test Campus Protests Debate - Munk Debates

Campus Protests Debate

May 14, 2024

Campus Protests Debate

Be it Resolved, campus protesters are on the right side of history

For the protesters and their supporters, the pro-Palestinian campus demonstrations across the globe are part of a proud tradition of student activism that includes the anti-Vietnam War protests in the 1960s, and the calls to end South African Apartheid in the 1980s. And just as those past protests are now widely accepted to have been on the right side of history, today’s campus protesters are confident that history will prove their cause was just.

Critics disagree. They say the protesters have often downplayed or made excuses for Hamas’ murderous attack on Oct. 7; that the demonstrators fail to consider the complexity of a conflict that cannot be simplified into simple binary terms; and that some of the protesters have indulged in violent and hateful rhetoric towards Israelis and Jews.

Arguing in favour of the resolution is Ben Burgis. He’s a columnist with Jacobin and an adjunct philosophy professor at Rutgers University.

Arguing against the resolution is James Kirchick. He is the New York Times bestselling author of Secret City: The Hidden History of Gay Washington. He’s also a columnist for Tablet magazine, and a writer at large for Air Mail.

I think the question is not, ‘Are they on the right side of history?’ But, ‘What will history make of those who stood aside and said nothing?”
-Ben Burgis

Because these student protests are openly calling for violence against civilians, they are better characterized as pro-war protests.”
-James Kirchick

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