Comparative literature

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My limited but steady diet of early morning scripted news today yielded two pieces that I deemed of like focus and equal import.

First, I read a piece forwarded to me by an academician friend who himself thrives on a diet of pro-Palestinian scholarly discourse and supplements that diet with his own research and writing. He had delivered this uplifting piece to my inbox. I read it and was duly impressed by the enlightened outlook of those courageous 80 legal scholars and by their daring to speak out in defense of academic freedom and intellectual honesty. I even took my time and scanned the names recognizing five clearly Arabic ones among them. I even made the positive mental note that the rate of our participation in this daring cream of the Israeli legal academic crop is above usual, even if relatively still very limited. After all, we, Palestinians, make up 20% of Israel’s citizens.

Then I glanced down the remainder of my inbox till I hit my visual breaks at an alert from my good friend, Jonathan Cook, a man needing no introduction to any involved observer of Palestine-Israel issues. I read the piece and marveled at the stale taste in my mouth. I knew it wasn’t Jonathan’s piece itself, for that was like chewing on glass. I could feel it ripping my guts. But what it did was to make me recall the blandness of the previous piece. How could so many ‘honest scholars’ be willing to speak so politely to such outrageous practices by their own representative government.

I need say no more than to ask you to read the two pieces and tell me if you, knowing what Jonathan has just told you, would accept to reduce your outrage to what the eighty Israeli law scholars have written. And they shouldn’t need Jonathan Cook or anyone else to tell them. Like me, they live the criminality of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians every day. The least they could do is throw a shoe at their prime minister.

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Throw a shoe? Too close to actual violence for me even if he is too far away to be hit by the shoes. I once proposed to a Palestinian friend that the children who were then throwing stones at soldiers should, instead, throw papers (paper airplanes?) with pictures of stones… Read more »