The Violence and Intimidation at Palestinian Universities Has Little to Do with Israel

In Western universities in particular, the charge is often made that Israel represses the academic freedoms of Palestinians. This accusation, Eve Garrard notes, is a tactical one that Israel-haters in the academy use to explain their obsession with the Jewish state. But in his recent book Not in Kansas Anymore, Cary Nelson shows that, while the state of academic freedom at Palestinian universities is indeed dismal, it is not so because of Israel. Gerrard writes in her review:

In fact, much of the conflict in Palestinian universities is not focused on Israel at all. There is violent conflict between groups that support Fatah and those that support Hamas, and also between splinter groups within these broader affiliations. Academic freedom for faculty is eroded because they are afraid of being branded by students as collaborators or “normalizers,” which can put their lives in danger. Administrators are too frightened to enforce respect for freedom of expression, and with good reason.

Another locus of academic unfreedom resides in the curriculum: some of the more practical and technical subjects are adequately delivered, but in other cases the curriculum is corrupted by anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic indoctrination. Nelson cites . . . some literature teaching sessions at the Islamic University of Gaza. The tormented forcing of discussion (of a humorous children’s poem about cats!) into anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic conclusions is a quite extraordinary example of indoctrination, one that should cause any teacher of literature to weep with despair at the distortion of education that it represents.

Nelson concludes, persuasively, . . . that the assumption that Palestinian universities are educational institutions just like Western ones is simply false, as is the assertion that their academic freedom is undermined solely, or even primarily, by an aggressively militaristic Israel.

Read more at Fathom

More about: Academic Boycotts, Freedom of Speech, Palestinians

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy