This is Happening

UCLA Teach In No. 1, YouTube

“The Disastrous relationship Among Israel, Palestinians and the U.N.”
The Ezra Klein Show, The New York Times podcast, May 17, 2024

The legal scholar Aslı Ü. Bâli traces the history of international law and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kelley, Robin D. G. “UCLA’s Unholy Alliance.” Boston Review, May 18, 2024.

Chancellor Block represents the status quo in U.S. higher education, which not only has a record of stifling criticism of Israel and initiatives in support of Palestinian freedom but is also heavily invested in firms with ties to Israel and weapons manufacturers fueling the ongoing war in Gaza. The rise of the Palestine solidarity encampments, a UC-wide graduate workers strike, and the proliferation of acts of civil disobedience led by organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now are proof that the status quo is no longer tenable. But rather than reinvent higher education—modeled for us by the encampments as a free space of deep learning, dissent, and experimentation, divested of all ties to militarism and state violence and genocide—our universities are becoming police states. Policing is not just armed uniformed officers. Policing entails monitoring our communications and classrooms, doxxing, intimidation, curtailing academic freedom, maintaining the Palestine exception, and refusing to grant amnesty for those arrested for trying to stop a genocide. Chancellor Block’s right-wing inquisitors encourage the repressive turn; they want to lock up our students, crush dissent, and replace the university with fortresses of “patriotic” Christian education.

But our students did not pitch tents and risk arrest to save the university; they’re trying to save lives. Their eyes are trained of the people of Palestine, on the rubble where universities and schools and libraries and homes once stood, on the young people who continue to believe liberation is possible. Our students refuse to be complicit with their own universities in the unimaginable death and destruction occurring in Gaza right now. They have challenged all of us in the academy to ask the question Noam Chomsky posed in 1967 in the face of America’s war on Vietnam: “As for those of us who stood by in silence and apathy as this catastrophe slowly took shape over the past dozen years—on what page of history do we find our proper place?”

Makdisi, Saree. “For Whom Is Campus to Be Safe?” Los Angeles Review of Books, May 10, 2024.

The barricades going up at desolated campuses across the land—from UCLA to Columbia—are a warning of what the future holds unless we act now to reclaim our universities from the carceral and militarized police systems that seem to be overtaking them before our very eyes. Our administrations have betrayed the principles of academic freedom that should guide our institutions. The police have to go and the role of faculty in university governance must be restored. Above all, our students should be free to express themselves intellectually, academically, culturally, aesthetically—and politically.

Nersessian, Anahid. “Under the Jumbotron.” London Review of Books blog, May 6, 2024.

The students, as they will tell you, are there for Gaza, where 90 per cent of schools, and all universities, have been destroyed. The university, meanwhile, is forced to confront the moral vacuity of its policies, which have in the end protected no one except extremists willing to join forces with neo-Nazis to safeguard Israel from criticism. It has no principles and no plan; it has ceded its authority to the mob. The students, along with the staff who have supported their cause, are now in a position to direct the future of an institution whose stewards have abandoned it.