Teach-In

Berkeley Teach-In Against the War -> A group of Berkeley faculty, speaking on the Lebanon war. Their site links to videos and audio of the teaching, hosted on Google Video.

Part I – Introduction, Saba Mahmood, Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Part II – Charles Hirschkind, Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
Part III – Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley
Part IV – Zeina Zaatari, Program Officer for the Middle East and North Africa, The Global Fund for Women
Part V – Beshara Doumani, Professor of History, UC Berkeley
Part VI – Question and Answer Session

Excerpts from some of the speeches:

Judith Butler:

To make a set of events thinkable is not the same as taking a strong, normative POV on those events. The way in which we frame these events is inevitably normative.

On the normative view of the conflict, which is that of a single conflict between two entities in which Israel is entitled to protect its borders:

To understand why this crystallization of events is misleading, one would have to offer a history of that northern border, ascertain whether that border was crossed time and again by Israeli soldiers, whether that border is and continues to be part of disputed territory.

There are reports that claim that Israel had crossed the border first, and that it crossed that border several times. If this proves true, and several sources suggest it is, then it follows that Israel understood the abrogation of sovereign borders as justified through recourse to a notion of self defense. But when we ask where the justification of self defense begins and ends, we note that it has no beginning and it has no end. It is, we might say, a permanent justificatory basis on which the encroachment and violation of borders takes place on the part of the Israeli Defense Force all the time.

On Israel’s invocation of UN Security Council resolution 1559, which called for Hezbollah’s disarmament and the establishment of Lebanon’s territorial and political independence as justification for its actions:

So the resolution was abrogated from [Israel’s side] as well. How then do we understand the Israeli invocation of Resolution 1559 as a justification for its military actions? Do we infer, perhaps, the Israel honors UN resolutions and was simply seeking to bring Hezbollah and Lebanon in line with UN resolutions and the international rule of law?

These UN resolutions have always been opposed by Israel. Israel has always refused to honor them. So what are we to make of the sudden citation of UN resolutions and their self-appointed task of making sure such resolutions are effectively enforced?

Beshara Doumani in response to why they can’t all just get along:

What we’re involved in is a decades-long process of the dispossession of one people by another. And that process not only has not ended, but it is intensifying. That is to say, they can’t get along not because they are two neighbors with a line down a lawn, separating the property of one from the other, and they get into these irrational feuds like the Hatfields and the Macoys. Rather, imagine somebody coming into your house, stuffing all your family in the bathroom, and then reducing the size of the bathroom inch by inch over a 34 year period. And meanwhile, calling you the terrorist for resisting the occupation. That is what is going on in Palestine today.

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