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Thursday, December 19, 2013

David Brooks, "The Tragic Situation": Israel Is Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Tragic Situation" (, David Brooks informs us concerning Israel:

"The failure to deal with ambiguity is one of the great disorders of the age. It’s a flight from reality. By taking legitimate moral concern and abstracting from the actual situation, this malady turns moral care into a form of moral obtuseness, and ultimately, inhumanity. So as critics or pundits, it’s worth keeping in mind what psychologists call the fundamental attribution error: don’t blame character when the problem is the situation."

Or stated without the flatulence, Israel is caught between a rock and a hard place.

More specifically, Brooks explains:

"Many Europeans think about Israel this way, as do the folks at the American Studies Association, or A.S.A., which this week announced an academic boycott of Israel. The A.S.A. has a problem with the way Israel is occupying the West Bank. Who doesn’t? But the A.S.A. refuses to acknowledge the complexity of the horrific choice that Ari Shavit identifies.

The A.S.A. instead wants to take Israel’s mistakes and use them as a pretext to make it a rogue nation. Applying extreme responses to proximate errors, it declares that Israel and its universities are beyond the moral pale. They effectively discriminate against Israeli scholars by virtue of their nationality."

The "folks" at the A.S.A.? I would call them something else that begins with an "f" and ends with a "k" (no, not "firetruck"). You see, these "folks" don't give a damn about discrimination against homosexuals in Russia, or slave labor in China, or genital mutilation of women in Egypt, or discrimination against Baha'is in Iran, or the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria. They don't care about scholastic freedom (see: Rather, they are purportedly overwrought by Israel's "colonization" of - as stated by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat - some 1.1% of the West Bank over the past 46 years (see:

Of course, they are prepared to overlook the fact that almost all Palestinian colleges and universities in the West Bank and Gaza came into existence after Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza following the Six Day War. They are also delighted to ignore the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities after Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza in 2005, which have disrupted studies throughout the south of Israel.

Ongoing occupation of the West Bank? A majority of Israelis would evacuate the West Bank in an instant if only there could be assurances that rockets and missiles would not rain down upon the western half of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya and Ben Gurion the next day. But there are no such assurances. In the past, there have only been bombings, one of which killed and wounded almost 100 innocent people at Hebrew University in Jeusalem in 2002 (see:

Yes, Israel is caught between a rock and a hard place, and to the chagrin of the A.S.A., Israel has opted for survival.

[In an opinion piece entitled "The Real Problem With the American Studies Association's Boycott of Israel" (, even Israel-basher Peter Beinart goes on record as opposing the action of the A.S.A. Needless to say, Beinart makes a point of adding that Palestinians suffer from discrimination in Israel. I would only observe in this regard that I just received a letter rejecting my candidacy as a director of Israeli government corporations owing to the fact that I purportedly lack 15 years of management experience. The letter goes on to say that women must have eight years of management experience, but the managerial experience requirement does not apply to Israeli Arabs - or what is known as affirmative action or reverse discrimination. That darned Israeli sexist and racist government!]

1 comment:

  1. Don't get me started.
    Frankly, I am sick and tired of prostitutes, such as "academics" and "journalists," pretending to be something else.
    They actually continue "academic" traditions. In the Middle Ages, Jews were afraid of bigoted and aggressive university students/professors more that illiterate peasants.
    We know how universities behave in Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. And ..... American universities at the same time . See, Steven H. Horwood. "The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses. Someone recently pointed the similarities between the behavior then and now.