And Torbjørn Digernes, rector of NTNU
thought he’d have a little lecture series on Israel
It’s great to see that there are many fair minded people, willing to spend some time and let the NTNU rector know that inviting known anti-Israel bashers a forum to lecture on Israel, is a very bad idea. The six part seminar was slapped together not to enlighten, but to dust off old Arab/Leftist talking points on how evil the Jewish state of Israel is.
This wasn’t an academic excersize designed by NTNU to help widen and sharpen the debate with its students and faculty, but to present a radical and one sided presentation of the conflict between the Arabs and Israel. There is nothing wrong with the rector, Torbjørn Digernes, inviting some speakers who are critical of Israel to speak, but it should be balanced critics along with other academics who take a different approach to the dynamics of the conflict. Digernes failed to do that, intentionally, and that’s what is being objected to.
This is not about trying to control the debate on the conflict between the Arabs and Israel, but trying to avoid just that, by demanding actual diversity within the debate in order for people to be better informed and challenged. That’s something a learning institution should not have to be reminded about. KGS
As a former staff member of the largest Jewish defense organization in the world, the Anti-Defamation League, I have often wondered why Norway, of all places, seems to posses such a seemingly visceral antipathy towards Jews and Israel. Never has an extreme anti-Israeli lecture series at any western university actually been officially endorsed by its rector, as has happened recently at NTNU.
Never has the head of a democratic state given its country’s highest award to a graphic artist who depicted an Israeli prime minister as a Nazi, as was done by King Harald V when he made Finn Graff a knight in the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.
Only one minister of a western country participated in an anti-Israeli demonstration during the Gaza war and that was Kristen Halvorsen, Norway’s Minister of Finance. (At that demonstration there were horrible shouts of “Death to the Jews.”)
I could go on with many more examples. Perhaps NTNU should consider cancelling the lecture series on the Middle East and start one which explores how Norway has devolved to the point where the most profound hatred towards the democratic Jewish state is echoed at the highest levels of government and institutions of higher learning.