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Memo to Ramaz: UN high school students heard Khalidi speak, and survived

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Rashid Khalidi.

Rashid Khalidi

A couple times now we’ve reported on the brave high school students at Ramaz School in New York who’ve taken on their school head, Paul Shaviv, for barring Rashid Khalidi from speaking at the school. Shaviv has lately said that hearing Khalidi for these students would be like playing tennis with Andre Agassi, they’d be overwhelmed. Well, this is just in, from Erin B. Mee, an assistant professor of English at NYU. Staggering report:

In contradistinction to Ramaz High School, The United Nations International School held a day-long conference for high school students on 23 September 2011 titled CHANGE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. The conference focused on the Arab Spring, and had several sessions devoted to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Rashid Khalidi and Professor Ronald Zweig, Director of the Taub Center of Israeli Studies at NYU spoke, debated, and answered students’ questions in a panel titled “The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: a Conversation.” This was prefaced by a lecture titled “The Middle East Today” given by Zachary Lockman, Director of the Kervorkian Center of Near Eastern Studies at NYU. Classes were cancelled so that students could spend the full day listening to panelists, debating, participating in breakout sessions, dancing both Israeli and Palestinian folk dances, watching documentary films, looking at photographs displayed around the school, and performing in two plays dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. UNIS’ solution was not to censor information, but to provide as much information from as many viewpoints as possible. If high school students are not allowed to learn about all the issues involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and if they are not allowed to think through the issues for themselves, we have no hope of resolving the conflict.


Philip Weiss

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7 Responses

  1. amigo on February 28, 2014, 11:07 am

    The “Forbidden Fruit” (Truth) denied these kids will only turn them more against Israel,s actions, when they do eventually find it.

    Israel falls ever deeper into international isolation and disgust.

  2. Dan Crowther on February 28, 2014, 11:50 am

    Khalidi went there – he’s an alum of the UN international school.

  3. Chu on February 28, 2014, 3:06 pm

    Ramaz ( in 2007) boasts a 10% success rate to the top eight universities in the country, but they can’t stomach a reality that may be to hard to bear on their delicate psyche?

    I wonder if the school headmaster is afraid that a real talk would damage their self-perception and group perception? I would say they’re probably not ready for HARD facts and a real talk.

    But this is no better that having white kids hear about segregation during the old days of the American south. I know Zionists love the effectiveness of this analogy.

  4. wondering jew on March 1, 2014, 2:25 am

    Because of the tendency of the Ramaz community, i.e. the modern Orthodox Zionist community, to censor, therefore the Khalidi rescinded invitation is seen in that context. I think that the media aspect of the event if it had happened was highly significant to the decision makers.
    (In other words if the event would have been just between their students and Khalidi, the event would have happened, but because the event would have been: the students, Khalidi and the media, the event got shut down.)

    • tree on March 1, 2014, 3:04 am

      You’re making up excuses again, yonah. There was no need for the media to be there; the school is a private one and could have easily barred the media, if the media even cared to be there, which is not very likely. And the school’s officials never used your excuse to cancel the event. They came up with the cockamamie one that Khalidi was too smart for the students to be able to understand or respond properly, which boils down to the fact that he might have been convincing and the PTB couldn’t have that.

  5. Citizen on March 1, 2014, 3:07 am

    On a related note, yonah–here’s the latest on ScarJo–she says she doesn’t view herself as a role model:

    Anybody here who can get the print copy of Dazed & Confused magazine? Be interesting what else she reveals in the interview.

  6. Pamela Olson on March 1, 2014, 9:55 am

    It’s interesting the visceral reaction I had when I learned the students learned Israeli AND Palestinian folkdancing, and there was a real debate in front of them by real people with real differences of opinion.

    I thought, “Holy crap, they actually let Palestinians have a say and a voice, too!” It’s so rare. Israeli speakers/programs so rarely allow any kind of contradiction to their Israel-only narrative. And then, of course, they bray to the heavens when a supporter of international law and justice in the region dares to speak somewhere without an Israeli narrative minder. Hey, it’s the only time they can get a word in edgewise!

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