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The ‘Anti-Israel’ Charge

Bruce Kesler has an article in City Journal titled “Cal State’s Chutzpah” and the curious subtitle “A hypocritical university goes silent while a math professor spouts anti-Israeli politics.” The intro:

Spend any time on a university campus, and the official culture will become obvious in short order. Bigotry and prejudice against blacks, gays, or women simply isn’t tolerated. Even a hint of racism or sexism is met with quick and decisive punishment. But anti-Israel rants on California’s public-college campuses seem to be tolerated, politely ignored, or even tacitly condoned by the powers that be.

Now, I’m dubious of the degree to which political correctness and speech codes are enforced on some campuses, fearing that a stifling of the exchange of legitimate ideas in violation of the fundamental notion of academic freedom is a natural result. But prejudice based on immutable traits is simply different from vehement disagreement with the policy views of a country. Indeed, even if one is “anti-Israel” to the extreme degree of arguing that they have no right to exist as a political entity, that’s a very different thing than spouting hateful rhetoric against Jewish people.

Consider the case of David Klein, a math professor at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Klein maintains a page on the university’s web server having nothing to do with mathematical physics, teacher education, or standardized testing, his main areas of research. Rather, the page is devoted to the evils of the state of Israel. Students and other members of the university can learn that “Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time” and that the Jewish state engages in “ethnic cleansing.” Visitors can discover, furthermore, that the answer to the question “Aren’t Palestinians equally responsible for the violence?” is an emphatic “No.” Klein provides links to an assortment of Israel haters and, of course, calls for a boycott of Israeli products and U.S. companies that do business with Israel.

Now, I don’t think universities should house pages where their employees spout personal opinions about controversial matters outside their expertise. In the early days of the blog, I wrote quite a bit about the nature of academic freedom and staked out the position that it only extends to scholarly endeavors within one’s field. A mathematician spouting off on things having nothing whatsoever to do with his discipline just comes across as a crank.

That said, Kesler’s description of Klein’s pages–I haven’t examined them in any detail–isn’t particularly damning. Given that Israel exists as a “Jewish state” and imposes significant political limitations on non-Jews, once could construct a plausible argument that it’s a “racist state.” I don’t happen to think “racist” is the right word for it and think plenty of other states, including some in the immediate neighborhood, are more worthy contenders for the world championship; but it’s not an outrageous enough position to merit a stern talking to, much less banishment from the academic community. And, certainly, the positions that Israel engages in ethnic cleaning and that Likud policy are the proximate cause of most of the recent violence are mainstream, if not majority, positions in the field of Middle East studies.

It isn’t hard to imagine what would happen to a professor who used the university’s website to post content opposed, say, to illegal immigration or legal abortion, especially if the subject was outside his academic field.

Actually, it’s pretty easy to imagine: Not a blessed thing.

Administrators would demand that the pages disappear, and they’d cite the university’s policies, chapter and verse. We know university administrators would loudly condemn a professor who maintained a website off campus that had a “deleterious effect on the university’s reputation.” That’s what happened in 2010, when CSUN erupted in outrage over economics professor Kenneth Ng’s personal site, Bigbabykenny.com—which, his critics claimed, promoted illegal sex tourism in Thailand.

Yes, because promoting illegal, immoral activity is exactly the same as stating unpopular political views.

Both the Gender and Women’s Studies Department and the Asian-American Studies Department publicly denounced Ng, and several students and faculty demanded that he take the site down or lose his job. But while university officials blasted the site, they stopped short of forcing Ng to take it down. Ng removed the site anyway, after weeks of public pressure. “I think he realized he’s putting the university in an awkward position,” CSUN provost Harold Hellenbrand told the campus newspaper, adding, “We expect that [faculty] act at a higher level than their profession requires.”

So . . . even in the extreme example cited, the university didn’t do what Kesler proposes be done in this instance? Doesn’t that completely undermine his argument? Yes. Yes it does.

Yet no one within the CSUN community has condemned Klein, and his webpage remains active—though it clearly violates university policies, which state that “use of computers, networks, and computing facilities for activities other than academic purposes or University business is not permitted.”

But that’s entirely subjective. While I believe math professors ought to stick to subjects relating to math, one can certainly make the argument that lively discussion of controversial issues is an academic purpose and a core business of a university.

The university also prohibits associating its name with boycotts and other politically motivated activity.

Again, subjective. Does the mere use of the university’s domain to publish one’s views constitute associating its name? And, generally, “politically motivated activity” relates to domestic partisan politics. A professor using the university website to raise money for President Obama’s re-election would surely get a cease-and-desist order the moment administrators discovered it was happening. Calling for a boycott of Israeli products? Meh.

CSUN further retains the right to remove “any defamatory, offensive, infringing, or illegal materials” from its website at any time.

Reserving the right doesn’t mean that every possible instance will be invoked. We at OTB reserve the right to delete comments and ban commenters who violate certain site policies; we tend to exercise that right only in extreme cases. Further, it’s not clear that Klein is in violation. No evidence has been offered that he’s used infringing or illegal materials. Presumably, Kessler finds them defamatory and/or offensive; but he’s not the ruling authority in this case.

A recent administrative review, however, cleared Klein of any violations. “The University does uphold and preserve the principles of academic freedom—and Professor Klein’s right to express his views,” CSUN president Jolene Koester said in a statement. “Our review affirmed that this right extends to the use of an individual’s web pages, as part of the University website, as a vehicle for expression.”

Well, there you go.

Again, in my ideal formulation, mathematicians would stick to engaging in matters where their expertise sheds useful light. Given the elasticity of that discipline, it should be easy enough to do. Let political scientists, philosophers, historians, and regional specialists tackle Middle East policy. But if the university has a broader conception of the nature of scholarship than that, I don’t begrudge it.

Kesler closes:

Contrary to Koester’s claims, the David Klein matter has nothing to do with academic freedom and everything to do with official hypocrisy. A professor has the right to speak on his own behalf, but not to use a public university’s resources to smear Israel as a murderous oppressor. In the private sector, such conduct would be grounds for censure or termination.

That depends entirely on the nature of one’s employment. Indeed, the vast majority of workers are perfectly free to speak out on anything they please. Granted, most of them aren’t provided server space by their employers; but if the employer wants to give employees web space to promote the free exchange of ideas, it would be absurd to censure or terminate employees who use it for that purpose.

It’s true that many companies would fire high level employees for posting this sort of thing. Not because they find it immoral, offensive, or illegal but because they hate controversy. (See, for example, the recent case of the Lowe’s home improvement chain pulling its ads from a controversial television program after receiving modest criticism.) But universities are precisely not in the business of avoiding controversy; their mandate is to take controversy head on.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. steve says:

    It seems to me that criticizing Israel has become a fourth rail of American politics. I read a fair amount of military history and foreign policy, though not as much as you. I find a lot to criticize about Israel’s actions. However, I know that doing so will usually result in claims of anti-semitism.

