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18 Colonel Richard Kemp at the University of Sydney, Australia, March 11, 2015 Jan Poddebsky, Peter Keeda, and Clive Kessler Jan Poddebsky et al. tell of another hostile disruption where the victims also got portrayed as the aggressors and vice versa, this time in Australia. British colonel Richard Kemp, a well-known military expert and advocate of Israel, was speaking at the University of Sydney when protesters stormed the room, shouting nasty accusations through megaphones and taking over the floor. In the melee that followed, Poddebsky and Peter Keeda, mature-age audience members, confronted the invaders, standing up to them or, in Poddebsky’s case, mocking them. In response, the university brought in a legal firm to investigate and initiate disciplinary measures, not for the invaders but Poddebsky and Keeda. Their narration, supplemented with Clive Kessler’s analysis, exposes the hypocritical way that politically correct university culture fails to protect the basic rights of Jewish and pro-Israel students, faculty, and staff. Part I Jan Poddebsky I am a mature-age doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney. I attended a lecture by Colonel Richard Kemp at the university on March 11, 2015. Kemp was described on the poster as “perhaps the United Kingdom’s most highly respected analyst and commentator on the rules of war and the Middle East conflict.” The title of his talk was “Ethical Dilemmas of Military Tactics in Relation to Recent Conflicts in the Middle East: Dealing with Non-State Armed Groups.” Five weeks later, the vice chancellor of the university would respond to the widespread criticism of the orchestrated disruption of Kemp’s lecture by publicly emphasizing “the importance of our commitment to academic freedom, the freedom of speech, and the right to protest.”1 254 | Jan Poddebsky, Peter Keeda, and Clive Kessler Preamble The Kemp lecture was a public lecture held at lunchtime, and anyone could attend. Given the Charlie Hebdo massacre just two months earlier and the Paris massacre just eight months later, Kemp’s topic was as relevant then as it is now. I catch myself reflecting on how everyone pays attention to those killings but not so much to the killings in the Parisian delicatessen, the murders of a rabbi and his family in a Jewish center in Mumbai, and the ongoing killings of Israelis by car-rammings and knife attacks. A large banner greeted those arriving to the lecture. Held up by three individuals , it read, “Cut Ties With Israeli Apartheid” across the top, centered over adjacent blocks of print reading, “Sydney Uni Staff For BDS” and “Boycott, Divest, Sanction.” As I arrived, I realized that one of the people holding the banner was Professor Jake Lynch, director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS). According to the university provost, Professor Stephen Garton, CPACS is the home of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel on our campus. According to Lynch, he and CPACS are supporters of this policy. I became familiar with the building that houses CPACS when I attended lectures there several years ago. One of the staff had a map on his wall of “Greater Palestine,” a Palestinian state without Israel. For just a bit more background, CPACS conducts a course in peace journalism where students learn to pirouette the news. Lynch himself has a background in journalism. One of the lecturers at a conference on peace journalism at CPACS in 2012 was Professor Wendy Bacon, who is a contributing editor to the left-wing journal New Matilda. In March 2015, New Matilda published a lengthy apologia for the disruption by Dr. Nick Riemer, a senior lecturer in English at Sydney, responding to the Kemp affair.2 Riemer argues that disruption is not only desirable but a moral imperative to be used selectively. I do not know if he likes having his life disrupted. We were also greeted by pamphlets as we arrived, courtesy of the Sydney Staff for BDS. One of these expressed demands for legal equality and human rights for Arabs in Israel. I looked for equivalent demands for legal equality, freedom of speech, and human rights for women, homosexual persons, non-Muslims, and persons with varied political and religious affiliations within Gaza (governed by the genocidal Islamist organization Hamas) or within the territories administered by the Palestinian Authority, but there were none. Apparently, struggling for the rights of these folks does not rate according to the proponents of BDS. They have different priorities. Another pamphlet at the entrance described...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253034083
MARC Record
OCLC
1019844795
Pages
456
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-05
Language
English
Open Access
No
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