Professor Julio Pino’s “Death to Israel” shout: Why Israel Must Confront Its Past

Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: Israel, Gaza, Julio Pino, Kent State



Walter L. Hixson, distinguished professor of history at the University of Akron, specializes in the history of U.S. foreign policy.

Professor Julio Pino’s “Death to Israel” shout at the recent public forum at Kent State University is unfortunate on a number of levels. The comment was foolish but moreover it was also unhelpful to the cause in which Pino believes so fervently, the plight of Palestinians.

Pino succeeded only in generating a pro-Israeli backlash as well as assaults on academic freedom and indefinite tenure (which the Beacon Journal persists in crudely referencing as “virtual lifetime employment.”)

Lost in all this is that Pino’s ill-considered comment came as he walked out of a forum sponsored by an Israeli “advocacy” organization currently involved in a campaign to create “pro-Israel student organizations on college campuses across the country . . . in response to biased activity against the Jewish state.”

Shifting the focus from the professor to the organization — the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America — offers the opportunity to consider the actual issues involved in what should have been an orderly intellectual exchange on a university campus.

The so-called “Arab-Israeli conflict” is complex and too easily reduced by groups such as CAMERA to being either “for” or “against” Israel. Actually tens of thousands of Israelis in groups such as Peace Now criticize their country’s treatment of Palestinians while tens of thousands of Palestinians routinely live and work in Israel....




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