    As to the other claims, I have been to several functions with a local professor who advocates for intelligent design. No one really cares all that much. Since I think there is a place for both hedgehogs and foxes in academic life, I have no problem with people addressing area out of their academic expertise.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  2. Bruce Kesler says:

    James, you succeed in avoiding the core issues here: 1. As the EU’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism says, holding Israel to standards not weighed against other democratic nations and doing so exclusively, is a double-standard, denying Jews the right of self-determination by claiming that Israel is a racist state, etc., are Anti-Semitism. David Klein is an Anti-Semite. 2. The CSUN administration failing to uphold its own regulations to prevent misuse of its taxpayer-funded website is disgraceful. 3. That the CSUN community loudly protested another CSUN professor’s off-campus website promoting sex-tourism to Thailand, but not Klein’s on-campus website, is hypocrisy, at best. 4. That many others among the academic community espouse anti-Israel views is not an indicator of merit but rather the strangle-hold that the pro-Palestinian Middle East Studies Association has on academic appointments. 5. There is no issue here of either academic freedom, as the expertise that klein is paid for is math and not his racism, nor of free speech as Klein is free to speak his views on or off campus on his own dime but not by using the university’s website. 6. The university’s mandate is to pursue scholarly, knowledgeable examination of issues in a fair manner, not to be an impervious zone for unqualified haters or cranks.
    James, you gave a lot of space to avoiding the issues, but not enough to examining the facts, as you say, “That said, Kesler’s description of Klein’s pages–I haven’t examined them in any detail–…” Perhaps you should take more care before spouting.
    With that, Happy New Year, especially if one of your resolutions is to be less superficial in your too-quick takes.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 23

  3. Honestly, I don’t care what the E.U. says. The idea that criticizing Israel is anti-Semitism is absurd, and nothing but an attempt by the “Israel right or wrong” crowd to shut off any legitimate debate about proper policy responses toward a nation that is, just like all the others, far from perfect.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 4

  4. Tano says:

    Well reasoned and well written, James.

    What a shame that this is such a common situation. It seems that the Likudniks here in America have become the biggest threat to the free exchange of ideas on the American political landscape. One cannot stand up to them without receiving withering rhetorical fire, but it must be done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  5. Bruce Kesler says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Well, there you have it: The considered official definition of the European Union is irrelevant, the EU members themselves often highly critical of Israel. There is a major difference between legitimate criticism and hateful caricatures and unfactual charges, esp. when levied only against Israel. That difference is Anti-Semitism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8

  6. James Joyner says:

    @Bruce Kesler:

    1. Like Doug, I find the EU’s definition absurd. Beyond that, I’m not sure which other democracies are engaging in comparable policies and yet held above criticism for them.

    2. You’ve failed to demonstrate that CSUN is failing to uphold its regulation or that posting political views constitutes “misuse.”

    3. As noted, treating two completely different things differently is not hypocrisy.

    4. I’m not arguing merit but rather currency. Klein’s views aren’t radically outside the academic mainstream.

    5. But the university has investigated and determined that this use of the university’s website is acceptable.

    6. We’re in agreement that Klein would be better positioned were he a scholar in a related field. But your argument is based entirely on the content of his speech.

    7. A discussion of your article should be possible based on the strength of your article. If you’ve got more compelling evidence drawn from Klein’s writings, it would have behooved you to present it. But I’ve taken at face value your characterizations of said writings and found them unpersuasive.

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  7. One other factor worth mentioning here since this is a public institution is the First Amendment implications involved in imposing restrictions on “acceptable speech” by public employees at a university.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  8. Tano says:

    @Bruce Kesler:

    denying Jews the right of self-determination by claiming that Israel is a racist state

    What absolute garbage. You are claiming that the only way that Jews can have the right of self-determination is to deny that right to the Palestinians?

    How can you claim a moral high ground by recognizing the rights of one group only by denying that of another?

    And if you acknowledge that all people have an equal right to self-determination, that what would such a regime look like in the Middle East? Please compare and contrast with the stated ideology of the Likud Party.

    the CSUN community loudly protested another CSUN professor’s off-campus website promoting sex-tourism to Thailand, but not Klein’s on-campus website, is hypocrisy,

    More absolute garbage. Illegal sex tourism is…..illegal. A crime, and morally reprehensible. Political opinions that differ from the Likud party line are not a crime, nor immoral. You really cannot see the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  9. @Bruce Kesler:

    The thing I have often encountered, though, is that any criticism of Israel is considered by certain groups, especially hard-right conservatives here in the United States, to be unfair and by definition anti-Semitic. Again, that is a means to shut off debate, not an honest attempt to identify actual “Hate Speech”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  10. michael reynolds says:

    I’m curious: are the many, many Israelis who voice strong criticism of Likud and of its religious extremists components also anti-Semites?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  11. Contracts says:

    @Bruce Kesler: Even if the facts were as you allege, your argument still fails. That’s James’s point. If you believe that James doesn’t have a good grasp of the facts, it is your fault for not doing a good job communicating them. In other words, despite being unopposed on the facts, you were unable to frame the argument in a way that was persuasive.

    Also, though I like it when authors weigh in in comment sections, it does you little credit to throw an insult at a critic who did not personalize the situation in any way. To be fair, you did say “Happy New Year”….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  12. Klein is promoting a boycott of Israel, not denying it´s existence. Kessler is being dishonest here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  13. ponce says:

    What absolute garbage. You are claiming that the only way that Jews can have the right of self-determination is to deny that right to the Palestinians?

    Stealing your neighbor’s land and claiming its god’s will is a scam worthy of Bernie Madoff.

    Getting American taxpayers to subsidize the theft is a scam beyond Madoff’s imagination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  14. Bruce Kesler says:

    @James Joyner:
    James, you continue to be superficial, point by point:
    1. You disagree with the considered official definitkion from the European Union. Says a lot about your considerations. “Beyond that”, you say, but what Western nation would tolerate thousands of rockets and mortars fired into their territory from neighboring lands? Would you criticize such defense against those publicly and by acts sworn to exterminate you?
    2. Just look at CSUN’s own official regulations referenced in my column. They are broken by Klein, and the CSUN administration ignores them. – Further, the Provost of CSUN, “according to his official job description.responsible for directing more than 2,500 faculty and staff members in the Division of Academic Affiars,” is a co-signer of Klein’s letter to forbid study-abroad in Israel (but no where else), speaks to the calibre of the CSUN examination of Klein’s misuse of this publicly-supported university’s web server.
    3. There are not “two completely different things” but rather different treatment of egregious behavior by two CSUN professors, one with an off-campus website disapproved of, and the other misusing the university’s own web server. Racism or sexism against all except Israel and Jews is condemned, while an Anti-Semite is protected.
    4. “Klein’s views aren’t radically outside the academic mainstream,” you say. Which says nothing of their accuracy, but says much about the contempt for facts that, in this area as many others, infects academia. Do you defend widespread disinformation just because it is widespread? No wonder the influence of academia is a fraction of what it once was.
    5. The university’s “investigation” is a sham that ignored its own regulations.
    6. “…your argument is based entirely on the content of his speech.” Well, Duh! His writings and links are despicable.
    7. “A discussion of your article should be possible based on the strength of your article. If you’ve got more compelling evidence drawn from Klein’s writings, it would have behooved you to present it. But I’ve taken at face value your characterizations of said writings and found them unpersuasive.” First, allowed space of course didn’t allow thousands of words and hundreds of citations and links. Second, that you are “unpersuaded” and avoid what is presented, distorting much, you having unlimited pixels to not be so superficial, speaks for itself.
    James, maybe you should just stick to aggregating links instead of displaying your own ignorance. But, that’s your right. Your blog is not paid for by taxpayers. Klein’s is, and shouldn’t be according to the university’s own rules.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  15. steve says:

    ” Like Doug, I find the EU’s definition absurd. ”

    “One other factor worth mentioning here since this is a public institution is the First Amendment implications involved in imposing restrictions on “acceptable speech” by public employees at a university.”

    I think many people fail to understand that the EU does not have a First Amendment. Europeans do regulate speech in ways not acceptable in the US.

    @Bruce #3- You really think sex tourism is the same as criticizing policy in another country? Could you explain this?

    #4- Could you quantify this? All of the right wing academics I read and most of the left ones seem pretty pro-Israel.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  16. Dave Schuler says:

    I’m with Michael on this. In the U. S. at least there’s an all-too-common error of confusing Israel with Likud.

