Fort, one of the organisers of the Israelis for Peace protest on Sunday. A few hours later, the same group led a vigil in Union Square, where they have gathered on many weekends since the 7 October Hamas attack and the resulting Israeli assault on Gaza. The protesters tell anyone who will listen that opposition to the war in Gaza is also support for Israel, or a freer and more equal version of it.

That’s become an increasingly difficult position for the peaceniks who find themselves under attack from all sides, as being both apologists for, and not loyal to, Israel.

On the one side are hardline pro-Israel groups and prominent Jewish American organisations that have given unwavering support to Israel’s months-long bombardment of Gaza with little more than lip service paid to the Palestinians killed. At times they have accused critics of the war of denying Israel the right to defend itself and of antisemitism, and Jewish opponents of failing as Jews.

On the other side are pro-Palestinian protesters who increasingly reject working with Israelis of any political stripe on the grounds that they are Zionists. Some of those protesters also view discussion about the suffering of Israeli captives held by Hamas as cover for justifying the war.

One of the Israeli protesters, who gave her name only as Stav, recently returned to New York after defending trucks carrying aid to Gaza from attacks by Israelis who claim the food and medicine go to sustain Hamas.

“After October 7, I’ve never felt as politically isolated in my life on all sides. It’s not that my views have changed, it’s that the spectrum of collaborators has significantly narrowed,” she said.

Stav said that before the Hamas attack, she worked with an array of US groups pursuing sometimes disparate goals – from seeking to protect Israel’s judicial system from a power grab by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories. She said that differences on some issues were generally not an obstacle to working together on others. That has changed.

“After October 7, everyone’s become a lot more siloed. There’s a lot more litmus tests to even get to the point where you actually talk about the issue that you want to be collaborating about,” said Stav.

“There’s no place to have a conversation about the actual facts on the ground that takes into account the fact both Israelis and Palestinians are going to continue living between the river and the sea in some constellation, that nobody’s going anywhere. There’s 14m people there. We’re not going to ethnically cleanse half of them, no matter which half.”

Israelis in the US who oppose the occupation say they are increasingly isolated from pro-Palestinian activists they used to work with, who have shifted toward demands for renunciations of Zionism and Israel, alongside ambiguous chants, such as: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Tamar Glezerman, a co-founder of Israelis for Peace whose aunt was killed by Hamas on the Be’eri kibbutz along with about 100 other people, said she welcomes the scale of the protests against the war and the broader spotlight that has thrown on to Israel’s domination of the Palestinians.

But she launched the weekly protest in Union Square to make the voices of her brand of leftwing Israelis heard without needing “to pass purity tests to enter the room”.

“Some tests we won’t be able to pass and they’re also not fair to demand them of Israelis. We’re not going to dismantle the only country where my family lives,” she said.

“I don’t define myself as Zionist or non-Zionist. I did in the past but now it has become empty of meaning. It could mean anything between someone who believes in two states co-existing peacefully to code for ‘Jews don’t deserve safety or life’. I’ve heard it used in all ways.

“So if somebody wants to discuss Zionism with me, I would like for them to define it first. The way that it’s being used now I don’t think is helpful. It’s detrimental, actually. I read around 33% of Palestinians in the West Bank and 62% of Palestinians in Gaza prefer a two-state solution. So are they Zionists? The Israeli peaceniks are hemmed in on the other side by support for the war among fellow Israelis, the steadfast support for Israel among US political leaders and the militancy of parts of the Jewish community in the US.

During Sunday’s parade, the Democratic Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, joined in chants calling for the military defeat of Hamas. New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, also endorsed the war.

“We don’t want to see any innocent person die but we have to deal with the hate of Hamas and it must be dismantled and destroyed,” he said.

A recent poll found that many American Jews do not share that view. About one-third agreed with the claim that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza while only 28% said demonstrations in the US against the war are driven, as some hardline pro-Israel groups claim, solely by animus toward the Jewish state.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, which conducted the poll, said the results reflect “a shift in how American Jewry relates to the current Israeli government and the broader conflict”.

