Commentary on Israel, the Middle East, and the Jewish World
Some really ignorant people over there in Berkley......
I'll be interested to hear what Judith Butler can "teach" me on Thursday. Interestingly enough, at Berkeley's conference on "Is There a New Anti-Semitism?" last year she professed her willingness to "leave historical and social issues" to more qualified speakers. So what exactly can she be speaking to? It will also be interesting to see to what extent her identification as an American Jew is made to be the legitimating basis of her critique of politics and diplomacy in the Middle East.UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Bergeneau recently sent out a statement on civil discourse on campus. I wonder what kind of a test this event may pose to that mission statement. Here it is in full:"To: All Faculty, Staff, and StudentsAs we embark on a new academic year, it is truly wonderful to experience the vibrancy and energy that fill the Cal campus with the return of our students and enthusiastic arrival of our amazing freshmen and new transfers. As classes resume this week, voices of discussion and debate again resound in our lecture halls and Sproul Plaza is filled with colorful and noisy activities. The start of the school year is an opportune moment to remind the campus about academic freedom and freedom of speech. At Berkeley, we are passionate about the matters that shape our world and discussion, debate and political activism are a proudly defining characteristic of our campus. But we must also be vigilant to ensure that our debates and advocacy take place in a reasoned and civil way that increases understanding and does not promote intolerance and hate. The university has a unique role in society in guarding the principles of freedom of inquiry and free speech. These principles have been won over the centuries in the face of numerous attempts to thwart them. Academic freedom and freedom of speech are among the most important values held by the American university system and must be vigorously defended. Of necessity, this means that there must be freedom to examine, discuss, debate and communicate controversial issues. However, academic freedom must always be accompanied by academic responsibility. A vibrant academic community supports open and honest dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Our discourse must be both open and civil. As an institution of higher learning, we have a responsibility to promote constructive dialogue that does not foster a climate of intolerance or give license to prejudice. By fostering discussion in a reasoned, civil and respectful exchange of views among all members of our community, we can contribute to the emergence of understanding and solutions to important challenges facing our world today.We have an obligation to give our students the broadest range of learning opportunities as they prepare to understand and engage in an increasingly heterogeneous and global community. We must reflect the ideal of that global community here on our campus. I hope that each and every one of us will take this to heart as we begin the new academic year. I encourage each of you to review our Principles of Community at http://www.berkeley.edu/about/community.shtmlI wish you all a very successful and personally rewarding year at Cal."
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