After inviting former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to speak about leadership and peace just months after authorizing a brutal invasion of the Gaza Strip, it comes as no surprise that the administration at the University of Chicago welcomes Israeli ambassador Michael Oren with open hands.
At this university in particular, discourse concerning Israel’s occupation of Palestine is typically circumvented or distastefully kept under the radar. Instead, campus administrators feign objective neutrality and, for once afraid to challenge the status quo, make it a point to “show both sides” by presenting students with state-sponsored propaganda that virtually absolves Israel of any regional responsibility.
We saw this firsthand in October 2009 when the University invited Olmert to speak about moral leadership even though he faced indictments for criminal corruption charges. Asked about his idea of a lasting peace, he failed to mention that he had recently called for “disproportionate” assaults against the Palestinian people.
We saw this again earlier in the week when the University invited Oren to solicit American support in his campaign to whitewash Israel’s abuse of Palestinian rights.
Oren is currently on an extended tour of college campuses. His purpose at each campus is to draw parallel’s between U.S. democracy and Israel’s Jewish democracy and to stress the importance of the U.S. as a staunch ally and military financer. Organized by Israel’s Consulate General, his talks are blatant attempts to put Israel in a favorable light without ever considering its policies towards Palestinians under its occupation. [Read more...]