"What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas"
NRO's Corner has an interesting story.
Yesterday, the University of Delaware asked Asaf Romirowsky to step down from an academic panel at the University of Delaware because another panelist, University of Delaware political scientist Muqtedar Khan, didn't want to share the podium with anyone who served in the Israeli Defense Forces. Romirowsky, who holds joint American/Israeli citizenship and lives in Philadelphia, had been invited to join Khan, his colleague in political science, Stuart Kaufman, a staff member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and a graduate student to discuss anti-Americanism in the Middle East.
Khan is a a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Pentagon consultant. According to an e-mail he sent to the University, he gave a workshop at the Pentagon yesterday afternoon.
Laura, I have to speak at the Pentagon tomorrow. My workshop is from 12-4. I hope to catch the 5 pm Acela from DC and will be back in town by 7 pm. I will come directly, but may be late. I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank. Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to spring this surprise on me at the last moment.
One of the stock lines that used to be heard in old movies (before the idea of melting pot becoming politically incorrect) was about attitudes that were left behind in the "old country". There are large numbers of Australians of Greek and Turkish origin, but fortunately nearly all of them have left their enmities back in the "old country". You could refuse to share the stage with someone because he had bad breath, owed you money or was a blackguard; but it would be bad form to shun a fellow Australian simply because he was born a Turk or a Greek.
Muqtedar Khan is not even a Palestinian. He is listed as hailing from Hyderabad, India. But at any rate, that's the Old Country. In America -- in the new country -- people are supposed to speak to one another unless they're recently divorced, owe each other money or have some specific reason for avoidance. It's not the done thing to refuse to speak to someone because of his national origin. Because military service is mandatory in Israel, a refusal to speak to someone who has served in the IDF is pretty close to a refusal to speak to any male from Israel.
On this site I've been continuously opposed the collective punishment of groups; opposed the idea of deporting Muslims or Arabs; or otherwise punishing people simply for belonging to an ethnic or national group without regard to their invididual culpability. Are Israelis to be treated differently? If Muqtedar Khan believes he can righteously refuse to sit down with an American of Israeli origin in America, what will he say if he is refused service in a restaurant simply because he is from Hyderabad, India? I should think he would be well within his rights to be angry. Or am I missing something?