Howard Levy’s essay has some thoughtful moments, but he quickly devolves into the standard tropes engineered generations ago to stifle criticism of Israel (accusations of antisemitism, the bizarre notion that Israel is being singled out for special condemnation, the self-serving charge that such protests are counterproductive, etc.). He seems to altogether miss the point of such protests. They are political theater, not policy papers, and their purpose is to act as the conscience of a nation and a university that unabashedly contribute to what I view as the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s indigenous population. (Imagine the shame of a college campus where nobody raised a peep about 36,000 civilians killed with our weapons and our blessings.) 

He rightly laments that none of the protesters engaged him to get his perspective on things. Did he consider that perhaps he might have something to learn from the protesters? He could have learned, for instance, what chants such as “from the river to the sea” mean to them, rather than assuming the worst.  He could have learned why collective punishment, starvation as a weapon of war, torture and indefinite detention, the targeting of journalists and doctors, etc., have so upset this generation of students. Though why that wouldn’t already be obvious to him is a bit puzzling.

Ramsay Harik ’85
Bloomington, Ind.