    I think that Israel is in an unenviable position and don’t believe I’m clever enough to identify a solution that will solve their problems and please everyone. I also think it’s interesting to compare the country’s pragmatic position with its rhetorical position. It’s not clear to me how to reconcile those two without distinguishing between Israel’s interests and internal political infighting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Michael says:

    Israel not only allows non-Jews (Arabs, Moslems, Christians, etc.) the right to vote, it allows them them the right to hold office. These rights are not only theoretical — there are Arab Moslem members serving in the Knesset. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia does not permit churches to be built in Saudi Arabia, Iran actively persecutes Bahais and has executed many of them, Berber culture is supressed in Algeria, Coptic Christians are assaulted in Egypt while police watch, etc. Organizations, like Amnesty International, that have, at least, some concern for objectivity, point out perceived abuses in a variety of countries. So, if someone like David Klein inveighs against Israel, while being unconcerned about much more egregious injustices in the Arab or Moslem world, then it’s obvious that he’s not concerned with objectivity, but something else.

    You are right that the something else doesn’t have to be anti-Semiticism. Israel was used skillfully as a wedge issue by the Soviet Union against the US, trying to pull the large number of Arab and Moslem countries away from us during the Cold War. The resultant propaganda against Israel still resonates in the world, especially with the political left. So, Klein’s bias may be political in nature rather than racial. In that way, it is a political flank attack against the U.S. — attacking a U.S. ally that people are least likely to defend (often because of racism – so, even under this scenario racism is part of what is going on).

    It’s no longer regarded as legitimate to attack Jews as a race (in the U.S. — in many other parts of the world it’s regarded as perfectly acceptable), but if one wishes to attack Jews, one can easily get away with doing so by attacking Israel. (What if there were only one Black-led country in the world and it was always being denounced while worse countries weren’t — would it be reasonable to suspect racism?) I think you should re-think your position somewhat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  18. ponce says:

    Israel not only allows non-Jews (Arabs, Moslems, Christians, etc.) the right to vote, it allows them them the right to hold office.

    Israel refuses Christians and Jews the right to marry each other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  19. steve says:

    “but if one wishes to attack Jews, one can easily get away with doing so by attacking Israel.”

    How then does one criticize Israel. You set up an impossible barrier here. As a US citizen, why can’t I criticize other countries, and especially US policy as it involves that country? I can, and do, freely criticize other countries and our policies involved with those countries, but only when it comes to Israel do I have to deal with this special problem.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @Michael:

    Israel is a liberal democracy when contrasted agains its neighbors. But of course ultra-orthodox extremists are working ceaselessly to make Israel as intolerant as Saudi Arabia. Settlers use the power of the state to steal Arab land and cut off water supplies to same in a creeping annexation of the West Bank.

    A refusal to criticize Israel for its offenses empowers the extremists in Israel to destroy the very things that make Israel worthy of support. This intimidation of critics harms Israel in the long run. It alienates people like me who naturally support Israel but will not uncritically support its descent into theocracy.

    I’m an ethnic Jew. I support what Israel used to be, I do not support the fanatics, I do not support Likud, I do not support the settlers. The strongest support for Israel now comes from far-right Christians who pray for Armageddon and anticipate the day when they will sit comfortably in heaven watching Jews roast in the fires of hell.

    That’s where Likud has led Israel. It is foolish, self-destructive and dangerous to Israel’s survival. Likud is betting Israel’s future on ultra-orthodox leeches who won’t lift a finger in their own country’s defense, and on support by American extremists who think support of Israel is a ticket to the End Times.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  21. Bruce Kesler says:

    @ponce:
    Israel does not have civil marriage laws. Each denomination, Jewish, Christian, Moslem, there makes its own rules for marriages performed within Israel. Israel, however, recognizes marriages performed elsewhere, and many , including the intermarried, take the short hop to Cyprus to marry. — Try that in any of the other Middle East countries and see what happens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Bruce Kesler:
    Israel’s support in the US — support that is absolutely vital — is based on a perception of Israel as an essentially western state, not on contrast with some of the worst countries on earth. “Better than Syria,” isn’t worth what we pay and what we risk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  23. ponce says:

    Try that in any of the other Middle East countries and see what happens.

    Bruce, do you have any idea how pathetic your rationalizations sound to normal people?

    If Christians and Jews in Israel want to marry each other…they have to leave the country to do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  24. “You disagree with the considered official definitkion from the European Union. Says a lot about your considerations.”

    I would despise the bureaucrats in Brussels if I lived in Europe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. ““Beyond that”, you say, but what Western nation would tolerate thousands of rockets and mortars fired into their territory from neighboring lands? ”

    That´s not what is being discussed. James in fact is not an opponent of Israel. I don´t remember any material unsympathetic to Israel being published here. What James is pointing out is that Klein´s page is not antisemitic and that´s a problem of the university.

    In fact, that goes to other problem: there are lots of people(Not only in the US) that thinks that Israel problem´s are her problems, not American or “Western” problems. If there are people that wants live surrounded by hostile people that should be their problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  26. mattb says:

    @Bruce Kesler:
    First, based on my reading of the working statement (I found a copy here: http://fra.europa.eu/fraWebsite/material/pub/AS/AS-WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf ), I think you’ve broadly interpreted their words to match your view of the facts. In fact the paper states that “criticism of Isreal similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemetic.” One could then ask if how dissimilar was Klein’s commentary to what was leveled at South Africa during the apartheid era. Or at other countries that engage in internal repression of ethnic groups.

    Further, the EU working paper that I read specifically states that attacks on Isreal only can be considered as antisemetic in cases where Isreal is taken as “a Jewish collectivity” versus a national construction. Again, I’m unclear as to whether or not Klein’s rhetoric fits this mold.

    Beyond that, the entire appeal to the EU working statement seems a problematic move on your part given that CSU is an American school and in no way beholden to the EU’s definition (unless, of course, they operate a satellite campus within the EU or are conducting certain types of business within the EU). If that isn’t the case, at best the working paper presents a data point of one definition of antisemitism, but isn’t a proof in and of itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  27. mattb says:

    Like JJ, I totally agree that Klein shouldn’t be publishing this material on/off of his faculty page and especially not on a school server. However, this seems well within his first amendment rights, and again, I am not sure if it even fail’s the EU’s working definition (and would suggest that definition should be interpreted by someone who is inside of the EU rather than those of us here across the pond).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  28. Michael says:

    @steve
    I don’t object to you criticizing Israel. You seem like a rational, fair-minded person. I object to people like David Klein critisizing Israel which was the issue at hand. Since Klein is indifferent to injustices in Arab countries while being fiery and passionate about much smaller examples in Israel, one can conclude he is part of the movement to delegitimize Israel as a nation. My guess is that his unspoken agenda is to attack the West by attacking its most vulnerable member, rather than racism, but it’s clear his stance isn’t based on a desire to be fair-minded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  29. george says:

    Stealing your neighbor’s land and claiming its god’s will is a scam worthy of Bernie Madoff.

    Getting American taxpayers to subsidize the theft is a scam beyond Madoff’s imagination.

    Well, perhaps that’s fitting, since America is almost completely stolen land.

