Let’s Start a Debate

For fun, I think I’ll post the following speech delivered by Harvard’s president, Larry Summers, recently of Clinton admin fame. This speech was delivered on September 17, 2002, and has occasioned an outrage in many quarters. In the speech, he equates the call for divestment from Israel (aided by — you guessed it! Noam Chomsky himself) with anti-Semitism. He even goes so far as to say the following:

“Without thinking about it much, I attributed all of this to progress — to an ascendancy of enlightenment and tolerance. A view that prejudice is increasingly put aside. A view that while the politics of the Middle East was enormously complex, and contentious, the question of the right of a Jewish state to exist had been settled in the affirmative by the world community.”

I think the introductory clause to his first sentence sums it up nicely.

More to the point, it is quite clear that “the question of the right of a Jewish state ot exist” has NOT been settled — if it had been, we wouldn’t see Palestinian mothers sending their sons off to kill themselves and, while they’re at it, as many Jews as possible.

Now, you’d really be hard-pressed to find someone more pro-Israeli than me. I love Sharon, I don’t think there should be a Palestinian state (at least not in the medium term; security risk and all), and I think that the Israeli government is the only honorable government in the whole region (not a difficult feat to accomplish, granted). But it is intellectual thuggery to suggest that disagreement on this issue amounts to anti-Semitism. This is the tactic used by the multi-culti Left when they accuse conservatives who oppose affirmative action of racism. In neither case is it honest or acceptable.

I have my opinion, and I hold it strongly; but it’s silly to pretend that the issue has “been settled.”