A little one-sided

Vermont Public Radio, my favorite news source, ran a story earlier this week about Middlebury College and the position it is taking on the American Studies Association's academic boycott of Israel.

As reported by Mitch Wertlieb:

 The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has found its way into a controversy that has some American colleges and universities at odds with the American Studies Association, a group that promotes American History and culture. That’s because the ASA recently issued a resolution to boycott Israeli universities over that country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Middlebury College is a member of the ASA and is among up to 20 other colleges and universities that, in response, issued a statement condemning the ASA boycott.


The story goes on to quote a professor about why they don't agree with the boycott, calling boycotts of this nature a “challenge to the free flow of ideas”, and doing a pretty good job of explaining why the college would not support the boycott.

What the story did not do was give much of a sense of context, or of the opposing view in this hotly contested debate. Would it have been that hard to talk to someone at the American Studies Association, or to find an academic who supports the boycott?  

I think it's fine to do news stories about local institutions, particularly when they relate to how our Vermont institutions relate to the greater political debate. I do think, though, that VPR could have done a better job in fairly presenting both sides of the debate.

11 thoughts on “A little one-sided

  1. I agree with you, Jack, that the ASA should have been invited to make its case.  Only insofar as to show what this ‘action’ is based on.  Has the ASA boycotted American universities which take funding from the government and the Corporate Reich to further the dumbing-down of education for the purposes of furthering our slide into ignorance about social problems, war, and the threat of a soon-to-be Orwellian nation?

    What about what WE have done to the Native Americans, the Unions, the poor, the Pashtun people?

    I am more than a little sick-and-tired of the ‘poor suffering Palestinians’ because it’s getting to be an excuse for Holocaust Denial and ANTI-SEMITISM.  When we were massacring 3 million Vietnamese, where was the ASA?  When the government and the Corporate Reich fund universities to manipulate and distort education and HISTORY, WHERE IS THE ASA?  I don’t follow what they do on these issues, so please tell us, Jack.

    Activism on campus should come from the students and professors, NOT from academic organizations whose motives may be suspect.  And, although I take some license here, in my 65 years of life I cannot recall such a dedicated campaign as this one regarding Israel and the Palestinians.  Not Civil Rights, the War in Vietnam, and certainly not our current War on The World for profit.

    A quick reading of HISTORY will show that the Palestinians and other Arab states and leaders surrounding ‘Palestine’ in the 30s and 40s were ‘actively’ supporting HITLER.  I have no sympathy for NAZIS.  This outcry over the ‘poor suffering Palestinians’ flies in the face of our atrocities in Vietnam (3 MILLION dead Vietnamese?), Chile and elsewhere.  BLAMING THE JEWS is an old line.  It has now become a WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION.  How convenient it is to adopt the Palestinians as part of the Protest Movement.  It diverts BLAME.  If I remember right, I believe our CIA had something to do with the Fedayeens and Hamas ‘decades’ ago.  

    When we give back to Native Americans all of their land that we have ‘occupied’ over the centuries, yeah, I’ll say to Israel:  “Do like us with your NATIVES.”  But, that isn’t going to happen.  And Israel, the SOVEREIGN JEWISH STATE is in a STATE OF HOSTILITIES with Hamas.  I expect there will be another rocketing or bus bombing during these current negotiations.

    The ASA is wrong.  And those Americans who encourage Hamas are wrong.  And, GODDAMNIT, ISRAEL IS WRONG TOO in some of its actions towards those Palestinians who want nothing more but to live in peace in their OWN COMMUNITY.  Moshe Dayan proposed in 1967, after the Six Day War, a Palestinian State made up of West Bank Palestinian areas and part of Jordan.  Guess who rejected that idea?

    I would rather see the ASA come out and CONDEMN that asshole (NAZI), Ariel Sharon, and any memorializing over him.  Just as I hope the ASA will condemn any memorializing over Henry Kissinger’s death.  Sharon was the WORST FACE OF ISRAEL.  BUT…he didn’t call up Bush in 2002 and demand we invade Iraq.  WE DID THAT!  We are NOT the Client State of Israel–it’s the OTHER WAY AROUND.  Perhaps the ASA might do better by opening discussion on WHY and HOW this situation with Israel and the Palestinians has gone on and on AND ON for so long.  Who’s interests is it in?  Certainly not Israel’s.  

    Enough, Peter.  But Goddamn!  This ISSUE really pisses me off.  Yes, because of GAZA, we have nitwits who are free to say that Israel is doing HOLOCAUST EXPLOITATION and SETTLEMENT COLONIALISM.  Next there will be nitwits who will make the case that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is WHAT IS CAUSING GLOBAL WARMING.  Yeah.  BLAME THE JEWS.  Ya know what–Fuck The Palestinians, and Hamas, and the memory of that little pig, Yasser Arafat.  I hope Arafat and Sharon are both being barbequed right now by…well…CUSTER…and HITLER.

  2. to see this here as liberals & the left generally support the Palestinians. Period. Hence the usual never-ending & tiresome position papers by universities.

    Middle East including Israel & Palestinians have been at war since the book of Genesis — and if prophecy is to be believed this will not end anytime soon but is unfolding accordingly as we speak.

    It is an intricately complex subject. Part of the problem is understanding it from the blow-by-blow historical perspective which is a long & winding road of study — past to present with many twists & turns. I was once up on it but much has faded as there are now new & more pressing issues on the horizon.

    Since much of it is religious & spiritual in nature it can be difficult to understand outside of that context.

    The secular world regards biblical commands & promises to Israel about as highly as many liberals view the constitution & those who wrote it. Eyes glaze over at terms such as “Founding Fathers” or what “the framers” meant or wanted.

    Perhaps one of the main issues is that Israel needs to positionally maintain a militarily strategic advantage. Some of the requests of the Palestinians place Israel at a disadvantage which is part of the problem. Obama only made things worse — Kerry merely wants to burnish his legacy. Jerusalem is a huge sticking point. Zionists plan to rebuild the temple further complicating things for the Muslims.



    What I see as the real problem is that the younger generation (these kids today!) of primarily Palestinians & perhaps some Jews as well are not wedded to their grandaddy’s peace process & will readily agree to much less than the oldschool hardliners would simply to end the conflicts & have a prosperous thriving neighborhood where everyone wins. The reality is that neither Hamas and perhaps even the PA want this as it would put them out of business. So for the hardliners to get what they want they must move quickly as time’s a-wastin … the younger generation doesn’t really care about many of these issues.

    Some links:

    Arutz Sheva:




    I prefer Arutz Sheva — lots of cultural info – even Israeli rock music. great way to understand todays culture.


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