Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Some Photos from Dennis Prager's Lecture

Dennis Prager's talk yesterday at Dwinelle proved to be a successful start to "Israel at 60 Week." Some 250 people, both students and community members, filled the lecture hall as Prager explained why American universities espouse hatred of Israel, when, by all logic, one would think they would support Israel.

According to Prager, people tend to divide the world into two types; for example, Prager himself has always perceived people to be either "just" or "unjust," and subsequently favors the "just" in any situation. University professors, however, generally seem to have a different classification system, that of the "strong/rich" versus the "weak/poor," and tend to favor the latter category, perceiving the underdog as more exciting and romantic. Up to 1967, Israel had been classified as the underdog and had a romantic image: a country founded as a product of draining swamps, making the desert bloom, escaping the Holocaust and immigrating to Israel on ships.

After 1967, however, when Israel captured the West Bank in a defensive military maneuver, all this changed. Israel came to be seen as "strong" and therefore "bad;" the negative image was only compounded in the eyes of the university as Israel's technological infrastructure improved and Israel started to look more like America, and therefore became boring and unworthy of support. Thus, while the university advocates values like tolerance, equality and compassion and should by all appearances support Israel for being a champion of these values, its tendency to eschew the "just/unjust" classification system has obscured its moral clarity.

May Israel stay strong, stay just, and may university professors realize that it is a society's practice of justice, rather than that society's military capability, socio-economic status, skin-color, or any other criterion, that determines whether that society is good. Stay tuned for other Tikvah events throughout the week.

No comments: