In the last couple of days, a bizarre episode has occurred where A/Prof Professor Jake Lynch from the Sydney Peace and Conflict institute, has written a letter to Sydney University trying to block/cancel a scientific Israel-Australia exchange due to happen at the University campus next Monday… particularly in case it would upset Muslim sensibilities …. hmm, neuroscience, water conservation, nutrition … I mean, really!
Quadrant has a good take on it here as part of a nod to the Global Animosity Club.
A Commentary magazine article says this: “University of Sydney scholars set to exchange ideas with visiting Israeli experts on neuroscience, tissue regeneration and other cutting-edge research areas are being warned the event will offend potential Muslim undergraduates. Associate Professor Jake Lynch, director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, has urged his colleagues to withdraw from the research gathering, and the university administration to cancel it. Dr. Lynch has been a strong supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign designed to isolate Israel. He says he has been asked to intervene by the Campaign for Justice and Peace in Palestine….He says most Muslim students live in the west and feel “a sense of resentment and alienation resulting from the predominance of pro-Israeli voices in Australia’s political and media discourses.” The poor dears. They feel “resentment and alienation” from “political and media discourses,” and because of that doctors aren’t allowed to make progress on curing brain diseases. Really, there’s nothing like having the director of a “Peace and Conflict Studies” program explain why the mere presence of Israelis at a scientific conference aimed at human betterment is an affront to Muslims. And to think, some people have suggested that anti-Israel viciousness in the Ivory Tower has allowed hatred to cloud clear thinking.”
To give credit where it is due, even Izzat Abdulhadi, head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, disagreed with Lynch’s attempt to sabotage the Scientific/educational exchange, (at the same time criticising the BDS aggressive moves against Max Brenner shops).
Professor Hearn, an organiser of the upcoming symposium, also pointed out the paradoxes of Lynch’s position, resulting in this delightful conclusion to the Australian article: “Professor Hearn provided The Australian with a letter he had written to participants in the forum, supporting their work. “The arguments used by Jake Lynch are, ironically, similar to the ones I have used to defend him and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies when they have been criticised for their own choices,” he wrote. “I will be speaking with Jake shortly about his similar respect for colleagues and a balanced approach.” Dr Lynch declined to comment.”
Elsewhere, Professor Graeber wrote that the conference should go ahead, stating “Academics must not be held hostage by ideologies.”
… Meanwhile, hopefully all this adverse publicity doesn’t have a negative effect on the credibility of the upcoming Lynch / Rees peace prize ceremony; .. now wouldn’t that be a shame!