Academia,  Middle East

Academic conference from Hell

It’s underway at the American University of Beirut.

The university’s Center for American Studies and Research is sponsoring a “Transnational American Studies” conference, marking the 10th anniversary of the death of Edward Said. The keynote speaker is Dr. Judith Butler, who famously declared that Hamas and Hezbollah are “part of the global Left.”

It looks to be a veritable festival of post-modernism, post-colonialism and academic gobbledygook– with no shortage of anti-Zionism and Israel-bashing.

For example:

OK. You got your pinkwashing and your redwashing. But where’s the session on bluewashing? (According to The Electronic Intifada, that’s when Israel provides humanitarian assistance to disaster victims and then dares to publicize the fact.)

I especially like this one:

“Paint the Sand Yellow Again: Settler Colonialisms across Antarctica and Palestine”

Elena Glasberg
New York University, United States

This paper advances comparative studies of empire and settler colonialism through the unlikely connection of the Zionist fantasy of Israel-Palestine as “a land without people for a people without a land” and a less known but no less fantastic construction of Antarctica (a territory in fact lacking natives) as a desert of ice turned into a “laboratory for science” under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty…

But this session looks like the best one of all:

Jeffrey Goldberg weighs in:

One thought sprung to mind as I came to understand the putatively anti-colonialist bent of the conference. This gathering is taking place in Beirut, which is a city essentially under foreign occupation. Hezbollah, the external militia of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, is Lebanon’s main — and most heavily armed — power broker. Over the past decades, Hezbollah’s leaders, and their allies in Tehran and in the Assad regime in nearby Damascus, have colonized Lebanon in brutal ways. Just last week, a prominent pro-democracy activist and critic of Iran’s Lebanese and Syrian interventions was assassinated in Beirut. This wasn’t the first such killing, and it won’t be the last…

There is nothing on the schedule of this conference to suggest that these academics, so enthralled by Western sin, will have anything to say about what is going on right under their noses. The indigenous rights of Antarcticans, however, will be defended.

Share this article.