Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Prager is known for stating clear simple truths in language that anyone can understand. In the Times of Israel interview he says, “Non-Jews who think anti-Semitism is only the Jews’ problem need to read about miners’ canaries — about miners who think that when canaries die of noxious fumes those fumes won’t kill them,” he says, and “Nothing better identifies incipient evil than anti-Semitism.”
|Ari Y. Kelman|
“Prager’s comments are spurious, overly broad, and, basically inaccurate,” writes Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Professor of Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford University. “They do not represent the general conditions of Jewish student life on college campuses, and they do not represent the experiences or intentions of many of the faculty associated with Jewish Studies with whom I have spoken.”
“And I am fairly certain that I have more interaction with both students and faculty than Prager does, which leads me to wonder where he gets his information from.”
“Kelman, who also serves as associate director of Stanford’s Berman Jewish Policy Archive of some 40,000 journal articles and research reports is in the midst of a student-focused research project. He and his own students have interviewed about 80 enrollees on five California campuses, Kelman says.”
“I can speak with some authority about the lives of college students because my students and I are in the middle of a research project on how Jewish students are making sense of politics around Israel, being Jewish, Palestine, and other issues on campus,” says Kelman.
People talk about the ‘Arab Israel conflict’ I think the term itself is a lie, and if at all possible, the term should be avoided. What you have is the Arab war against Israel and I would put it even more strongly; what you have is the Arab war against the Jewish people.
The Arab league was created in 1945. It was created the same year as the United Nations and I think one of the main reasons that the Arab League was created, it was not that these Arab countries were so much in love with one another—as we can see the conflicts in the Arab world among the countries themselves are almost as great as their conflict with the Jewish State—but the Arab League came together around one thing more than anything else and that was the prevention of the creation of the State of Israel, and then what has remained the glue of the Arab: of pan-Arabism, of the Arab League formerly, and of what the Arab League represents: the common enmity to a Jewish state, so that the role of opposition to Israel is at the very foundation of Arab politics.
It’s frightening in the sense of how important it is to Arab countries because sometimes when one sees it from their point of view, you sort of wonder: What would draw them together if it is not common enmity to the State of Israel? No wonder they have to keep this war going for so long.
It is so essential to their political life and to their internal political life, not only vis-à-vis one another but really in terms of scapegoating, in terms of explaining what’s going wrong, in terms of blaming and creating a grievance against another country. So I think it makes no sense to talk about an Arab Israel conflict, because when you use these terms, it almost seems as if you’re talking about two entities which are at war with one another. It’s almost as if you’re thinking of the Franco-Prussian War, where you would have France and Germany in conflict over some territory, or even the Polish Russian War where it was a conflict over whether this country would have the land, or that country would have the land.
Well, what we’re talking about is not that kind of conflict. It is the conflict of countries, over 20 countries, with an enormity of land, with more land than they know what to do with, that refuse to allow one people its land. It is a very essential refusal to accept the principle of pluralism, to accept the principle of the possibility of the existence of another people with its own legitimacy. And until that realization begins to be spoken of more openly, and until that realization is really forced back into the Arab world, we don’t have a chance of ever solving what that conflict is.
And it’s not enough for people outside of the conflict to begin to recognize this truth, the most important thing is for people within the Arab world to begin to acknowledge what they have denied the Jewish people for over 60 years.
Daniel Schwartz, an associate professor of history and the director of the Program in Judaic Studies at The George Washington University, says he is “all too familiar with Prager’s right-wing extremism.”
Schwartz, an active member of the Academic Engagement Network (AEN), says he would not have joined if “I weren’t concerned about the rash of BDS initiatives on college campuses in the US in the past few years.”
“I am generally skeptical of the notion that boycott and divestment campaigns have created an atmosphere on college campuses that is ‘hostile’ to robust forms of Jewish self-identification and expression, just as I tend to be skeptical of the way the current generation of college students speaks obsessively about a need to feel ‘safe’ on campus, in a way that tends to favor the suppression of certain kinds of speech,” Schwartz says.
comment about Streit’s office being littered with “made in China” PragerU swag, with Streit, seemingly apologetic, explaining that the water bottles and totes are sent to donors. Streit describes how PragerU works:
A group of about 500 students comprise PragerForce, in which they make a commitment to share content, Streit says. In addition to aggressive online marketing, Streit says the “secret sauce” of PragerU is that the organization has “clear, factual and easy to understand content combined with a very robust marketing platform.”
Will the organization’s methods produce a lasting impact?
To which Streit responds:
“If people could hear Dennis and see a video again and again, that could help people to articulate with intellectual ammunition,” Streit says. “If you are pro-American, you are pro-Israel. The more people you bring to American values, the more people you bring to Israel.”
Like the future of on-campus debate itself, the legitimacy of this argument remains to be seen.
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