    Doesn’t make it right when others steal as well, but the ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards Israel is pretty ironic considering. Now if America were to give the land back to the Indians …

    Criticising Israel (or any other state) for practical reasons is one thing. For moral reasons, well, maybe we should give back what we’ve stolen first?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  30. mattb says:

    On last note… after reviewing Klein’s page and the EU Working Statement, I think it’s a misapplication of the statement to suggest that Klien’s page is antisemitic on its face. I think it might have been a muddier case — though still by no means an open/shut case of antisemitism — if Klein had not opted to include the following passage on the page:

    Supporting a boycott against Israel is not Anti-Semitic

    Zionism is NOT synonymous with Judaism. Supporting a boycott against Israel is no more anti-Semitic than support of the boycott of Apartheid South Africa during the 1980s was anti-White. Many Jews of conscience and Jewish organizations condemn Israel’s crimes against humanity, and support sanctions and boycott. Among these are the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, L.A. Jews for Peace, Jews in Solidarity with Palestine, 540 Israeli citizens, and Israeli academics such as Neve Gordon, Emmanuel Farjoun, Rachel Giora and Kobi Snitz.

    In this move — whether you believe it or like it — Klein is specifically separating Zionism, Judism, and the Nation of Isreal. Here — and in other places on the page — he’s clearly stating that his issue is with the Zionist elements within the Government of Israel and how that Government is enacting it’s Palestinian Policies.

    By splitting the question of Judism from politics and the attacking the latter, his rhetoric is well within the bounds of safe critical speech as specified by the EU working committee.

    And, as I state above, this style of rhetoric and charges were used throughout the 1980’s in the fight against Apartheid in South Africa.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  31. ponce says:

    Criticising Israel (or any other state) for practical reasons is one thing. For moral reasons, well, maybe we should give back what we’ve stolen first?

    What a coincidence. From the David Klein’s web page:

    But aren’t Palestinians equally responsible for the violence?

    No. Palestinians are overwhelmingly the victims of Israeli violence, much as American Indians were overwhelmingly the victims of U.S. violence in previous centuries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  32. Tano says:

    @Michael:

    . Since Klein is indifferent to injustices in Arab countries while being fiery and passionate about much smaller examples in Israel, one can conclude he is part of the movement to delegitimize Israel as a nation.

    Why is Klein obliged to be “objective”? He is a human being with a subjective point of view, just like anyone else.

    Should we conclude that people who are fiery and passionate critics of the abuses found in Arab countries, but who are indifferent to the plight of the Palestinians are the equivalent of vile anti-semites?

    My guess is that his unspoken agenda is…

    That is not an innocent guess. Its is a vile accusation made with no basis in evidence.

    The resultant propaganda against Israel still resonates in the world, especially with the political left

    How generous of you. You may allow that some critics of Israel might not actually be anti-semites. Merely brainwashed stooges of the old Soviet Union.

    Its pretty clear that you have locked away your rational faculties on these issues. Without the willingness to extend a minimum level of respect to those who disagree with you, there is no real point in having a discussion.

    but if one wishes to attack Jews, one can easily get away with doing so by attacking Israel.

    And your grasp of logic is horrific. Despite any truth there may be in this statement, it does not then follow that all, or even many, who attack Israel really wish to attack Jews. And yet you, and so many others on the Likud right, constantly try to make that logical leap.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  33. Michael says:

    @Michael Reynolds
    As an American, I tend to take positions in U.S. politics and not so much in other countries whether Canada, Brazil, or Israel, but it’s fine that you feel a close enough identification with Israel to hate what the Likud and some of the ultra-Orthodox are doing.

    People like to think that negative consequences are the result of policy mistakes. This is not always, the case. It produces a psychologically agreeable feeling because it implies that we are more in control of our destinies than we actually are. It also gives an opportunity to advocate for our own policy ideas because we can get away with assuming that our (future, unknowable) results will, of course, be better than our adversaries past failed (or declared by us to be failed) policies. So the Israeli right will say “If only we hadn’t participated in such-and-such negotiation” and the Israeli left will say “If only we hadn’t allowed the settlers to…”

    However, I think the emnity of the Arab world towards Israel is based on more on objective factors than on Israeli policy mistakes by either the right or the left. Current Middle East culture is not tolerant towards minorities (understatement!). For the forseeable future, it’s highly unlikely Arab Moslems will tolerate a non-Arab, non-Moslem sovereign state in the Middle East. 100% of the Jews in Israel could be liberal and secular and they would still face much the same situation that they do today.

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  34. george says:

    What a coincidence. From the David Klein’s web page:

    But aren’t Palestinians equally responsible for the violence?

    No. Palestinians are overwhelmingly the victims of Israeli violence, much as American Indians were overwhelmingly the victims of U.S. violence in previous centuries.

    And yet he doesn’t seem to be calling for a boycott of American products – though America has held onto the stolen land longer (making it arguably a worse crime), and killed many more people in getting it.

    In fact, it almost looks like he’s a beneficiary of the theft (unless he’s an American Indian himself) …

    Actually, the fact that he’s aware of what was done to the Indians, and yet quite comfortable with it is worse than if he were just ignorant about it.

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  35. ponce says:

    And yet he doesn’t seem to be calling for a boycott of American products

    Um, that doesn’t even make sense from a fringe right religious fanatic’s standpoint.

    I realize to you guys any American failing to put Israel’s interests ahead of America’s interests is committing treason, but come on.

    I think y’all have been talking to Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann’s slack-jawed supporters too long.

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  36. Michael says:

    @Tano
    I’m not the slightest bit on the Likud right – or even the American political right, as it happens.

    What I am is an opponent of genocide and less extreme slaughters of minorities. If you review the slaughter of Jews throughout history, this is not just a theoretical issue. Before the mobs would go out to slaughter Jews there was generally a certain amount of hate speech against them to prepare the proper climate: “The plague is because the Jews poisoned the wells” in the days before people knew about the connection to rats and fleas, for example. While the slaughter of minorities was routine in much of the world, many people were protected in their home areas. So while Protestants were being slaughtered in France, at least Swedish Protestants were safe. Jews, meanwhile, were vulnerable in most times and places.

    Therefore, I am much more sensitive about hate-speech when it is directed against Jews, against gypsies, and against any group that attracts bigotry and hate when perceived as being different. I find heated attacks on the one primarily Jewish country to be highly suspect, just as I would if they were against a country if it happened to be the only Black-ruled country.

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  37. @Bruce Kesler:

    There are not “two completely different things” but rather different treatment of egregious behavior by two CSUN professors, one with an off-campus website disapproved of, and the other misusing the university’s own web server. Racism or sexism against all except Israel and Jews is condemned, while an Anti-Semite is protected.

    The notion that promoting sex tourism is the same thing as criticizing Israeli policy is the same thing strikes me as intellectually lazy at best (and intellectually dishonest at worst). This does not help your argument. These are quite clearly different categories.

    Further, you are ignoring the fact that even in that case, the university did not force the site promoting sex tourism to be shut down. As such, even if these were identical cases, the outcomes would have been ultimately the same.

    Further, you have not proved this is a case of antisemitism, but only a case of criticizing Israel.

    Really it seems that what you want is for Klein to be silenced because you don’t like his views. How is that legitimate?

    I agree with the commenter above, btw, who praised you for engaging in the comment section (but I also agree that leaving a parting shot in your NY greeting was unnecessary).

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  38. @Dave Schuler:

    In the U. S. at least there’s an all-too-common error of confusing Israel with Likud.

    Indeed.

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  39. Tano says:

    @Michael:

    For the forseeable future, it’s highly unlikely Arab Moslems will tolerate a non-Arab, non-Moslem sovereign state in the Middle East.

    ALL of the Arab countries are already on record offering recognition to Israel if a peace deal is worked out with the Palestinians.

    100% of the Jews in Israel could be liberal and secular and they would still face much the same situation that they do today.

    If that liberalism and secularism extended to a disavowal of any claims on the West Bank, then a major difference would be that they would have a lot more support in the non-Christian-fundamentalist West.

    Furthermore it seems inarguable that the hostility of the Palestinians would be greatly lessened if they were allowed to have their own state, as a liberal and secular Israel would probably agree to. It is one thing to fight for your own political rights, against an oppressor who rules over you. It is an entirely different and smaller matter to have your own place in the world and indulge a fantasy of taking over your neighbor’s country. The former you fight for, the latter is an affectation.

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  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Michael:

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t use the word hate. And your first paragraph I assume to be a failed attempt at snark. But moving along. . .

    Would Israel still face hostility if it were less a theocracy and more a pluralistic democracy? Yep. Would the degree of that hostility be different? I suspect so, but only in degree.

    But that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about Israel’s relationship to us, and its shortsightedness in that regard. Likud is alienating the US from Israel. Israel exists because the United States says it exists. We support them with weapons, money, technology and our diplomacy. We keep the Europeans in line and outside powers away.

    It’s nonsense to pretend that this is anything but a client relationship. And it’s not one based on mutuality of geopolitical interests, but on identification with Israel as a democracy, as a free people, as fundamentally like us. To the extent that Israel becomes not like us, not a nation with which we feel a common bond, it will be weakened.

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  41. MikeP says:

    Bashing Israel is part and parcel of the liberal academic mindset. Liberalism, by definition today, is basically “secular” humanism that is basically atheistic (communistic, Marxist, socialistic) in practice and principle, and thus anti-God in concept for the most part. Since the Israelis’ are God’s chosen people (through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the anti-semitism inherent in liberal acadamia arises because of their direct defiance against God, and subsequently, against the Nation of Israel and Jews which are directly linked to God through the Abrahamic covenant.

    This is also why liberal acadamia vilely denegrates people of the Christian faith and Christianity itself. Since Jesus Christ was born from the lineage of the tribe of Judah and Israel’s King David, and since Jesus Christ is the messiah and Savior of the world: “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,…But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:31) “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:32-33) {referring to Jesus Christ] Therefore, liberalism vehemently decries and denounces both Christianity and Judaism.

    Since secular humanism permeates throughout our public education system it is quite understanable then why this person or other liberal professors would hate Israel and/or Christians. It is a natural outcome of their hatred toward God in my opinion. Satan (an angel created by God who later rebelled against God and who has been sentenced to an eternity in Hell after the culmination of history and judgment day) – since he rules in the lives of unregenerate man i.e. those separated from and/or opposed to God – the battle is not against flesh and blood i.e. against the Jewish people per se, but spiritual in nature. Although, secular humanists e.g. atheists, communists, socialists, liberal professors, etc., don’t recognize it as a spiritual battle. Because they are blinded to the truth. “In whose case the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” In other words, people hate Jews and Christians because of their connection with God. It all makes sense now right? 😉

    Furthermore, that’s why liberals don’t outwardly object to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or any number of other religion(s) because those religions are all tied to erroneous belief systems and have bogus “gods.” That’s why Jesus Christ’s name is taken in “vain” (cursed) and not Buddha or Allah or Krishna, etc. Have you ever wondered why that is? Well, since Jesus Christ is God incarnate (read the Bible: John 1:1, 1:14, 10:30 along with other verses declaring the deity of Christ) it is therefore antipathy and hatred towards the true and living God.

    That’s also why liberals (atheists, communists, Marxists, socialists, Obama, etc.) will applaud and praise Islam and any number of other religions – apart from Christianity and Judaism – and why many liberals won’t denounce or condemn, for example, Muslim extremism or Muslim terrorists in general i.e. Palestinians who, for the most part, are ruled by the terrorist organization Hamas. But will be quick to condemn both Christians and Jews with the vilest of hate-filled vitriol.

    Christians and Jews are the most persecuted people on earth. Why? Because darkness hates the Light. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12) – and the Light exposes their evil deeds, and consequently, they want to ‘extinguish’ the Light and those affiliated with it i.e. Christians and/or Jews. Christianity and Judaism have accomplished more “good” than any other force or religion on the planet. What has Islam or Muslims contributed to society lately or throughout the annals of history for that matter? Exactly. Yet liberals continue to esteem them highly and even go out of their way to accomodate them beyond reason. No wonder liberalism i.e. (atheism, communism, Marxism, socialism, secular humanism) is considered untenable and illogical. Liberal ideology is unworkable and also has a tendency to prop up the enemies of the United States e.g. Muslim terrorists, in this particular case, Palestianians, Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood, etc.) and for the most part condemn peaceful entities such as Christianity and Judaism.

    Adherents of liberalism are the real bane of society and now you know why. And that liberal, hate-filled professor should be fired ASAP! But knowing the liberal academic mindset, he’ll probably keep his job and even get a raise in pay. Illogical is as illogical does I reckon.

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  42. michael reynolds says:

    @MikeP:
    Thanks for that dose of sheer crazy. Supporting Michele Bachmann are we?

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  43. Tano says:

    @Michael:

    Therefore, I am much more sensitive about hate-speech when it is directed against Jews,

    I can sympathize with your sensitivities, but that does not make them any less unfair. You are effectively preventing yourself from engaging respectfully with anyone who criticizes Israel. I don’t see how this can be good for you, for Israel, or for the Jewish people. By “protecting” Israel from criticism, and by demonizing all those who do the criticism, you are helping to isolate Israel further, and to undermine the deep foundation of support that Israel has always had, at east here in America.

    Liberal-minded lovers of freedom and democracy have always supported Israel because of sympathy for what happened in the 20th century, and because Israel seemed to embody many of the same values that we share. The sympathy remains, as does the recognition that within the strict Israeli borders, there exists an admirable democracy. But the Likudnik claims over the West Bank have been a cancer for 40 years now. Most people in the West will simply never support the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank, nor would we support their permanent subjegation as non-voting second class citizens in a greater Israel, nor would we support a permanent extension of the status quo – military occupation and no Palestinian self-determination. But these are the only alternatives that are being actively pursued by the Israeli government, and seem to be the only options that many on the right are willing to accept. That is why they richly deserve as much criticism as they are getting, and more.

    If the Israelis would strike a fair deal with the Palestinians, it woudl be an entirely new day, and most anti-Israeli feeling in the West would dissapate. Because there would no longer be any Arabs physcially occupied and/or oppressed by the Israelis.

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  44. @MikeP:

    Since the Israelis’ are God’s chosen people (through the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), the anti-semitism inherent in liberal acadamia arises because of their direct defiance against God, and subsequently, against the Nation of Israel and Jews which are directly linked to God through the Abrahamic covenant.

    The problem with your argument is less that “liberal academics” are anti-religious, it is that you are basing your argument on an inherently religious basis.

    You might want to consider that it is possible to look at this situation as from neither a pro- nor anti-religious POV and evaluate it as one would any other political situation. Doing that does, I would note, open Israel up to substantial criticism, even if one is ultimately pro-Israel.

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  45. Michael says:

    @Tano

    Pre-1967 when the West Bank was in Jordanian hands, why wasn’t a Palestinian state established?

    Why wasn’t there a movement in the Arab world or the West to establish a Palestinian state during that period (1948-1967)?

    Why weren’t there any calls by American academics like David Klein for boycotting Jordan?

    The Arab world was far more focused on eliminating Israel than having a Palestinian state.

    You might not being willing to bet your own life on a government’s official statement, whether you were a Czech in the Sudetenland or a member of the Sioux people.

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  46. ponce says:

    Since the Israelis’ are God’s chosen people…

    God sure has a funny way of showing it.

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  47. Tano says:

    @Michael:

    Pre-1967 when the West Bank was in Jordanian hands, why wasn’t a Palestinian state established?

    How on earth is that relevant to the issues at hand today? Would you find it acceptable to hand all of the West Bank back to Jordan, up to the Green Line with agreed-upon swaps?

    Why wasn’t there a movement in the Arab world or the West to establish a Palestinian state during that period (1948-1967)?

    The envisioned Palestinian state was to be a single state in Palestine.

    Why weren’t there any calls by American academics like David Klein for boycotting Jordan?

    What the hell does that mean? FIrst off, it is utterly besides the point. Klein was probably a child before 67. Secondly, I ask you once again – why is he required to be objective? He and he alone? You seem perfectly free to express your subjective opinion – even admitting that you have special sensitivities that define your reactions. But your opponents get moral condemnation because they have their own subjective view???

    The Arab world was far more focused on eliminating Israel than having a Palestinian state.

    Yes, so what? They lost. They have been forced to accept the existence of Israel. I don’t find it outrageous that they resisted Israel. The Arabs did not commit the Holocaust, yet they were forced to cede their lands to pay for the sins of the Germans. A Jewish community lived in relative peace for 2000 years in the region without any effort to drive them into the sea. It is only when the US and European nations decided that all the Jews in the world should be allowed to go there and settle and have their own state, without asking the Arabs if they would willing to give up that land, that the hostility arose.

    I am not denying the hostility of the Arabs toward Israel. And I am sure that it will continue to exist for a very long time in Arab culture. But it will have no teeth, relatively speaking, when Israel is no longer ruling over a subservient Arab population. Fighting for ones own rights, as opposed to abstract historical arguments, is what causes all the real conflict.

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  48. steve says:

    @Michael- How then should one criticize Israel. When I have criticized Nasrallah, just to use an example, i do so w/o fear of accusations of being anti-Muslim. If I criticize Netanyahu, I do risk being accused of anti-Semitism. Is there some magic formula? Why cant we object to Israeli actions that do not appear to be in the best interests of the US?

    Yes, there is a long history of Jews being persecuted. While I generally oppose hate crime laws, I have advocated that they remain in place for Jews because theirs is a unique history when it comes to persecution. But, when it comes to the actions of the state of Israel, which really means actions dictated by its currently elected politicians, I think they should be open to criticism and disagreement. Heck, we do that in the US with our own policy decisions made by our politicians What makes Israeli politicians immune from criticism?

    Steve

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  49. EMRVentures says:

    @MikeP:

    “Christians and Jews are the most persecuted people on earth”

    Just, wow.

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  50. george says:

    Um, that doesn’t even make sense from a fringe right religious fanatic’s standpoint.

    I realize to you guys any American failing to put Israel’s interests ahead of America’s interests is committing treason, but come on.

    I think y’all have been talking to Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann’s slack-jawed supporters too long.

    Oddly enough, that’s not where I’m coming from. I’ve a dog in the stolen land fight, but its not the one you seem to think (hint: first nations people can use the internet too).

    Look, like many of my people I’ve come to terms with the fact that we’re never getting Turtle Island back. It still is irritating to hear the people who stole it spew forth about the moral failings of others. And to note that so many people who are quick to support the Palestinians don’t give a damn about the first nations, and its hard not to suspect its because supporting overseas causes doesn’t cost them anything. Easy to be moralistic at that point.

    By now most people living in North America were born here; there’s no practical point in talking of stolen land. But that’s just as true for Israel, and probably Northern Ireland during the time of the troubles. Peace isn’t going to come from moral arguments, just practical ones. That’s true for both the pro-Israeli and the pro-Palestinian sides.

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  51. george says:

    Christians and Jews are the most persecuted people on earth. Why?

    Really? When did you have a whole continent taken from you, and 80 million of your people wiped out to get it?

    Everyone thinks they’re the most persecuted.

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  52. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Bruce Kesler:

    From the EU’s FRA website:

    “The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which replaced the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in 2007, is not a standard setting body and undertakes its work on fundamental rights on the basis of EU and international definitions and standards.”

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  53. anjin-san says:

    It still is irritating to hear the people who stole it spew forth about the moral failings of others.

    The people who stole it are all long dead. The are not “spewing” anything to anyone.

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  54. ponce says:

    Actually, the fact that he’s aware of what was done to the Indians, and yet quite comfortable with it is worse than if he were just ignorant about it.

    America may have stolen the Indians land, but at least Indians have the right to vote in American elections.

    The Israelis(and it is a majority of them now) not only want to steal the Palestinians’ land, they want to to deny the Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections.

    That’s what makes the theft so morally repugnant.

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  55. Bruce Kesler says:

    American Indians were not granted the right to vote in our Constitution (see Article I, Sections 2 and 8). Beginning with the 14th Amendment in 1866, states gradually did allow their voting, but it wasn’t until the 1965 Civil Rights Act that federal law protected full voting rights to all American Indians.
    By contrast, Israel moved far more quickly to grant full citizenship to Arabs in areas formally incorporated into Israel in what is known as East Jerusalem. In 1967, Israel offered full citizenship to the Arabs of East Jerusalem. Most rejected it, but instead have Permanent Residency with welfare, education, health and other benefits. In an independent poll in 2011, 35% of Jerusalem Arabs said they would opt for Israeli citizenship, 30% for Palestinian, and the rest declined to answer.
    The West Bank is occupied territory by Israel since the 1967 war initiated by the surrounding Arab nations, following Jordan occupying it since 1948. Was Jordan the primary thief? Did Israel steal the West Bank from Jordan? It wasn’t until after 1967 that a full-blown sense of Palestinianism evolved. Israel has repeatedly offered Palestinians a state in the West Bank, with relatively minor land swaps. The PA has repeatedly rejected a deal.

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  56. ponce says:

    Voting is voting, Bruce.

    No amount of fringe right squid ink can hide the fact that Israel denies a vote to the subject population of Palestinians it is ghettoizing.

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  57. Bruce Kesler says:

    “right squid ink”, you say. So much, Ponce, for informed, intelligent or factual discussion, or understanding.

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  58. ponce says:

    So much, Ponce, for informed, intelligent or factual discussion, or understanding.

    Bruce,

    Unadulterated propaganda like this:

    Israel has repeatedly offered Palestinians a state in the West Bank, with relatively minor land swaps.

    Is hardy intelligent or informed.

    Thanks to Wikileaks, we know Israel demanded all of East Jerusalem and almost all the arable land in the West Bank including all of the border with Jordan from the Palestinians in exchange for worthless strips of the Negev Desert.

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  59. @Bruce Kesler:

    You disagree with the considered official definitkion from the European Union. Says a lot about your considerations.

    The EU has also repeatedly accused Israel of commiting war crimes. Are you willing to accept the EU’s “considered official definition” there as well? Or only when the EU happens to agree with you?

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  60. Bruce Kesler says:

    @ponce: The last public Israeli proposal (Olmert’s) had about 5% land swaps. The latest PA proposal has about 2%. In either case, hardly what you describe. Unless the PA agrees to negotiations, rather than pre-demands for Israel to withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines, we’ll never know the exact borders of a deal.

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  61. ponce says:

    The last public Israeli proposal (Olmert’s) had about 5% land swaps.

    Here is Israel’s current plan for divvying up the West Bank according to Israel’s foreign minister:

    Lieberman’s plan, which corresponds to the second stage of the 2003 U.S.-sponsored road map peace plan, would not involve evacuating settlements or transferring significant additional territory to the PA. Thus the new state’s provisional borders would comprise mainly the parts of the West Bank known as Areas A and B. The PA currently has full control over Area A, and civilian but not security control in Area B.

    Together, these areas comprise some 42 percent of the West Bank.

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/lieberman-drafts-own-map-of-future-palestinian-borders-1.338583

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  62. george says:

    America may have stolen the Indians land, but at least Indians have the right to vote in American elections.

