08 October 2007

08 October 2007 - Israel/Palestine: Week 4

I have to apologize to the regular readers of this blog—yes, both of you—for being rather delinquent in recent days. The Jewish holidays, fall travel, and a slew of work and extracurricular commitments kept me quite busy. Right now I’m even busier, but I’m hoping to keep updating the blog on a more or less regular basis, and daily if possible. There certainly is a lot going on in the Middle East at the moment.

For now, back to Harvard, where last week our seminar was treated to a guest appearance by Yishai Blank, author of “Brown in Jerusalem: A Comparative Look on Race and Ethnicity in Public Schools,” 38 Urb. Law. 367 (2006). The article comparing persistent racial segregation in American schools to so-called segregation between Jewish and Arab students, and how it is dealt with in Israeli courts.

Like many of the other authors we have considered, Blank does not show actual evidence of discriminatory rulings in Israeli courts but merely a critique of the courts’ liberal judicial philosophy, which in his view is not activist enough. This, in my view, is question-begging. Blank is also an avowed Marxist for whom the questions of quality and choice in education evidently do not figure too highly.

The tired tactic that Blank and others use is to abstract a term like “segregation” from its actual definition and apply it to a completely different situation, distorting or ignoring the facts in to make the analogy fit. It’s stupid and boring and it doesn’t have anything to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in any case, except for those who will find any reason to attack Israel and encourage others to do the same.

I’m sick of it, and there’s not much more I wish to say about it at the moment.

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