However, that nuance is not often heard from influential Jewish American organisations that claim to speak for the diaspora in the US and are often fervent defenders of Israeli government policies, including the present war.

Glezerman said she understands that “American Jews feel this kinship and this connection” to Israel but notes that many do not understand its complexities or have an overly sentimental view of the country. “That’s why we say we’re Israelis. It’s not because it’s a fun, easy thing to be. It’s because it gives us a mandate to say: ‘So these people in your community are telling you that the only way to support Israel is through blanket support for the military and all these other things.’ And I am here saying, please do not,” she said.

Some of the Israeli protesters have been here before. In 2014, Jewish American organisations rallied in support of Israel’s assault on Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge in which more than 2,300 Palestinians were killed, two-thirds of them civilians.

“During Protective Edge, we addressed that part of American Jewry with an open letter that said if you want to support Israel, support a normal life for us, support our possibility to grow up in peace, support our possibility to grow untraumatised, support our possibility to be like a normal country and not have a mandatory draft, support our possibility to not be oppressing other people,” said Glezerman.

“But if you want to support us by blindly supporting the Israeli government, and not just this one but government after government sacrificing the people for an idea, you’re not supporting us. There is no pro-Israel or pro-Palestine. It’s either you’re pro both or pro neither.”

As Israeli protesters in Union Square see it, too often the American public is being asked to choose between recognising the terrible toll of the war on civilians in Gaza, who are among the majority of the more than 36,500 Palestinians killed, and the suffering of the 80 Israelis still believed to be alive and held by Hamas.

“We did not really find ourselves in either of the protests that were available to us because we didn’t make a differentiation between victims,” said Glezerman.

“There has been a phenomenon, ubiquitous on both sides of this discourse, of downplaying the trauma or the horror of what is happening to victims from the opposite side. The discourse is such that if you speak about the hostages, a large part of the American left will think that you are pro continuing the war.”

On the other hand, she said, many on the pro-Israel side don’t see the tension inherent in advocating for the hostages while supporting the war. “If pro-Israel Americans think that supporting the war is supporting the hostages, perhaps they’re not getting all of the information. So when Americans glaze over that in favour of kind of a more coherent narrative that doesn’t have any glitches, that’s less helpful than they could be,” Glezerman said.

Despite the challenges navigating their own place in the protest movement, the Israeli peaceniks draw strength from the attention on the broader conflict after years in which the Palestinians were all but abandoned by the international community while Israel tightened its grip on the occupied territories.

“One bright light in all of this is that we’re not alone in our demand for justice and equality,” said Fort.

Glezerman agrees.

“I don’t think we’ve been as close to a Palestinian state as we are now since Netanyahu came to power. I’m not saying we’re very close, but the discourse has completely changed,” she said. The Guardian
#15317701
Unthinking Majority wrote:What does this question have to do with my comment? I don't even understand the question.


So many people are fretting about legitimacy and wringing their hands at whether or not people think something was legitimate.

If legitimacy is so important to them and you, and this while thing started because of the peacetime relationship between Israel and Palestine, it makes sense to determine if that relationship is legitimate.
#15317714
Pants-of-dog wrote:So many people are fretting about legitimacy and wringing their hands at whether or not people think something was legitimate.

If legitimacy is so important to them and you, and this while thing started because of the peacetime relationship between Israel and Palestine, it makes sense to determine if that relationship is legitimate.


Whataboutism again.

But no, the relationship before October 7 was not legitimate either. Hamas has never had the right to launch rockets against Israeli civilians and the Palestinian militias do not have the right to shoot at and occasionally kidnap Israeli civilians either.

I will note Hamas has never wanted to take any step whatsoever to improve such relationship either, be it by offering direct talks with Israel or supporting the PA in holding them. On the contrary, it worked hard to make sure such attempts would always fail just like the likes of Netanyahu did on the Israeli side.
#15317742
If people think Israel was acting in good faith before October 7, then they are using a different moral paradigm than others who think the blockade and killings are not legitimate.

Perhaps @Unthinking Majority can ask them why they think the blockade and killings are legitimate.
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