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Tel Aviv University
Ex-TAU Literature Dept., Yitzhak Laor in: "counter-celebration of Israel's 60th anniversary"


   Since it is now a core belief of academic "progressives" that Israel is the
world's most wicked country, responsible for all the globe's miseries except
(perhaps) avian flu, it's hardly surprising that the very day of that country's
sixtieth birthday should, in an act of depraved malevolence, have been marked
at UW by the appearance, courtesy of the Simpson Center and the Graduate
School, of two Israel-hating lecturers. We were treated to both Norman
Finkelstein, the failed academic and beloved dream-Jew of all the world's
antisemites, and Yitzhak Laor, a second-tier poet who specializes in depicting
Israel as the devil's experiment station.
    Laor delivered the (once prestigious) John Danz Lecture.
A few people at UW may remember that the Danz lectures were founded to deal
with "the role of science in  society and in understanding a rational
Since the UW Graduate School long ago decided to disregard the intentions of
the Danz family and bring an endless parade of distinctly non-scientific but
very leftist lecturers--Edward Said, Angela Davis, Naomi Wolf--the appearance
of Yitzhak Laor, who is less a scientist than any twelve-year old with a
chemistry set, is also unsurprising.
    But Laor's appearance raises another question. Since UW president Mark
Emmert last year issued a ringing denunciation of the Nazi-style movement to
boycott Israeli universities and scholars, how is it that the Graduate School
(at the urging of the departments of Comparative Literature, English, and Near
Eastern Languages) brings to campus, and at considerable expense, one of the
promoters of that boycott?
    President Emmert showed a clear understanding that the boycott of Israel is
antisemitic because it uses a double standard: if one thinks
that Israeli policies toward Palestinian Arabs are objectionable, are they
really worse than Russian actions in Chechnya, Chinese actions toward Tibetans,
Turkish actions toward the Kurds?
But where are the boycotts of Russia, China, and Turkey?
What President Emmert needs to do is require the Graduate School (also the
Simpson Center, etc.) to boycott the boycotters.
Words of condemnation are not enough.
If boycotters of Israel are not given a taste of their own medicine, the highly
organized international assault on Israel, in which Laor and Finkelstein are
devoted functionaries, will grow by the weakness it feeds on.

                         Edward Alexander
                         UW professor emeritus of English
                         tel. 206-524-7086

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