The actions of these instructors show that the discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not really a discussion; instead, it is a constant relativization of whether Israel should be treated in the same way as other countries. In September I asked Radhika Sainath, a senior attorney at Palestine Legal who then advised Cheney-Lippold, if the professor had ever refused to write a letter of recommendation for political reasons, or if he refused to write a letter of recommendation for another country. She replied that he would have refused to write a letter "for a student studying in South Africa apartheid, or at a white university, or at a university only for men in Saudi Arabia, or another program in foreign that is discriminatory, where other students could not come from. & # 39; But she did not mention an example that he had actually refused to write such a letter, and the examples she gave – one from a government that no longer exists, and the others of certain types of institutions only underline the refusal of Cheney-Lippold to accept the legitimacy of Israel as a state.*
College campuses are often caricatures for, in the eyes of critics, trying too hard to make students feel safe and comfortable. I do not think that creating an inclusive academic environment deserves criticism, but the same politeness must be extended to all students, including those who support Israel.
Last week, in the window after the story of Cheney-Lippold ended and before Peterson arose, a Michigan student report on a compulsory reading for her great enlightened social media. She said the lecturer claimed that Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler are both guilty of genocide & # 39 ;.
The collegiate opponents of Israel frame the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in black and white terms: Palestine, good; Israel, bad. Anyone who believes that Israel has a right to exist? Too bad.
This tactic with broad brushstrokes means the whole range of experiences and political perspectives among Zionists – of the most progressive Zionists, who want to put an end to the occupation and call Netanyahu's unequal treatment of Arabs, women and secular Jews, until their most right-wing counterparts, considering the expansion of Israeli settlements as a biblical imperative, are placed under a single normative umbrella: bad. Unacceptable. Unsuitable for dialogue.
Serious conversations about real challenges in Israel (and there are many – just talk to an Israeli, or read the editorial pages of Israeli newspapers) do not happen on American university campuses, because pro-Israel students need all their time and energy spend the fundamental argument that Israel has the right to exist.
The most depressing thing about becoming the newest battleground in the conflict abroad is that life in Israel offers American students the best chance to develop an advanced understanding of the country and its policies.