By Ofer Neiman.
Today I read the following article by University of California-Irvine professor Marc LeVine, about the events surrounding Michael Oren’s speech there two weeks ago, which you can watch here.
Here’s a key quote from LeVine :
“Ambassador Oren’s appearance at UCI was part of an extremely sophisticated, well funded and self-described “propaganda” campaign–known by the Hebrew term “hasbara”–directed by the Israeli government and major American Jewish organizations with the goal of presenting Israel in the most positive light possible on campus.”
Perhaps one should compare Oren’s UCI speech to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech at Columbia University in September 2007. What a difference!
Unlike the gooey introduction of Oren as “a man that I have great respect for” by some UCI sycophant (a local Hillel functionary?), the Iranian president was given a grilling introduction by Colombia Univesity’s President Lee Bollinger. It must have felt felt as if the enemy was in the house. With such comments (most of them poignant), there is no need for progressive heckling by members of the audience, and I am sure that most Only Democracy readers agree there are plenty of abominable human rights violations taking place in Iran.
What else can we say? Well, kudos to the protesting UCI students, let us support them if the authorities try to punish them, and let us hope that more and more diverse groups of protesters will face Michael Oren (or one of his clones) during Hasbara events sponsored by American universities. Kahanist / Jewish Defense League activists will probably be there too…