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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Phil Cogley, of the OSU Committee for Justice in Palestine, writes in the group’s first post-conference email:

First, a quick but very sincere thank you to all who attended the Third National Conference on the Palestine Solidarity Movement this weekend. The feedback we have received from attendees and organizers alike has been extremely positive, and it's exciting that we were able to provide a forum for the movement in these critical times. The dignity and resilience which were displayed by members of the PSM in the face of such absurd and cynical slander as we witnessed this weekend is something we can all take pride in.

I have a feeling Phil and the gang aren’t going to like the letter I’m working on to OSU President Holbrook, detailing my less than positive experience at the conference’s opening session. Absurd and cynical slander, indeed.

But it’s good to see that OSU CJP’s post-conference rhetoric is as breathless and hyperbolic as it was before the conference. This is predictable, as the OSU CJP had launched its first volleys of just this sort of gratuitous, frenzied rhetoric (which is typical for the group) several weeks ago. An email from Phil on September 10 gushed that the conference “has come under vicious attack by Zionist forces,” whatever that might mean. Oho, but “When Vicious Zionist Forces Attack” would be a great title for a television show, nu?! And, as always, notice the predictably shallow, derogatory use of the term “Zionist.”

The tone of self-importance and self-righteousness that the group’s occasionally jargon-heavy (“Zionists!”) email alerts contain often make me suspect that the group is filled with folks like this and this.

Anyway, the group’s post-conference discussion on what a farce and a failure, er, smashing success the “amazing weekend” of the conference was should be interesting. I wonder if the bogus Desmond Tutu quote on the conference's webpage will be mentioned, or the fact that, thanks in part to their conference, OSU issued a statement that the university will not be divesting from Israel or even considering it. Stay tuned, sports fans.

In related news, the OSU student paper had an editorial about the conference in Monday’s paper. Decent enough editorial, but they state, “OSU had more courage than Rutgers University which refused to hold the conference because Jewish leaders protested.”

Ahem. In fact, the conference was moved to OSU not because Rutgers refused to have it but because the PSM refused to have it there. Their decision to move the conference was in response to dissension within their own ranks, not because Rutgers refused to host them. The alternative conference to the OSU conference that was to be held at Rutgers was moved off-campus after Rutgers nixed it, but not in the face of protests from Jewish leaders but because the organizers were too incompetent to file their paperwork correctly or on-time. ‘Twas the fault of the Rutgers conference organizers, not Jewish leaders, so blame belongs with the former, not the latter.

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