The University of Johannesburg (UJ), previously known as RAU, was formerly an apolitical (at least with respect to certain issues such as the Middle East) with a low tolerance for political activity as recent images of water cannons dispersing SASCO riots shows. However the pro-Palestinian agenda is ever increasingly creeping into the periphery of the academic institution. This is due mostly to a number of academics who have ruthlessly abused their position in order to espouse a completely one-sided view of the conflict.
Recently, the UJ religious studies department hosted Yakov Rapkin, a rabid anti-Zionist. Currently the Afro-Middle East Centre and the Centre for the Study of Democracy are planning to host, on Friday the 16th of April:
- Ali Abunimah on One country - the path to peace in the Middle East, and
- Oren Yiftachel on Ethnocracy, land and identity in Israel/Palestine
Their agenda of a one state solution is evident and they are bound to promote the Israeli/apartheid comparison. We have yet to see whether these institutions would be willing to host other opposing viewpoints.
It is an extreme shame that Middle East politics have come to UJ. At Wits University, the Palestinian cause is promoted above all others; at times the conflict can create a climate of fear and anti-Semitism. While it is essential that institutions provide insights into contemporary issues, debate at Wits has not been furthered by organizations such as the Palestine Solidarity Committee. Instead debate has been reduced to propaganda slogans and hate.
You can find an excellent review of Ali Abunimah's book, One Country, at Guide to the Perplexed.