Brooklyn College's Academic Affront to Israel Continues

by BRUCE KESLER May 3, 2011
The appointment at Brooklyn College of an adjunct, Kristofer Petersen, to teach Middle East politics in the Political Science department was defended as academic freedom. This was despite his involvement in touting Gazans as virtual lambs and Israel as a beast, and his heavily slanted reading list.
He continues. In brief, Petersen tells us, Israel is limited to some degree in its oppression but it is “beyond the threshold of atrocity,” and Israel’s oppression of Gazans is largely to maintain its own false identity “myth”, to create cohesion within Israel by creating and demonizing an “Other.”
Is anyone in Brooklyn College’s administration seeing, and is the Political Science department embarrassed? We’ll see, if he is re-appointed.
Kristofer Petersen’s latest is his posted draft of a paper he is to deliver at the  American Political Science Association. Petersen asks that his draft not be quoted or cited without his permission. Sorry, Kris, but you posted it and there is a legal concept called “fair use.”
Wrapped in a discussion of two radicals' views of nationalism, Petersen’s piece titled “Beyond The Threshold Of Atrocity: Nationalism, Biopower and Israel’s Occupation of Gaza” offers us this:
While one may desire the Other’s total annihilation, it is impossible to do precisely because the Other helps the nation to imagine itself. The Other tells juridical society in part who they are as a group, as a nation, as an idea – but only insofar as they are permitted to exist as an idealized object of hatred.
For late-modern society to derive any value at all from racial oppression, its enemies must be brought to a condition as close to total eradication as possible – without either crossing into conventional genocide or manufacturing suffering in such a way as to contradict myths of the national self-image.
Israel needs Hamas and Gaza to justify its existence!
In his other utterances, Petersen does not support terrorist acts by Hamas. But, Peterson does defend the Gazans who perform them. Rather a thin veil for, in effect, supporting terrorist acts. I’ve read almost all I can – or can stand -- of Petersen’s comments and writings I could find online, and nary a critique of Gazans. Rather he concentrates his focus on single-minded attacks upon Israel.
Israel did not create an “Other” nor does Israel oppress Gazans to serve its racist, colonialist needs.
Let’s see, now, according to the Red Cross Deputy Director in Gaza, last month,
there "is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza," adding: "If you go to the supermarket, there are products. There are restaurants and a nice beach."
Brooklyn College, indeed any even semi-credible academic, should recognize that Kristofer Petersen represents the rot within that must be reversed if academia is to retain any self-respect or respect from society or taxpayers. Contributing Editor Bruce Kesler served in USMC Intelligence in Vietnam and was a researcher at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He worked as a financial and business operations exec for Fortune 100 and small companies, and for the past two decades as an independent certified health and benefits consultant and broker. His columns have appeared in many major newspapers.  He currently blogs at Maggie’s Farm.

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