Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Norway to Jews: You're Not Welcome Here

by Alan Dershowitz

Wall Street Journal

March 29, 2011

I recently completed a tour of Norwegian universities, where I spoke about international law as applied to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the tour nearly never happened.

Its sponsor, a Norwegian pro-Israel group, offered to have me lecture without any charge to the three major universities. Norwegian universities generally jump at any opportunity to invite lecturers from elsewhere. When my Harvard colleague Stephen Walt, co-author of The Israel Lobby, came to Norway, he was immediately invited to present a lecture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. Likewise with Ilan Pappe, a demonizer of Israel who teaches at Oxford.

My hosts expected, therefore, that their offer to have me present a different academic perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would be eagerly accepted. I have written half a dozen books on the subject presenting a centrist view in support of the two-state solution. But the universities refused.

The dean of the law faculty at Bergen University said he would be "honored" to have me present a lecture "on the O.J. Simpson case," as long as I was willing to promise not to mention Israel. An administrator at the Trondheim school said that Israel was too "controversial."

The University of Oslo simply said "no" without offering an excuse. That led one journalist to wonder whether the Norwegian universities believe that I am "not entirely house-trained."

Only once before have I been prevented from lecturing at universities in a country. The other country was Apartheid South Africa.