MIDDLE EAST STUDIES IN THE NEWS:
UCLA "Conflict Resolution" Program Features
Anti-Israel Professors on Both Sides
By Cinnamon Stillwell
UCLA is launching a series of public lectures, academic courses, and educational programs aimed at fostering civil discourse and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block will be among those teaching courses, along with experts on mediation and professors who have opposing viewpoints on politically charged issues.
"It is our obligation to equip students for success in a complicated and interconnected world," Block said in an email announcing the effort to the campus community. "From UCLA, alumnus Ralph Bunche, who won the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts as a mediator in the Middle East, to the class of 2012, UCLA has sought to train the next generation of leaders who will help resolve conflict, here in California and around the world."
And who has been chosen to initiate the first of these enlightened, peace-loving lectures on the Arab-Israeli conflict? None other than Saree Makdisi, a UCLA English professor, nephew of the infamous Edward Said, and a well-known anti-Israel ideologue. In addition to promoting the usual canards about Israeli "apartheid" and imaginary atrocities, Makdisi routinely churns out op-eds and delivers lectures promoting the socalled "one-state solution," in which Israel, in its current form, ceases to exist. As he put it in a June, 2011, lecture at the University of Pennsylvania, the Jews -- without a state and surrounded by twenty-two Arab-majority states -- will have to "just get on with their lives." In other words, Makdisi is hardly an ideal candidate to teach about "conflict resolution."
Presumably representing the pro-Israel perspective in this seminar will be David N. Myers, former Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and current Chair of the History Department:
Myers has been actively involved in ongoing campus efforts to create a safe, respectful environment where divergent points of view can be discussed and debated, as laid out in UCLA's Principles of Community. These principles promote the mediation and resolution of conflicts that arise from the historical and divisive biases inherent in modern societies.
To further those efforts, Myers teamed up with his friend and colleague Saree Makdisi, a professor of English and Comparative Literature, to teach a Fiat Lux undergraduate seminar this quarter called "Learning to Talk About Israel and Palestine."
Although Myers and Makdisi hold different views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they hope to inculcate in their students a shared commitment to impassioned, but civil, exchanges on contentious issues.
The problem is that Myers, although claiming to "hold different views" from Makdisi, is hardly unbiased. His response to a Center for Near Eastern Studies-sponsored 2009 symposium titled "Gaza and Human Rights" that garnered widespread condemnation for its anti-Israel invective (Myers's buddy, Makdisi, one the speakers, asserted that "the goal of Israel is to deliberately starve children") was tepid at best. It's little wonder, since a Jewish Journal of Los Angeles article on the subject described Myers as having himself "publicly protested the level of Israeli force used in Gaza."
Beyond that, Myers, as noted in the April, 2011 Campus Watch article, "Anti-Israel Jewish Studies":
On one side we have a professor who believes Israel should no longer exist as a Jewish state, and on the other a professor who also believes Israel should no longer exist as a Jewish state.
Looks like there won't be any conflicts to resolve after all.
Originally Published by Campus Watch, February 27, 2012
Republished with the Permission of Campus Watch & the Middle East Forum
Reprinted from Campus Watch, February 27, 2012
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