Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Elizabeth Redden, "On Israel, Shifted Ground," Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2009.

[Frances Edwards, the moderator of the Akiva Tor event, describes what he feels to be the university's proper role:

“My concern is for the university and what the university means to a community. We’re not intending to be an advocate for any particular point of view but rather to serve as a speaker’s corner, a common ground, where people of different opinions can get together and at least hear each other.”

This article by Elizabeth Redden is an excellent example of long journalism about a far-reaching event. -jlt]

The ground seems to have shifted, activists on all sides say. What they make of it varies.

A shift toward more visible pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel sentiment has been profound on some campuses, prompted, in part, by the winter war in Gaza. Where some describe a corresponding disintegration of civil discourse or a scapegoating of Israel for a complex set of problems, others celebrate a newfound space in which to be critical of Israel -- to mount a challenge to what they see as a dominant discourse, so to speak.

The two perspectives don't have to go hand in hand, but at times, they seem to.

Take Emory University, for example, where about a third of undergraduates are Jewish. “The situation’s very interesting because in the past Emory was not a political school at all,” said Jessica Fraidlin, a sophomore involved with several Israel advocacy organizations, including Emory Students for Israel. “We’ve always had a very strong Jewish community, but we’ve never had an opposing side.”

  “I don’t think I’ve ever seen the level of so many students being afraid. I’ve never heard a faculty member threatened before.”

Read the rest here =>
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