The January issue of Commentary is out, and it contains a disturbing piece by two Duke University graduate students, Eric Adler and Jack Langer called “The Intifada Comes to Duke.” The authors are referring to Duke’s recent hosting of the annual conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM). One of PSM’s stated principles is that it refuses to denounce any terrorist act committed by Palestinians. But that doesn’t mean PSM is agnostic about such terrorist acts. One of the scheduled speakers at the Duke conference, Charles Carlson, has openly called for lethal attacks against Israelis — “each wedding, Passover celebration, or bar mitzvah [in Israel] is a potential military target.” (The seminar Carlson was scheduled to lead eventually was cancelled with no explanation). One PSM organizer, Fadi Kiblawi has written of his urge to “strap a bomb to his chest and kill those Zionist racists.” Another spokesperson, Hatem Bazian has called for “an intifada in this country.” And Sami al-Arian, who has been active in the movement, is awaiting trial in Florida for racketeering and terrorism.
None of this was of concern to Duke president Richard Brodhead. He found the decision to host the pro-terror organization to be “an easy one” given “the importance of the principle free expression.” It is true that after the PSM’s statements and deeds were spelled out in detail for Brodhead, he modified his position. Now the “deepest” reason for hosting the conference was no longer free speech, but “the principle of education through dialogue.”
The dialogue, as Adler and Langer show, was a one-sided and darkly anti-Semitic affair. Keynote speaker Mazin Qumsiyeh (a Yale professor of genetics) presented a short history of the virulent Zionist “disease.” Israel was pronounced “racist” and a greater abuser of human rights than South Africa in the days of apartheid. One speaker defended the terrorist acivities of Hamas. At a workshop, Huweida Arraf of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) urged students to join her group, which she acknowledged cooperates with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and offered them tips on how to enter Israel surreptitiously. Thus, in the name of dialogue, did Duke University assist in the recruitment of accomplices to terrorism.
When it was all over, and after the dialogue had inspired a columnist on the Duke student newspaper to attack American Jews and their “shocking overrepresentation” in academia, President Brodhead pronounced himself satisfied. More than that, he expressed gratitude and pride at seeing his university involved in such a “constructive event.”
UPDATE: Many thanks to Davi Bernstein of Commentary for kindly emailing us the link to the Commenary article by Eric Adler and Jack Langer that did not appear in our original post.
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