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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.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Following are a few comments regarding my experience at the first night of the 2003 National Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement, currently being held at the student union of the Ohio State University. For those not familiar with this group, I'll reprint an email I sent two weeks ago to some friends. In the email, I point out just one one example of the sorts of intellectual dishonesty, twisted convolutions of pseudo-rhetoric, and half-baked, witless propaganda that the solidarity movement specializes in. Here's the email:

Hey, folks. Since the OSU CJP is planning on making a stink of sorts over silly and refuted charges that Alan Dershowitz plagiarized large sections of his book “The Case for Israel,” I thought you might like to see an example of how CJP and their cohorts do business in regards to intellectual matters.

On the website (www.Palestineconference.com) for their upcoming conference at OSU, they display the following statement, attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

"I've been very distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us blacks in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about...The current divestment effort is the first, though certainly not the only, necessary move in that direction."

This is a nice, flashy quote (albeit self-contradictory, if you look at it closely), and the conference organizers get a lot of mileage out of it by including it atop almost section of their website.

Only problem is, Tutu never made this statement.

It’s a “forged” quotation, in both senses of the word, both fake and welded together from separate parts. The first part of the constructed quotation comes from a speech given by Tutu in Boston on April 13, 2002. This was a speech in which Tutu carped about that classic object of paranoia, “the Jewish lobby,” an ugly euphemism at best that Tutu managed to make even uglier by absurdly comparing it to Hitler and Stalin. It was hardly Tutu’s finest moment, to say the least, but such concerns are of little interest when it comes to stigmatizing Israel, even when such efforts mean further misrepresenting Tutu’s own poorly chosen words.

The latter part of the constructed quotation (…after the tell-tale ellipsis) comes not from the same speech or any other speech but from an essay Tutu later co-authored (with Ian Urbina), from June 2, 2002, over seven weeks after he'd made the above comments in Boston.

Basically, what they’ve done is taken two Tutu quotations—two sentences from a speech by Tutu, and one sentence from an essay co-authored by Tutu and someone else—and slyly merged them so that the disparate sentences, taken from two completely different sources, appear--voila!--as a single quotation. Nice try. This is rhetorical quackery and intellectual dishonesty, pure and simple, yet this “quotation” is featured throughout the website for the Palestine Solidarity Movement’s conference. To say the least, this sort of Orwellian subterfuge disqualifies them from flinging reckless and false accusations of academic misconduct at other people. Yet nonetheless they plan to falsely charge a guest of the university with the sort of pseudo-scholarship they themselves openly practice. It’s almost funny, but so it goes….

That's the email. As you can see, they've still got the bogus quote plastered all over their webpage. Because of Orwellian garbage like this, I've learned that whenever Solidarity people and their ilk retch up this sort of quotation it's best to check it against the original, because invariably the original quote offers a different context, to say the least. This forged quote is but one example of how these folks do business, but in a nutshell, that's the solidarity movement for you.

Here's my first update on the conference:

I attended the "Towards A Global Intifada" panel session on Friday evening, and it looks like the conference is shaping up to be a colossal bomb. The session was supposed to begin at 6pm, but didn’t start until around 7:15pm. I guess keeping solidarity with a published schedule is too much for them. Anyway, I would estimate that maybe 200 people showed up, 250 max. Quite frankly, that’s pathetic. Last week, in the same building, Alan Dershowitz drew over 1200, and people had to pay to see him, whereas tonight’s session was free. On a campus with over 50,000 students, in a city with a population of over 700,000, on a perfectly clear night (a little chilly, but it's November) that sort of turnout for an event that’s been hyped and hyped and hyped for months in media outlets throughout the world is just… sad.

Towards the end of the discussion, one of the audience members directed a question to the rest of the audience. “How many of you here tonight,” he asked excitedly, “will go to your city councils and DEMAND they pass resolutions calling for divestment from Israel?!”

A few hands slowly raised, and he counted them off.

“ONE, TWO….three…uh...four, five…uh…six…seven…”

Touchdown! Go Bucks!

Yessirree, that divestment campaign is really rolling… talk about a groundswell of support. Global Intifada: Not Coming To A Globe Near You Anytime Soon.

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