Brandeis: tribalism, funding, and fear.

Ben takes issue at the list of grievances at today’s demonstration:

I’m not sure I get it. It seems like they’re linking too many unrelated things together. There’s just no coherence to this set of grievances, as far as I can tell (not that some of the things mentioned are not legitimate concerns in and of themselves).

For reference, the event opposed the circumstances surrounding the events of the ‘incidents’ regarding:

the removal of Palestinian Art, Nadia Kim, Gravity Magazine, Jimmy Carter, Donald Hindley and Mamoon Darwish

I don’t know enough about the Gravity or Nadia Kim cases to make a judgement. So, putting those aside, we’re left with the removal of Palestinian Art, Jimmy Carter, Donald Hindley, and Mamoon Darwish.

These cases are absolutely connected. They are connected by their relationship with the Israel-Arab conflict, and the tension it creates on campus.

As I’ve written previously,

Brandeis is funded by rich right-wing Jews and rich left-wing Jews. The administration doesn’t want to offend the right-wingers, so it tends to do these outrageous things. Or at least, that’s the theory that I’m operating on.

Carter was invited by lefty professor. Brandeis first tried to un-invite him, realized that they couldn’t do that, then they invited Dershowitz to Brandeis as well and tried to set up a debate between Carter and Dershowitz, which Carter refused. The injustice? Administration trying to humiliate Carter, and trying to change the rules of the game after he accepted an invitation.

Palestinian Art Removal – Speaks for itself, really, though I will point out that no one owned up to the responsibility of decreeing that it must be moved. (Or else Jehuda did, I’m a bit unclear on the details)

Hindley is famous for being outspokenly opposed to these sorts of decisions (but also the Reinhartzs personally, I’m told). Many interpreted the “Hindley case” as Brandeis’ revenge.

Mamoon is a self-identified Palestinian.

Universities shouldn’t have a foreign policy, but it seems that Brandeis does, which creates tension.

I think one must concede that it is plausible that many, if not most, of these ‘outrages’ here on campus can be viewed through that lens by students. Regardless of my personal affiliations or beliefs, I think that these students are rational when they view these incidents as both injustices and emblematic/connected to a larger problem.
Of course, I have a much more brief rejoinder to Ben: All these incidents feature the university not living up to its own rules. *

*Except for maybe Gravity and Nadia Kim. Again, I’m not too familiar with these issues so I don’t want to make any sweeping statements.

Furthermore, it would be wise of me to point out that the demonstration is geared towards influencing student attitudes and actions at least as much as it has the administration as an audience.


I expect some people to disagree with me on this analysis. Cool. I fully expect that I might be wrong sometimes. Who is the bigger fool, the man who stays silent, fearing to be wrong, or the man who opens his mouth, makes mistakes, and comes out the wiser for the lesson? More on this in the letter from the editor.


6 thoughts on “Brandeis: tribalism, funding, and fear.”

  1. Right, Sahar, you put Gravity aside, but you did it because you don’t know about the issue rather than because it wasn’t mentioned. The Gravity issue speaks to the racial tensions on campus, which is totally unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  2. Tim – You’re probably correct. But hey, next-year’s change must begin today, right? If the admin. will not wake up to the realities on campus, then students will make their views known. In any case, I’m uncomfortable denigrating the efforts of pure-minded students.

    But yeah. Fight the good fight.

  3. Bret – You’re being rather disingenuous.

    If one read with care, as I’m sure you did, one would see that I specifically put Gravity, Nadia Kim aside.

    A close reading will also show that I wrote:

    many, if not most, of these ‘outrages’ here on campus can be viewed through that lens by students.

    most != all.

    Secondly, Hindley frequently clashed with the upper Administration over their handling of these Israel-Palestine related issues. The “wetback” incident was just a chance for the admin to strike back.

  4. right on, sahar. however, this is an institutional problem and will be solved (if at all) in the long term.

    i think the administration needs to show that they recognize the problem and care about students, by hosting events where students can voice their opinions about when and where they see this discrimination occur on campus, and how it affects them.

  5. I think you’ll have the hardest time connecting Hindley to the Israel-Palestine issue, seeing as the “wetback” incident really has nothing to do with that.

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