Penn group nixes speaker – former NYT ME bureau chief – who compared Israel, Islamic State

It took just a few seconds to find the above illustration. From Iran: Israel and ISIS pursuing same goals in Mideast

Former New York Times Middle East bureau chief Chris Hedges said he was disinvited to speak at a University of Pennsylvania conference following a column comparing Israel to Islamic State.

Hedges, now a columnist for the website, was to speak at an April forum on prospects for peace in the Middle East sponsored by the university’s International Affairs Association.

Zachary Michael Belnavis, a student leader of the association, wrote to the lecture agency that his group didn’t see Hedges as a “suitable fit” for the conference.

“We’re saying this in light of a recent article he’s written in which he compares the organization ISIS to Israel (here’s the article in question),” Belnavis wrote. “In light of this comparison, we don’t believe he would be suitable to a co-existence speaker based on this stance he’s taken.”

Hedges responded in a Dec. 21 column on Truthdig titled “Banning dissent in the name of civility”…

…Hedges had written in a column titled “ISIS – the new Israel” that “ISIS, ironically, is perhaps the only example of successful nation-building in the contemporary Middle East, despite the billions of dollars we have squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its quest for an ethnically pure Sunni state mirrors the quest for a Jewish state eventually carved out of Palestine in 1948. Its tactics are much like those of the Jewish guerrillas who used violence, terrorism, foreign fighters, clandestine arms shipments and foreign money, along with horrific ethnic cleansing and the massacre of hundreds of Arab civilians, to create Israel”…

There was just a slight difference in context for Israel — right after the Holocaust. Nor have I heard of Israeli fighters taking, say, sex slaves, nor agitating for people around the world to commit atrocities.  Some Arabs are still living in Israel — which is more than you can say about Christians or Yazidis in Syria and Iraq.

The Israeli goal was restricted to the ancient land of Israel. Islamic State has worldwide ambitions.  

Hedges has a December 28 piece at the same site called “The Prison State of America.”