Friday, February 8, 2013

Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler Don Victim's Robes at Brooklyn College

"Barghouti, who began his talk with a call for solidarity with indigenous peoples of the United States, celebrated the “victory” over “bullies” and “racists” that Brooklyn College’s Students for Justice in Palestine had in successfully putting on the talk in the face of calls for censorship. But he also warned that “the war waged on free speech is not over,” and referenced battles waged like what he called the Chuck Hagel “inquisition” and current efforts to tar student activists in California as anti-Semites for their work for Palestinian rights."

Last night, the much-ballyhooed appearance of Omar Barghouti and Judith Butler went off at Brooklyn College. In contrast to Monday night, when Barghouti spoke without fanfare at UC Irvine in front of about 30 people, this time the line to get in was about a block long with metal detectors and everything short of dancing bears and Beyonce. There were protesters outside, but the two speakers delivered their boycott Israel propaganda without a hitch.

From The Nation (a liberal magazine), here is the text of Butler's self-righteous remarks about free speech.

Kinda gets ya right here, doesn't it?

How ironic that she speaks of her right to free speech. Would she then condemn the so-called Irvine 11 when they disrupted the speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren a couple of years back at UC Irvine?

  1. "Judith Butler signed the petition
  3. about 2 years ago

Stop the Prosecution of the 'Irvine 11'

Apparently not. So I conclude that she doesn't care much about the right of the Israeli ambassador to speak.

Alan Dershowitz, who criticized the appearance, is being accused of trying to shut it down. Here is his response from Frontpage Magazine:

Barghouti continued to show his fascinating depth of knowledge about America by dredging up a reference to the late Senator Joe McCarthy. To use his own words to me at UCI, I would ask Barghouti, "How is that relevant?" He also made reference to his followers in California. Perhaps, he was referring to their failed efforts to get a turnout at UC Irvine.

So why is it that Barghouti flopped at UCI in terms of turnout and drew so much attention at Brooklyn? One reason might be the much higher percentage of Jewish students at Brooklyn than UCI, which, courtesy of Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Student Union, has a negative reputation for many Jews. Another might be that folks like Alan Dershowitz gave these bozos more attention than they and their movement deserve. Even New York's embattled mayor Michael Bloomberg jumped into the fray defending the appearance. Personally, believing in free speech, I would have concentrated on getting people to attend and engage in the q and a. Of course, Barghouti doesn't like to answer critical questions. He dismisses them as "irrelevant" as his hosts quickly jump in to cut them off.

So does this conclude Barghouti's tour of America? After all, he does need to get back to his classes at Tel Aviv University. I guess they don't take attendance. Hopefully, he will get his degree before he turns 50. (Only one year to go.)


Anonymous said...

Good points about the free promotion for the event that didn't deserve it.

By signing that thing Butler doesn't show she supported the actions of the disruptive students. She didn't want them criminally prosecuted.

The criminal prosecution of the students brought them a lot of attention and support that wasn't deserved. It was clear to me that they wouldn't learn anything from it, so it was the wrong course of action.

Gary Fouse said...


They learned nothing from it. Four of them came and spoke at UCI during last may's anti-Israel week. When I asked them why they could not afford the same courtesy of free speech to Oren that they were enjoying, they replied that Oren was a "war criminal". One of these young men is now a law student at Harvard and boasted that he felt he was accepted because of his participation in the Irvine 11.

Anonymous said...

Good article by Eric Alterman.

"It is true, of course, that Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinian people breeds hatred rather than a desire for cooperation with their oppressors.

Even so, it cannot possibly serve the cause of peace and self-determination for the Palestinians for their spokespeople and supporters to demand that Israel, as currently constituted, commit suicide.

They may think it just. They may think it right. They may think it fair or even ordained by God. But so long as they insist, as Omar Barghouti does, on the achievement of a set of goals that would mean the end of the Zionist project, then they will only strengthen those who seek to keep them in a permanent state of oppression and immiseration as they simultaneously undermine those who would champion their cause."

Anonymous said...

This was pretty clever - Arab Activist Guide