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The Changing Israel Debate…Even in Colorado

March 10, 2009

For starters, I would like thank the many people who have offered to come to my assistance in the case that my job at the University of Denver might be in jeapordy for having – most recently – publicly criticized Israel’s war in Gaza. These offers came both from within the university and beyond, including friends in the Jewish Community. I told them to `hold their fire’ so to speak for now. From what I can tell, the mini-jihad against my dean, Tom Farer and myself at the Korbel School of International Studies, went nowhere. Of course I could be wrong about this but it seems the effort has fizzled, at least temporarily. You should also know that another faculty member, Randall Kuhn, had a fine piece on Gaza published in the Washington Times. Kuhn’s piece can be found on the January 14, 2009 entry for this blog, although it means scrolling down a bit to get to it. I was told that after it appeared calls that Kuhn too be fired, were also made.

This kind of bullying, which has become so common place, did not seem to have produced any results this time. A sign of the times? That said, there are indications, albeit modest, that the debate over Israel-Palestine is at long last starting to shift somewhat nationally. Glenn Greewald’s blog entry printed just below – lifted from – gives a good sense of the new environment. Add to this the Hampshire College decision to divest from companies profiting off the Occupation of the Palestinian Territories (W. Bank and Gaza), Britain’s decision to open negotiations with Hezbollah, global calls to indict those Israelis responsible for the carnage in Gaza of war crimes, the likely critical posture that the Durban Conference on Racism will take towards Israel and it does seem, at long last, that a shift in thinking – modest to be sure – but still, is taking place. Of course we can expect a full court press – already initiated by Deshowitz, Foxman and the like – to counter the Hampshire divestment with their calls for the US to divest from Iran, etc, etc…

Thanks to Alan Gilbert for having pointed out the Greenwald comments.

Charles Freeman, Roger Cohen and the changing Israel debate

The right-wing, Israel-centric stranglehold over our political debates is clearly eroding.
Glenn Greenwald

Mar. 09, 2009 |

(updated below – Update II)

Anyone who doubts that there has been a substantial — and very positive — change in the rules for discussing American policy towards Israel should consider two recent episodes: (1) the last three New York Times columns by Roger Cohen; and (2) the very strong pushback from a diverse range of sources against the neoconservative lynch mob trying, in typical fashion, to smear and destroy Charles Freeman due to his critical (in all senses of the word) views of American policy towards Israel. One positive aspect of the wreckage left by the Bush presidency is that many of the most sacred Beltway pieties stand exposed as intolerable failures, prominently including our self-destructively blind enabling of virtually all Israeli actions.

For the full piece please click here.

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