Fire – in a Crowded University

Queen Mary College – with the Physics Building in the background

Yesterday, I decide to visit my old university, not physically of course, it’s in London, not a good place for us Israelis.

Queen Mary College, a part of London University has a website. It shouldn’t be too surprising that an institute of learning, dedicated primarily to the sciences, has one. But, more surprising is the fact that the page for past students has not been working for over six months. “We have had to temporarily suspend new registrations to the Alumni Portal because of a technical problem” is as far as one can get. Perhaps the English Literature department could help out with the meaning of temporarily.

I know that a web page involves cutting-edge technology and is probably beyond anyone over the age of 14, but surely someone at QMC has a child, or a grandchild, who could help them.

I was hoping to join the Alumni Portal and add a small plug for my books – The Len Palmer Mysteries (https://www.lenpalmerbooks.com) but sadly this was not to be. My fellow physicists from way back may well find Dark Matter but will not find Len Palmer. I hope that you, dear Reader, will have better luck.

The QMC News and Comment page, however, is working. The very first item on this page, under the heading ‘Expert Comment’, is “UNRWA and Trump’s attempt to erase the Palestinian people” by a Neve Gordon. I had never heard of Mr. Gordon but, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I read his opinion piece. The fact that it was reprinted from Al Jazeera should have warned me, but I was totally unprepared for the wave of anti-Trump and anti-Israel hate that hit me. Rarely have I seen such a collection of half-truths and distortions about the so-called refugees and the industry that has sprung up around them. What this rubbish was doing on a London University website is not clear. Had it been surreptitiously stuck there like the anti-Israel posters adorning the London bus stops this week or was it part of the wide-spread attempts in British (and American) universities to brain-wash students and turn out a new generation of fully qualified anti-Semites.

To broaden my knowledge, I looked up this Neve Gordon and was horrified to discover that I, as an Israeli taxpayer, am helping pay his salary. You will be astonished to learn that this anti-Israel diatribe is coming from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where Neve Gordon is a Professor of Politics and Government. While I am all in favour of free speech, some factual basis would be a good idea. Otherwise, inciteful articles like Mr. Gordon’s become a little “like shouting fire in a crowded theatre”.

It is interesting to note that this famous quote by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. came when he concluded that defendants who, during World War I, distributed fliers to draft-age men, urging resistance to induction, could be convicted of an attempt to obstruct the draft, a criminal offense. To put it simply – except for condemning Israel, free speech has its limits.

About the Author
The author has been living in Rehovot since making Aliya in 1970. A retired physicist, he divides his time between writing adventure novels, getting his sometimes unorthodox views on the world into print, and working in his garden. An enthusiastic skier and world traveler, the author has visited many countries. His first novels "Snow Job - a Len Palmer Mystery" and "Not My Job – a Second Len Palmer Mystery" are published for Amazon Kindle. The author is currently working on the third Len Palmer Mystery - "Do Your Job".
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