Colleagues’ Washington Post Op-ed for Free Speech on Campus
Two TTN colleagues active in the Alliance for Academic Freedom, Professors Cary Nelson (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and David Greenberg (Rutgers), have published an opinion piece entitled “Students are shouting down pro-Israel speakers — and silencing free speech,” in the Washington Post. They argue that although past disruptions of on-campus speakers from Israel or deemed to be pro-Israeli have generally been condemned as free speech violations, such incidents have more recently gained a disturbing degree of acceptance due to the “anti-normalization” campaign against Israel:
. . . For decades, Israel’s detractors struggled in vain to rebut the point that they were unfairly targeting a relatively liberal democracy while ignoring the far worse human rights violations of numerous state and nonstate actors. Anti-normalization offered a convenient principle specific to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — one that could create a rhetorical escape hatch from questions of why, by this logic, defenders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia or China didn’t also deserve to be silenced.
As anti-normalization spread as a tactic, it acquired a higher status. Advocates of BDS — the campaign to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — began to grant this “principle” a quasi-theological character, lending its application to campus events an air of moral urgency and ethical superiority. By last year, BDS supporters had a transcendent reason to voice their contempt for academic freedom when they refused to participate in “normalizing” dialogue about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to block campus access to speakers deemed sympathetic to Israel. . . .
Click here for the entire article at the Washington Post website.
The Third Narrative (TTN) seeks to play an important role in the debate over peace in the Middle East by helping to counter false and delegitimizing claims made against Israel by activists in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. This program also develops key relationships with domestic progressive constituencies to gain their constructive support for a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Our TTN booklet responds to some of the most common and inaccurate accusations made against Israel from the far left by activists trying to appeal to those who are committed to human rights and social justice.
Scholars for Israel & Palestine (SIP) Pro-Israel, Pro-Palestine, Pro-Peace Scholars for Israel and Palestine comprises progressive academics who are pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, and pro-peace. We are committed to advancing a two-state solution to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestine, bringing peace, justice and dignity to both sides. Click here for background, statements by the SIP and an application to join.
The Third Narrative engages with people on the left who suspect that it is wrong to lay all blame for the Arab-Israeli conflict at the feet of Israeli Jews but feel that too many Israel supporters reflexively support –or passively accept—the Israeli occupation. When it comes to this conflict, the truth is rarely black or white; it resides in a gray area where advocates on either side typically don’t like to venture.. » read more