Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rise and Demise of Palestine

The University Channel Podcast (also known as UChannel) had an issue under the title The Rise and the Demise of the Palestinian Option. (site, download) Efraim Inbar, a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and the Director of its Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies spoke about historic development of the idea for a Palestinian state. How the idea came into existence, was rejected in various forms and has become unworkable.

During the British Mandate the idea of dividing the area between the Jordan and the see into a Jewish and an Arabic autonomy was proposed for the first time. It was rejected by the Arab community. By today, the idea of having two states, one Israel and one Palestine is still alive and many people in the world are awaiting it to become reality. In Inbar's mind this is currently an impossibility. He claims the Palestinians have no political infrastructure that could rule such a state. Palestine is a failed state before even coming into being.

One needs not to agree with Professor Inbar and still learn a lot from this talk. For example the analysis of the stages in the Arab-Zionist conflict from a community conflict to a conflict of states and back to a community conflict. It can also not be denied that there is little Palestine Authority to take control and this involves a serious problem for all doves who believe in a two-state solution. Inbar's proposal is not to engage in such high minded goals, but rather engage in 'conflict management'. Conflict Management, in my ears sounds not really like a solution, but rather a 'let's muddle along until the balances shift again,' which is more of the same, with the continuous suffering involved.

Other posts on Israel:
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,
5 Lessons for Peace,
The greatest threat to Zionism,
Israel, Iran and Terrorism,
The US and the New Middle East.

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Matthew Gabriele's history podcasts

I was drawn to the Podcasts on Medieval Texts, because of a number of titles in the list. Beowulf, Malleus Maleficarum, Bartolomeo de las Casas; these are three out of a series of twenty one. Some research shows that the same series is on iTunes U, Virginia Tech, under the title HUM 1214 - Spring 2008. This is the product of assistant professor Matthew Gabriele, coordinator of Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Virginia Tech.

The first impression is really good. We get a three to four minute introduction to the historical text and a couple of pointers how to read them. This is the kind of stuff I like. Obviously, this is the prologue of the course and an instruction for the students. The question is what we can do with it, us, the podcast listeners on the side-line.

We can only hope, there will be a follow-up where Gabriele is going to give some insight as to how he takes on the questions he shot at the students himself. If hie is going to do that, then this will be one of the best podcasts around. If not, it will be a genius standing on one leg, looking out of one eye and speaking with half a mind.

NB: One find leads to another. Virginia Tech offers also a podcast reflecting events on The Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the Department. Currently there is one lecture in the feed by Professor Joseph Miller about medieval and early modern Africa.

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