Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
Professor Emerita Marie Kennedy
On Tuesday of this week, UCLA held yet another forum on the Israel-Palestinian conflict in which no one was invited to speak for Israel. In other words, some thirty like-minded people gathered for the express purpose of bashing the state of Israel. No, I didn't go, but a colleague did, one who succeeded in making the principlal speaker look bad and rousing the wrath of the pro-Palestinian crowd.
The principal speaker was somebody named Marie Kennedy, who is a visiting professor at UCLA (from the University of Massachusetts-Boston) in community planning (whatever that is). Kennedy also belongs to an outfit called Grassroots International. She is another one of those types that likes to go to the Palestinian territories and bring back stories and pictures of Palestinian suffering-all because of the Israelis-never because of their own terrorist leadership (Hamas).
During the Q&A, our colleague managed to get in a couple of questions that revealed her (Kennedy) lack of expertise on the issue. Kennedy went back and forth on the question of whether US aid to Israel should be cut off entirely or just aid for military purposes. In effect, Ms Kennedy was unable to articulate a clear position as to why aid to Israel should be cut off but aid to Gaza should not be. On multiple occasions, Kennedy, unable to deal with the pointed questions, admitted she was not an expert and looked to a male seated to her right for help. The man attempted several times to answer the questions, and at one point, the questioner told him that the question was directed to Kennedy not him. By this point, the crowd was starting to get angry at the presence of a skunk at the garden party. One woman yelled at our colleague, "Israel isn't a democracy. It's an apartheid state."
Can't these folks come up with something original? Sounds like the same woman who yelled at me at the UC-Irvine event on January 31 that she was ashamed to be an American because the US was supplying the bombs to Israel that were being dropped on Palestinian babies.
It's bad enough that these anti-Israel groups have to drag in some professor who just happened to go to the Palestinian territories, but can't deal with someone with a different point of view. If she's not an expert, what the hell is she doing on the platform? Hell, I've been to France many times, but I would never try to stand in front of a crowd and give a talk about France.
But there also arises the issue of what kind of education is a university offering when no opposing voices are invited to take part in the panel. These panels or forums or whatever you want to call them are becoming a recurring feature at many universities, especially in California. They are one-sided to begin with, and opposing voices are not welcome, rather they draw angry reactions from the crowds. Another question is whether UCLA put its official imprimatur on the event, which could be a violation of state law.
When it comes to education, these events have as much credibility as roller derby.