Thursday, June 15, 2006

In Context (better late than never)

Submitted by Eitan Altshuler

The Finkelstein gathering/protest was a different kind of night for me. Usually in Santa Cruz, Israel advocates have to take the position of un-PC, conservative, war-mongering assholes - well at least from the other side's point of view. However, the night Finkelstein came into town it felt that the pro-Israel contingent had gained the liberal, 'I'm going to patronize your guilty conscious' upper-hand. Our message was simple enough for any idiot to understand. Finkelstein speaks hate, and therefore doesn't belong here. We didn't care that that his facts were wrong or his historical perspective lacked integrity - No, we were sending a message that Finkelstein shouldn't be here because he says bad things about people. He's just not a nice guy!

It's not that I agree with that approach. It's just that, unfortunately, I think, it works to a large extent in Santa Cruz, where people think more with their hearts than with their minds. So, usually when I advocate publicly for Israel, I feel very self-conscious and am always questioning my beliefs as to whether I'm doing the right thing; that night, however, I didn't have to. At that time, I was for "liberal" values, for being nice guys, trusting and loving your fellow human beings, and not spreading hatred towards a certain group.

Do I know if it worked? How am I supposed to know? I don't know if I have expressed myself too well here, but I think many of you know what I am trying to convey. My frustration is with the simple-mindedness of the people in this town - how you have to always appeal to their hearts instead of their minds. Holding candles, sticking up morally, self-righteous noses, and giving them a good ol' fashion Santa Cruz, liberal guilt trip is, unfortunately, much more effective than just giving them the facts and letting them make their own decisions.

I think intellectual individuality is dying in this town!


Anonymous taltman said...

[sigh] I wish that it was only on your campus, but alas it is like that all over. I definitely experienced these feelings at Berkeley. I hated that it mattered to students more who was saying something, rather than what they were saying. If you're not endorsed by established liberal groups/institutions, then you are automatically suspect.

Wed Jun 21, 03:03:00 PM 2006  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home