Sunday, February 28, 2016

Professor Jasbir K. Puar Spreads "Blood Libel" Innuendo

By now, the controversy created by Prof Puar's appearance at Vassar on February 3, 2016, is well known.  In her talk, “Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters,” she promoted such distortions and falsehoods such as:
  • [There have been] “more than 120 deaths by field assassinations of young Palestinian men, largely between the ages of 12 to 16, by IDF soldiers… Some speculate that the bodies were mined for organs for scientific research.”

  • [Israelis seek] “…perfection of drone technology as a rationalization for the slaughter of Gazans…”
  • [Israel employs] “…maiming as a deliberate biopolitical tactic…in the occupation of Palestine…”
  • [Israel’s actions include] “…the policy of calorie restrictions, the bombing of numerous hospitals and a disability center, the destruction of the main electric power plant in Gaza, the flattening of homes, schools and mosques, and the targeting of youth and children, the likely use of white phosphorus…”
  • “…we need BDS as part of organized resistance and armed resistance in Palestine as well.”
  • “The Jewish Israeli population … need[s] the Palestinians alive in order to keep the kind of rationalization for their victimhood and their militarized economy.”
The lecture was publicized in advance, by Vassar, as follows:

This lecture theorizes oscillating relations between disciplinary, pre-emptive, and increasingly prehensive forms of power that shape human and non-human materialities in Palestine. Calculation, computing, informational technologies, surveillance, and militarization are all facets of prehensive control. Further, the saturation of spatial and temporal stratum in Palestine demonstrates the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a "remote control" occupation, one that produces a different version of Israeli "home invasions" through the maiming and stunting of population. If Gaza, for example, is indeed the world's largest "open air prison" and an experimental lab for Israeli military apparatuses, infrastructural chaos, and metric manipulation, what kinds of fantasies (about power, about bodies, about resistance, about politics) are driving this project?

Puar's remarks, above, were posted on Legal Insurrection, the blog maintained by Cornell Prof. William Jacobson and were quickly picked up by news outlets.  Vassar was inundated with criticism for allowing such egregious anti-Semitic clichés to be propounded without providing any substantial rebuttal. Critical editorials appeared in the Daily News, the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere.