Watch now (11 mins) | Our Zoom call this week will be at our regular time: Friday at Noon EDT. Our guest will be Samuel Moyn. Samuel is professor of law and history at Yale and the author, most recently, of a book that’s been getting a lot of attention, Liberalism against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times
it's U Penn, not Penn State. And Waters wasn't the keynote. He was on one of many panels, this one about allyship from non-Palestinians. In the end, he didn't even appear in person. Just look at the lineup--the vast majority of speakers were Palestinian.
you may remember that we did a friday conversation on exactly that, which included Berkeley Prof Ethan Katz, who decried the Berkeley law students' decision, alongside a Palestinian legal activist defending it
The day after Yom Kippur, and Peter's already out on the Internet defending anti-Semites. So much for washing away sins and starting a year on the right foot.
This article is even more insulting to the readers' intelligence than usual. I assume Peter will also encourage Black students to go out and listen to the experiences of white supremacists coming to speak on their campus. After all, how many Black students have really sat down and listened to white supremacist rhetoric? Read their books? Watched their movies? Of course not: once again Jews don't count, and Jews are expected to be the only real Christians. No other minority group would be expected to welcome and attend a conference staffed by people who hate them discussing how to deprive them of their institutions, civil protections, and human rights. The idea is absurd.
And it goes from tragedy to farce when you consider that the campus left and the pro-Palestine movement especially are on the forefront of campus censorship. They're the first ones to declare "Zionists off our campus!," usually punctuating their words with violence. Anyone remember Michael Oren and the "Irvine 11?" The Confrontation at Corcodia? There's too many examples to name going back decades, but the recent "Jew Free Zones" at Berkeley is a good starting point for anyone who tries to claim silencing pro-Israel voices on campus isn't part and parcel of the pro-Palestine movement. It seems to me like what goes around comes around. If Palestine demands anyone who thinks Israel should even exist be banned from universities, certainly individuals with far more radical and hateful views have no place on Penn's campus. By Palestine's standards, no one else's.
When Palestinian students sit down and listen respectfully to the experiences of Jews, Israelis, and Zionists who have been victimized by them and their movement, maybe then Beinart will have a case. Until then, this hypocrisy is beyond parody, and deserves nothing more than scorn.
Unfortunately for you, Beinart, this claim about the conference being all about the Palestinian experience is just another lie, and it's obvious to anyone paying attention. The clearest and most indisputable indication that this is a lie is the fact that Roger Waters was supposed to be the keynote speaker. Roger Waters, in case anyone is not aware, is not a Palestinian. He has just as much authority to speak about "the Palestinian experience" as Beinart does, which is to say, none at all. Of all the Palestinians the organizers could have chosen to keynote their festival, they chose none of them. That speaks volumes, far far more than anything someone like Beinart have to say.
Beinart claims that the opposition to the speakers is because of "what they say about Israel and Zionism". Maybe Beinart isn't aware that another one of the speakers, Refaat Alareer, a professor at Islamic University of Gaza, is on record as tweeting, “Are most Jews evil? Of course they are.” And I'm sure I could find more were I so inclined to dig further. Regardless, spewing hate about "Zionists" and then claiming it's not antisemitism isn't fooling anybody, it's just classic dog whistle politics. If the alt-right held a conference where all they did was talk about much they hated "feminists" and wanted to rid the world of "feminism," I don't think anyone would buy it that they have nothing against women.
Beinart might as well just give it up and admit there's antisemitism in his movement, as many Palestinians have, and then proceed to justify it, rather than pretend that all of the speakers have never said anything beyond "legitimate criticisms of Israel."
Peter, in the podcast title, you're asking the wrong question. I would amend it to ask, "Have the People Protesting a Palestinian Literary Festival Heard Any Palestinian Propaganda?" Many Jewish university students have never read any Palestinian literature, but they probably have heard oral Palestinian rants, diatribes of biased propaganda, frequent exaggerations, and occasional outright lies on most campuses. To let those stand without visible criticism is a great disservice to Israel and Jews everywhere and to "racial" justice.
Peter, two weeks ago in this space I criticized the oddly titled "Palestinian Open Letter" that condemned some unquoted and unspecified comments by Mahmoud Abbas without even giving any hint of the time or place where the comments might have been made. You wrote that the letter was "really excellent", and then you had an hour with a signatory of the letter but never asked her why it didn't actually say which of Abbas's comments it was condemning.
So these are your standards?
Here you've provided us with a link to a letter by Penn alumni who say they "are deeply concerned about the many scheduled speakers at the upcoming event who have a history of antisemitic rhetoric, actions, and hostility towards Jewish people."
And they don't name any of these speakers that they profess to be deeply concerned about. With the combined resources of the 2,026 signatories, they were unable or unwilling to come up with a single name, or a single example of antisemitic rhetoric or action or hostility towards Jewish people. This fact doesn't deserve calling out?
The alumni ask the university to "Issue a clear and unequivocal statement specifically denouncing the event’s platforming of known antisemitic speakers."
Right. "KNOWN" to whom? They're essentially telling the university, "WE KNOW that some of the speakers at this event are antisemitic. You should take our word for it and denounce the event for platforming these people that we won't even identify, let alone share any information about what any of them have said or done."
And it gets worse. Penn's president responds with this letter:
She writes, "many have raised deep concerns about several speakers who have a documented and troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people."
She's accepting as *fact* that this event will include "several speakers who have a documented and troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people."
But she doesn't identify any of these speakers, either, let alone make reference to any of their speech or actions.
When you praise a condemnation that isn't specific about what it's condemning, as you did, then that makes it acceptable for other people like these to make accusations against unspecified individuals for unspecified words and unspecified actions.
I was a speaker at the Festival. I am not Palestinian. I was chosen by the, yes, Palestinians who organized and ran the festival to give a talk because they, as Palestinians, wanted me to, because they felt my topic was relevant to Palestine. (And it was.)
This nonsense about how the Palestinian literary identity is misleading because not everyone was Palestinian is really desperate. The organizers do not have to explain to you who they want, nor need your permission.
You try imposing your critique on any other parallel event and you will see how idiotic it is.
When will the Palestinians stop their rejectionism as the region and world move on without them?
Secretary Mayorkas and Secretary Blinken Announce Designation of Israel into the Visa Waiver Program | Homeland Security.
Powerfully said. Thanks. Those seeking an intro Palestinian literature would be well advised to start with a guest you had on a while back, Fida Jiryis
Who Am I, Without Exile?
By Mahmoud Darwish Palestinian national Poet
Translated by Fady Joudah
A stranger on the riverbank, like the river ... water
binds me to your name. Nothing brings me back from my faraway
to my palm tree: not peace and not war. Nothing
makes me enter the gospels. Not
a thing ... nothing sparkles from the shore of ebb
and flow between the Euphrates and the Nile. Nothing
makes me descend from the pharaoh’s boats. Nothing
carries me or makes me carry an idea: not longing
and not promise. What will I do? What
will I do without exile, and a long night
that stares at the water?
to your name ...
Nothing takes me from the butterflies of my dreams
to my reality: not dust and not fire. What
will I do without roses from Samarkand? What
will I do in a theatre that burnishes the singers with its lunar
stones? Our weight has become light like our houses
in the faraway winds. We have become two friends of the strange
creatures in the clouds ... and we are now loosened
from the gravity of identity’s land. What will we do … what
will we do without exile, and a long night
There’s nothing left of me but you, and nothing left of you
but me, the stranger massaging his stranger’s thigh: O
stranger! what will we do with what is left to us
of calm ... and of a snooze between two myths?
And nothing carries us: not the road and not the house.
Was this road always like this, from the start,
or did our dreams find a mare on the hill
among the Mongol horses and exchange us for it?
And what will we do?
will we do
Mahmoud Darwish, "Who Am I, Without Exile?" from The Butterfly’s Burden. Copyright © 2008 by Mahmoud Darwish, English translation by Fady Joudah. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org
Source: The Butterfly’s Burden (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)
I haven’t read Palestinian literature. In my school in Israel the sixties Arabic was a compulsory subject. But my attitude was already too polluted to take it seriously. I understood that an easy way to gain quick popularity among my fellow students was to clown around the teacher’s back.
Many years and a country later I attended a small evening class in Israeli literature in Sydney Eastern Suburbs. It was a joy to get back to reading Hebrew again. One day she read to us to a short story written by young Palestinian woman, translated into Hebrew. It was breath taking, it was true writing, it was blood, sweat and tears.
And then the first comment - « it couldn’t have been written by a Palestinian alone, surely the Israeli translator must have had a part in it too »...
My blood boiling, a fiery exchange, the teacher attempting peace,
and change of subject.
Yes Peter, I’m with you on this - we don’t know the Palestinian literature.
Shifting gears from this current topic, it's worth noting the rapidly evolving news regarding a potential groundbreaking normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel. As I've often emphasized before, such agreements could leave the Palestinian people marginalized. If this agreement materializes, it might set a precedent for other Arab nations to follow suit, further isolating the Palestinians. In the long run, Palestinian leaders will need to reevaluate their 75-year-old strategy focused on the destruction of Israel -- and proponents of Palestinian rejectionism, exemplified by individuals like Peter who propose unworkable ideas like a single-state solution for all, may need to confront the harsh realities of this changing landscape.
After the storm.
The War Against Palestinians on Campus Keeps Getting More Absurd
It’s become so predictable: Palestinians try to gather at a university and all hell breaks loose.
Beinart's generally deeply insightful analysis being a much appreciated given, I nonetheless need to question the intellectual category of "civilian". An admirable category as an expression of the hope for sparing those not obviously combatants in a given conflict but who determines who is truly a non-combatant and who by giving aid and comfort is de facto a party to armed conflict? Who determines is also relevant to populations not accorded "civilian" status, such as Shoah-era Jews, Zionist-era Indigenous Palestinians, our own western hemisphere Indigenous peoples, Uighurs under CCP control and others. The humanitarian solidarity obligations toward the latter drive us but why do we shy away from the implications of the former? Is it in Beinart's case that he is uncomfortable with Zionist-occupation Jews possibly deserving to be targeted just as I have argued that WWII era German and Japanese civilians "deserved" to be targeted or rather that their victims indeed deserved that we target their would-be genocidaires for death and argue for the regime-compliant populations of the twin Eurasian mega-dictatorships to be targeted now. Zionism for all its crimes does not threaten the world. Putinist, imperialist ethno-supremacist Russia and the comparable CCP do and need to be overthrown and if their urban power centres will not rise up then they too may likely need to be targeted or will we let our overextension of the concept "civilian" lead us to likely suicidal cowardice in the face of these regimes' nuclear blackmail to which we refuse to effectively respond?
Some context please. Iran !