Clark University canceled a campus talk scheduled for later this month by controversial Holocaust scholar Norman Finkelstein, saying his presence "would invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding," and would conflict with a similar event scheduled around the same time.What could be similar? Are we sure that this isn't some kind of Israel lobby intervention?
The Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights, a student-run group on the Worcester campus, had arranged for Finkelstein to speak on April 21, said Tom MacMillan, the group's president. School administrators, however, contend the topic and the timing conflict with a similar university-sponsored event.Well of course it wasn't the Israel lobby, what a thing to say. I mean it's obvious there just happened to be someone just like the most hated man in the Israel lobby's cross hairs attending the same uni to address the same topic at roughly the same time.
In a letter to the university's campus newspaper, Clark's president, John Bassett, wrote: "The university remains committed to inviting a wide range of speakers to encourage diversity of opinions on controversial topics. My decision was predicated on its untimely and unfortunate scheduling."Well if the university president confirms the university's reasoning, who could argue?
But what's this:
Finkelstein's address would conflict with a similar conference hosted by the university's Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, scheduled for April 23-26, two days after Finkelstein's speech, Bassett said in his letter. That conference could draw Holocaust scholars who MacMillan said may disagree with Finkelstein.Ah so it wasn't the fear of duplication then. But we still shouldn't assume Israel lobby influence here, should we?
Although Bassett wrote that he did not believe that students intended Finkelstein to be an affront to the conference, he said he believed it could be viewed that way.
"It is possible that our understanding of the Middle East conflicts would be enriched by conversations with Professor Finkelstein," Bassett said in the letter. "It is my judgement, however, that having Professor Finkelstein speak on the same evening as our planned conference would only invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding."
The dispute came to the attention of college administrators after Hillel, a Jewish campus group, objected to Finkelstein's scheduled appearance.
Bassett met with MacMillan, two other members of the group, and a handful of other campus administrators, including public safety personnel, on Monday to discuss Finkelstein's speech, MacMillan said.
At that meeting, the administration suggested that as many as six uniformed or plain-clothes security officers attend Finkelstein's speech, in case the forum became violent, MacMillan said.
Still, it wasn't the Israel lobby and it's antisemitic to say it was. This was Hillel. This was the Jewish lobby, not the Israel lobby at all.