    So its okay to steal a people’s land, kill tens of millions of them, so long as after a few centuries you give them the right to vote?

    It smells like convenience to me – in that its far more convenient for you as an American to point fingers overseas than to look at your own backyard. Same for Klein. At the very least, he’s a hypocrite. Stealing land and killing people is bad, unless he personally benefits for it.

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  63. JohnMcC says:

    First, thank you, Mr Joyner! And to Mr Mattb, I also looked up the EU definition of antisemitism and found that Mr Kesler misstated it by leaving that important sentence out, about criticism of Israel is not a synonym for antisemitism. Funny that omission. Until I looked up the City Journal website and saw their editors included the likes of Victor Davis Hanson. What could be more non-partisan than that, eh? Agenda? You see an agenda here?

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  64. Bruce Kesler says:

    @ponce: Thank you, Ponce, for exhibiting your out-of-context, selective arguments. The Haaretz article you link, from a year ago January, also says this:
    “The proposal is meant to show that Israel is genuinely interested in progress toward peace, and to force the Palestinians to say whether they really want a state….”After a Palestinian state has been established in provisional borders, it would be possible to resume diplomatic negotiations and maybe reach agreements on transferring additional territory to the Palestinian state,” the official said.

    Lieberman has briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the project but has not yet shown him the map. Lieberman, the source said, believes that the more time passes, the more people will come around to the idea that the goal for now should be an interim agreement with the Palestinians….”
    Lieberman, who is Foreign Minister in the parliamentary coalition (all Israeli governments since founding have been parliamentary coalitions), suggested an “interim” state, with a larger one to come after negotiations, not a final boundary. As noted in the article, his suggestion was not the official government position. Indeed, PM Netanyahu has repeatedly said that outlining final borders will only come in negotiations with the PA, which the PA has refused to have, instead demanding the 1949 armistice borders (“Green Line”).

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  65. Bruce Kesler says:

    @JohnMcC: Criticism is not the same as Anti-Semitism. However, as the EU definition illustrates, applying a double-standard to israel not applied to any other democratic country is, as is calling it a racist endeavor. Both of which, and much more, done by Klein. Calling Israel an “apartheid” state was well-debunked by Goldstone in his NYT op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander.html?_r=1

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  66. Tano says:

    @Bruce Kesler:

    Calling Israel an “apartheid” state was well-debunked….

    Actually, Goldstone was a lot more honest about it than you are. The charge is not that Israel is an apartheid state, it is that Israel pursues apartheid-like policies in the West Bank. And his argument is a “debunking” of this only if you agree with him to begin with.

    The charge makes an analogy – obviously no one claims that the policies are identical to what happened in South Africa. And the charge is that Israel is pursing an analogous end point, not that it is fully implemented.

    If the “greater Israel” movement, fostered by the Likud, were to achieve its goals, then obviously the only alternatives would be either an ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the WB, or the granting of full citizenship rights to them (with the resulting eventual loss of a Jewish majority in greater Israel), or some arrangement, not unsimilar to what exists now, whereby the Palestinians would be governed by Israel, except perhaps for strictly local matters, but not have anything close to full political rights – i.e. second-class citizens in their own homes. I don’t find it at all a stretch to analogize that to apartheid, even if its implementation would differ in some respects.

    The two-state solution would preclude this. But the hard-right in Israel does not want a two-state solution. And it is abundantly clear that even if some politicians make statements of general support, they have no interest whatsoever in pursuing such an outcome.

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  67. steve says:

    “The last public Israeli proposal (Olmert’s) had about 5% land swaps. The latest PA proposal has about 2%.”

    Using percentages is very misleading. You should look at a map of how the West Bank is divided. It is divided into very many small areas. If you add in checkpoints and the number of roads from which Palestinians are restricted in some form, it is nothing like a real state, and I dont really see how you get there unless you give up quite a few settlements, which seems to be off the table with the current government. It really looks to me like things are heading away from a two state solution to a single state one.

    Steve

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  68. steve says:

    @Bruce- Are Netanyahu and Oren wrong?

    If the Arabs in Israel form 40 percent of the population, this is the end of the Jewish state. But 20 percent is also a problem. If the relationship with these 20 percent is problematic, the state is entitled to employ extreme measures.
    — Benjamin Netanyahu, December 2003

    Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.
    — Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., May 2009

    It looks to me as though only a two state solution resolves this, but as noted above, it seems as though that is not possible with the current coalition.

    Steve

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  69. ponce says:

    So its okay to steal a people’s land, kill tens of millions of them, so long as after a few centuries you give them the right to vote?

    George, no it is not.

    Lieberman, who is Foreign Minister in the parliamentary coalition (all Israeli governments since founding have been parliamentary coalitions), suggested an “interim” state, with a larger one to come after negotiations, not a final boundary.

    Bruce, the Israelis have been “negotiating” for 45 years without managing to give the Palestinians anything.

    How long do you think Lieberman’s “interim” state would be all the Palestinians had?

    100 years?

    The important thing to note about that article is the fact that the Israeli military currently occupies 83% of the West Bank.

    The Palestinians “control” an archipelago of ghettos that cover just 17% of the West Bank.

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  70. Bruce Kesler says:

    @ponce: Even in Lieberman’s “interim state”, he proposed connecting roads beteen the Palestinian areas, which contain almost all of the West Bank Arab population and cities.– How long it would last is up to the PA negotiating the rest in good faith, and not being a land for launching attacks on Israel.
    Every time one of your charges is hurled and knocked down, you blithely move on to the next one of half-truths.
    For Steve, above, it is not the current — widely supported — Israeli government coalition that is blocking negotiations, but the PA’s refusal to even enter them. Until that changes, we’ll not know the real possibilities. — In the meantime, the PA draws closer to Hamas and insists on the 1949 armistice lines, among other things. Your attention and criticism properly should be upon the PA.

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  71. ponce says:

    Every time one of your charges is hurled and knocked down, you blithely move on to the next one of half-truths.

    Haha, Bruce.

    You didn’t “knock down” anything.

    You tried to justify the fact that the Israeli military currently occupies 83% of the West Bank by saying the Palestinian ghettos would be connected by an Israeli controlled road in the future.

    This kind of nonsense “argument” may sway the slack jawed Republicans who support the likes of Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann, but the rest of the world sees through the lies to the truth:

    Give the chance to subjugate a minority population, the people of Israel have turned into amoral thugs just like every group who has done this in the past.

    And they’re trying to justify their disgusting behavior with the same tired lies that the amoral thugs of the past used.

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  72. Bruce Kesler says:

    @ponce: Another (not) intelligent comment from you that says much about you, and little about the facts or about me (who actually does not fit your desire as to what I am).
    If you want to examine amoral or thuggish behavior, really, pay attention to the actions in the countries surrounding Israel, and toward their treatment of minorities there.
    I sincerely hope that you being trapped within hate does not stop you from having a Happy New Year anyway — but despite your wishes it won’t come at Israel’s loss of security from such amoral thugs.

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  73. MSS says:

    “even if one is “anti-Israel” to the extreme degree of arguing that they have no right to exist as a political entity, that’s a very different thing than spouting hateful rhetoric against Jewish people”

    Not so clearly different, at least in certain contexts where this view is articulated. The basic claim of anti-Zionists in the Arab world and elsewhere has always been that there is no such thing as a Jewish people, or at least not one with any connection to the land in which the state exists. If there is no peoplehood, and no connection to the land in question, then there can be no justification for a state. Therefore, denying Jews the right to have a state, and one that privileges the people for whom it was created in terms of the use of symbols, language, immigration policy, and other attributes of states, is part of the package of anti-Jewish attacks.

    To be clear, criticism of the actions of an Israeli government is not anti-Semitic (despite the claims to that effect by some), but denial of the right to a state is. Or can be.

    On the question of whether Israel “engages in ethnic cleansing” (present active), if so, then one might question why close to 20% of the state’s citizens are Arab, why Arabs serve in the Knesset and on the Supreme Court, why there are still evidently at least a few Arabs living in land militarily conquered in the 1967 war (including both those areas not subsequently annexed as well as those that were). Apparently these facts are troublesome for the “mainstream” in the field of Middle East studies.

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  74. MSS says:

    By the way, I do not think it is workable to say that academics should be entitled to freedom to speak out on controversial topics only in their own fields. Attempts to draw such distinctions could be too easily abused.

    For instance, should Noam Chomsky be barred from speaking against US and Israeli actions because these topics are not in the field of linguistics? I should hope not.

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  75. ponce says:

    If you want to examine amoral or thuggish behavior, really, pay attention to the actions in the countries surrounding Israel…

    Bruce, I doubt even you believe your lies.

    An interesting editorial in Haaretz today. Thank goodness there are still a few decent Israelis documenting their fellow citizens’ decent into barbarism:

    We will remember the pilot who delivered the bomb that killed Mahmoud al-Ghoul, a high-school student, and his uncle Akram, an attorney, at the family’s home in northern Gaza. We will remember the soldiers who analyze photographs taken by drones, who decided that a truck conveying oxyacetylene cylinders for welding, owned by Ahmad Samur, was carrying Grad rockets – a decision that led to an order to bomb the vehicle from the air which, in turn, led to the deaths of eight persons, four of them minors.

    http://tinyurl.com/7hsap7q

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  76. James Joyner says:

    @MSS: Professors should enjoy the same free speech rights as the rest of us. I’m arguing here that 1) academic freedom, in its origins, has to do with the ability to do controversial research within one’s field and 2) university web pages should be used for academic purposes, loosely defined.

    The former has been a bugaboo of mine since the earliest days of OTB. See especially the updates to this post, which quotes a 1940 AAUP statement on the matter:

    ACADEMIC FREEDOM

    1. Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

    2. Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.[2] Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.[3]

    3. College and university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

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  77. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    I would also like to note that Mr. Kesler et al have skilfully managed to steer the discussion into the usual quagmire of Israeli politics discussion, thereby deflecting attention from the actual issues criticised by the author and the merits (or rather the lack thereof) of the work being criticized.

    Well done sir.

    That said, I cannot take an author seriously who is either unable or unwilling to see the difference between advocating unpleasant viewpoints and one advocating illegal and morally corrupt behaviour. You have (imho of course) done your position no favours by replying here. The combination of smugness and partial moral blindness is really off-putting.

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  78. Rob in CT says:

    I find it amusing that people who whine loudly about supposed double-standards against Israel simulataneously demand a double-standard with regard to criticism of Israel (basically you can’t do it. If you do, you must firmly establish your pro-Israeli bona fides and mute your criticisms, while making sure to include references to how the Arabs are worse).

    The side discussion regarding the USA’s theft of native lands missed something, I think. That is: if we recognize that this was wrong, how in the hell does it make sense to help perpetuate a similar, ongoing, dispossession? Israelis are currently expanding settlements in the West Bank.

    It’s not hypocrisy to say “no, that’s wrong” (and/or stupid) even though one’s forebears engaged in similar activity (though mine and I suspect many others, did not. My family arrived here after it was all over). I understand the urge to say “hey! Your country did it! Quit tellin’ me I can’t do what you did!” I get it. But it’s bullshit.

    The practical and the moral converge here, I think. “Greater Israel” fantasies are dangerous for Israel.

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  79. RUTH KING says:

    What troubles Kesler’s critics is that his facts counter their posturing. Israel is singled out for criticism with no regard for the barbaric mores of their neighbors. American academies get major contributions from the OPEC nations and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) obliges by making anti-Israel libels part of the curriculum. This trickles down to all faculty so that even Math professors spout bias.

    Does Israel have flaws? What nations do not? However when one considers the continual threats, and the large and potentially seditious Arab population, Arabs in Israel have more personal freedoms than in any Arab country. But self righteous critics like Klein and his defenders see Israel through distorted lens and Kesler is right to point this out.

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  80. Rob in CT says:

    Modern, liberal democracies *are* held to higher standards than autocratic regimes. It’s not just Israel. I do this with my own country as well (and have then been accused of hating my own country, hah). Further, Israel (and “pro-Israel” hawks) make much of Israel’s positives, which in and of itself is fine. But you do not get to put Israel up on a pedastal and then, which criticism comes, fall back to “but, but, but… others are worse!” It’s pathetic, really.

    So no, Kesler’s “facts” do not bother sane people.

    As for the “large and potentially seditious” Arab population Israel has to deal with, who’s fault is THAT? Come on.

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  81. Rob in CT says:

    When people whine about Israel being “singled out” they are apparently blind to the fact that Israel is “singled out” for favors from my government. Not truely “singled” out, of course – we have many friends & allies around the world who are treated better than other non-allies. My point, however, is that we do not treat Israel as just another country. Therefore, demanding that individuals, especially in the USA, treat Israel like just another country (by not holding it to a higher standard than, say, Syria) is nonsensical.

    Do we treat the UK as “just another country” ? No. We have the “special relationship.” If I criticised the UK during the troubles, would I be unfairly singling them out because I cared more about their actions than I did about, say, the terrible USSR? No.

    So, in the end, I care about Israeli misdeeds because I know that my country is backing them up.

    Just like I care about the USA’s drone warfare program. Is it the worst thing in the history of the world? No. But it’s bad. Does the USA have enemies? Yes. Are they nasty characters? Yes, often they are. That does not justify the scale of our warfare against anybody our analysts think kinda sorta looks like a terrorist. Saying this does not make me a self-hating American. I care so much because I love my country.

    I do not hate Israel. I do not hate Jews. So take your charges of anti-semitism leveled at any criticism of Israeli policy and shove ’em where the sun don’t shine.

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  82. David, what you're missing here is that a college professor's personal use of a university's web browser is tantamount to a politician's usage of legislative stationary to raise campaign funds on his or her behalf. It is, at the very least, unethical and says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Doug Mataconis:

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  83. Doug, what you're missing here is that a college professor's personal use of a university's web browser is tantamount to a politician's usage of legislative stationary to raise campaign funds on his or her behalf. It is, at the very least, unethical and o says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

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  84. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Doug, what you’re missing here is that a college professor’s personal use of a university’s web browser is tantamount to a politician’s usage of legislative stationary to raise campaign funds on his or her behalf.

    The website clearly stated that it was neither affiliated with nor endorsed by the university and contained only private opinions. This was one of the main reasons why the university deemed it acceptable.

    Not the same thing at all.

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  85. Issler says:

    If he had ever been to Israel he would’ve known that there is NO ethnic cleansing going on at any rate and that there are even elected arab politicians in the country’s political scene.
    The same can’t be said of our fellow arab nations, eh? In most of these countries, you’ve got to be a native muslim to apply for the lowest job.

    Nice way of bashing Israel with sad pictures and one-sided opinions while not allowing any comments. Guess what, a war isn’t pretty. We could as well show pictures of people mutilated by terrorist attacks (which have dramatically dropped after we have built the wall thank you very much) but we prefer not do so, we’re bloody civilized.

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  86. Andy says:

    @Michael:
    Countries that are worse than Israel is right now…. Name one, besides the US.

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  87. Andy says:

    @RUTH KING:
    It’s true every country has their flaws, but i wouldn’t call 60 years of land stealing, apartheid and genocide a flaw.
    What do you call the holocaust then, a misdemeanor.

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