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Binghamton University Has Its Troubles, But...

Reader comment on item: Extremists on Campus

Submitted by Liz Cohen (United States), Jun 27, 2002 at 12:48

I am a student at Binghamton University and, in fact, served as Israel Action Committee Head for my Hillel and a Teaching Assistant for the class mentioned in this piece:

* SUNY-Binghamton: Robert Ostergard of the political-science department converted his course into an anti-Zionist platform. One guest speaker, Ali Mazrui, presented a lecture that a student called "a 45-minute diatribe against Israel" equating Zionism with fascism, Israel with apartheid South Africa and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with Hitler.

While the dual role I played was certainly conflicted and tough at times, I want to make clear that Professor Ostergard should not have his name stained in the way it was in this graph. He did not intentionally make, or "convert" his course into an anti-Zionist platform. Professor Mazrui, on the other hand, converted a lecture entitled "Israeli Militarization and Pax Americana: the Radicalization of Islam" into a disgusting, hateful lecture of rhetoric and lies about the State of Israel and Jews. Comments he made were arguably anti-Jewish and certainly not condusive to the subject at hand, which was terrorism.

There are a lot more details left out here for the sake of time and space, but I want to make sure that a witness of the class can speak on the subject.

Professor Ostergard was able to host a rep from the Israeli Consulate in NYC who spoke very well about Israel, and I'd like to add that I did try myself to get Mr. Pipes to speak at the class, among many other knowledgable and pro-Israel speakers, which Prof. Ostergard was open to.

In Prof. Ostergard's defense, he did make an effort to have his class be as informative and diverse as possible, with different opinions expressed. The Mazrui lecture, in my opinion, was an issue that Prof. Ostergard has told me he did not foresee. Whatever the case, I think the article on extremists on campus was too hard on Prof. Ostergard specifically, although right on target with the message it tried to portray about campus extremist problems, which i could tell tons of stories about.

I don't mind taking this oppurtunity to invite Mr. Pipes to the class (which I don't TA anymore) or the school in general, for Binghamton University can surely use that kind of expertise on Israel and the Middle East.

Thank you,

Liz Cohen
Binghamton University
Submitting....

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