Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I Expect Better

What is up with U of C? I expect better from a school I list on my credentials and hope to add for my post grad work. (via Instapundit)

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In fact, the panel consisted of Professor Sassen, who spoke on behalf of transnationalism, or principles and forms of government that transcend the nation state; myself, discussing nationalism and how Israel could be both a liberal democracy and Jewish state; Professor Ann Bayefsky (to whom Professor Sassen sneeringly refers) of Columbia University Law School, who analyzed the double standard the U.N. has applied to Israel for decades; and Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Yale University geneticist, who sought to equate Zionism with Nazism, racism and apartheid.

[. . .]

After listening to Professor Bayefsky recount the many and varied ways that the U.N. had singled out Israel among all the nations of the world for special condemnation and Professor Qumsiyeh single out Israel as indistinguishable from one of the most heinous regimes in human history, Professor Sassen knew which opinion needed to be denounced.

Offered the first opportunity to respond to fellow panelists, she could only bring herself to wax indignant about one side of the vast divide on the panel: “We cannot make any headway even in our academic discussion if we talk about the Israeli government as a pure victim the way two of the speakers explicitly or implicitly did,” intoned Professor Sassen. “We need to recognize that the Israeli state has operated with excess power in a situation of extreme asymmetry.” Given the choice, Professor Sassen explicitly upbraided the calm, lucid analyst of U.N. hypocrisy toward Israel (and me implicitly), and sided with the hate-mongering purveyor of the monstrous falsehood that Israel was in principle no different from the regime that murdered six million Jews for no other reason than that they were Jewish. In her interview with the Maroon, Professor Sassen suggests that it was the sterility of the argument on both sides that provoked her departure. Yet those who were there did not hear her express criticism of Professor Qumsiyeh’s obscene comparison of Israel and the Nazi regime, but only of Professor Bayefsky’s defense of Israel from the charges that it was a racist and apartheid state.

Moreover, by walking out on the panel midway through the event “after she had spoken for a second time but before she could be challenged” Professor Sassen showed that she held her own opinions to be beyond criticism and regarded her opponents’ opinions as unworthy of serious debate. Professor Sassen’s performance was more than unprofessional. It was rude to the organizers, to the audience, and to her fellow panelists.

Taking her conduct and comments together, one is led to conclude that Professor Sassen objects to sharing a stage with people who hold views that differ from hers; that she finds offensive the obligation to confront evidence ad arguments put forward on behalf of positions she dislikes; and that she has forgotten or is unaware that the kind of debate that educates is debate with people with who hold the opposite opinion.

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