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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Monday, November 10, 2003

The Blue Octavo Notebooks has garnered its first (as far as I know) mention on the Internet, courtesy of Haggai and Meryl . Check out the secret Arafat telephone transcripts that have somehow ended up on Meryl’s blog. These are transcripts of conversations between Arafat and various leaders from spring 2002, when Israel was redecorating Arafat’s muqata compound, free of charge, during Operation: 5000 Killed in Jenin Alone, or whatever it was called. Also, be sure to read Haggai’s account of last year’s conference, which was held at the University of Michigan. Ohio State and Michigan, although rivals in just about everything else, have now each suffered the ignominy of seeing their respective campuses desecrated by the Palestine Solidarity Movement. I suspect the two universities will make a deal never to mention the other school’s conference, in the hope that everybody will forget the two embarrassing events ever happened. Sort of like the story of the two colleagues who bump into each other at the dirty bookstore: Each dreads that the other will tell people about it, but in fact both men are so mortified at having been seen in the smut shop that neither breathes a word of it, not even to each other. For UM and OSU, the second and third PSM conferences will become a shared but unmentionable mutual shame.

I had hoped to contribute an account of this year’s conference, as Haggai had done last year, but after the “Target: Yahoodi” incident Friday evening and then sitting through the ludicrous opening session, I felt dead towards the whole thing. In retrospect, though, I probably shouldn’t have gone in there alone. One of my friends warned me not to, and he was probably right. If the Yahoodi incident had been any worse or if I’d been more than verbally harassed, there probably wouldn’t have been anybody willing to corroborate my statements. Also, I shouldn’t have walked out of there by myself, either, as it would have been easy enough for Mr. Yahoodi-Yahoodi and his mates to follow and try to nonviolently beat the shit out of this kufr. Try, that is.

Another interesting aspect of the pseudo-conference’s webpage, in addition to the bogus Desmond Tutu “quote” discussed below, is that nowhere does the official website mention anything about making peace with Israel. Probably just an oversight, I’m sure, but considering that one of the conference’s guiding principles states, “As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation,” it’s probably not an especially accidental omission. Of course, they have no problem dictating what the university should do, what the United States should do, and what Israel should do. Go figure.

But now that the pathetic pseudo-conference is dead and done with, and the university's cleaning crews have almost finished airing out the moral stench it left behind in the union, it’s time to evaluate what happened and what didn’t happen. So: As a result of this farce of a conference, has the Palestine Solidarity Movement moved the Ohio State University even half a millimeter closer to divesting from Israel? Nope. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the university has announced that not only will it not divest but that it has no intention of even considering such a move.

Has the PSM weakened the local community’s support for Israel? Nope. Again, quite the opposite, in fact. For example, the local Jewish Community Center hosted a rally Sunday evening that was packed with people from throughout Columbus, as well as folks who felt compelled to come all the way from Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati, and elsewhere in Ohio, simply to show their support for Israel.

Did the PSM recruit any new members to its cause? Maybe, maybe not. They might have suckered in a few naïve undergraduates, but based on what I saw at the International Festival on Saturday and the JCC rally on Sunday, they also inspired a lot of people to oppose them and to support Israel. And the latter most certainly outnumber the former. Furthermore, the conference has energized pro-Israel supporters, both young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, not only in central Ohio but across the state and the country. As I mentioned once before, the PSM does such an effective job catalyzing and inspiring support for Israel you’d almost think they were Zionists.

Did the PSM garner lots of publicity for itself? Nope. There were a few comments on the local news and a couple brief stories in a few newspapers, but that’s about it. Last year’s conference received far more coverage.

Has the PSM further discredited itself and its cause? No! ‘Tis just a mere flesh wound, you coward! I'll bite your Zionist legs off!

Hmmm, I wonder which campus the conference is going to inflict itself upon next year. Originally, the 2004 conference was to be held at OSU, but when there wasn’t enough solidarity within the solidarity movement to hold this year’s conference at Rutgers as planned, they bumped up Ohio State’s turn. It’s doubtful they’d want to hold it at OSU again, seeing as how ineffective and completely counterproductive they were in Columbus and the rest of Ohio. The University of South Florida, in Tampa, is apparently being touted, and maybe not just because it’s the former digs of Sami Al-Arian. Al-Arian was the star of last year’s conference but is currently in federal lockdown, having been indicted on 50 counts of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, and providing financial support to terrorist groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad. I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned to learn who the unlucky loser, er, winner is who gets to host next year’s embarrassment. Yawn.

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