Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Makes Sense To Me

In a short piece on Chelsea Clinton's new relatives*, they do a short blurb on her fiance's uncle:
Mezvinsky recently retired from Central Connecticut State University's history department, where he taught for four decades. In his academic work and in books he authored, Mezvinsky accused Israel of deliberately creating the Palestinian refugee problem. He supports a one-state solution for the regional conflict.

"He uses his Jewish background to attack Israel; he represents the left of left among intellectual scholars," said Asaf Romirowsky, adjunct scholar at Campus Watch, an organization that monitors academics dealing with the Middle East and Israel.

I'll resist the "crazy uncle" jokes. Actually, it was the next passage that made me smile:
But David Gerwin, a professor of social studies at Queens College who worked with Mezvinsky at CCSU, paints a more nuanced picture.

"He is driven, passionate and inspired, a force of nature," he said of Mezvinsky, with whom he shared an office on campus. While agreeing that Mezvinsky's views on Israel were "left of the left of the left," Gerwin said that on issues relating to immigration or affirmative action, his approach was "way to the right."

Unsurprisingly, I see no tension whatsoever in hostility towards Israel as a Jewish state, and hostility to liberal programs on affirmative action or immigration. Much the opposite -- I think they're cut from the same cloth (I'd be interested to know whether Mr. Mezvinsky considers them as flowing from the same base principles, however).

* I want to clarify that I don't think that Ms. Clinton's new in-laws have or should have any reflection on her, or the man she's marrying. This post is only about the perceived disjuncture between being anti-Zionist and anti-affirmative action/immigration -- a position I, as noted, don't find disjoined at all.


joe said...

At heart, what is the common thread between Zionism and affirmative action for you? That they both are beneficial to minority groups? Okay, I can't argue with that.

But I can also think of a pretty big divide. Affirmative action and liberal immigration policies are integrationist (we might even say inclusive, but AA implies someone else got excluded, so let's stick with integration for now). Integration is quite apart from your dreaded sameness label. Israel's identity as a Jewish state depends on separation (and definitely on exclusion). The affirmative action analogue to a Jewish State would be a Jewish firm or law school (and antisemites would have a field day).

David Schraub said...

They assist minority groups in ways beyond a strict "color-blind" (ethnic-blind, religion-blind) regime.