Brandeis to the West Bank, Yalies want to end the special relationship

And now about Brandeis, a great school with a truly mysterious motto.

When the world as we know it nearly collapsed when Palestine: Peace not Apartheid author Jimmy Carter (he had some other job too, but can’t quite remember… oh, it doesn’t matter anyway) spoke at Brandeis in ’07, a strange thing happened. Students there gave him a standing ovation. In turn, he challenged them to go to the West Bank to see and judge for themselves. What a novel idea. Something, oh, just a handful of our elected officials might try considering. It’s like checking on your investments.

A number of students, occupying various points on the political continuum, took Carter up on his challenge. The result, now available, makes for captivating reading.

Imagine that– human beings openly grappling with difficult moral, political and cultural/religious questions. How refreshing.

Phil Weiss doesn’t have to imagine. He just got back from Yale where he says (unintentionally patronizingly- Phil you can do better!) that “our children are ahead of us.” He means all-grown-up Yale students who invited John Mearsheimer to debate the merits of the “special relationship” between Israel and the US. In fact, the Union voted to end it, the relationship that is, 44 -25.

Weiss delightedly observed that

… the invitation to Mearsheimer came from a Yale Political Union exec named Laura Marcus, who has hopes of going to rabbinical school and who disagreed with many things he said but had the grace and self-possession to withstand his words somehow when so many of her elders cannot. That the argument rarely mentioned the factor I just did, religion. That there was no rancor or name-calling, over several hours, with fabulous speeches from Conservative Michael Pomeranz (against Mearsheimer), the Party of the Right’s Will Wilson for Mearsheimer, and my fave, Brit ringer Joyce Arnold of the Independent Party thundering that the U.S. had lost its ability to press Arab countries about women’s freedoms because our relationship with them is so “poisoned” by the special U.S.-Israel one. That no one ran out of the hall yelling about pogroms….

I don’t have video of the debate, but hope this entertaining moment from the archives between Abe Foxman and Mearsheimer on PBS Newshour might suffice.

The News Hour – AIPAC Debate – Part 1

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