WSU YDSA x MDDSA Hosts Ben Burgis


WSU YDSA x MDDSA are proud to co-host a lecture by Michigan's own Ben Burgis!


Ben is a native Michigander, DSA member, Jacobin columnist, an adjunct philosophy professor at Rutgers University, and the host of the YouTube show and podcast Give Them An Argument. He’s the author of several books, most recently Christopher Hitchens: What He Got Right, How He Went Wrong, and Why He Still Matters.


Debunking the Many Bad Arguments Made by Israel's Apologists in the West

Jacobin columnist Ben Burgis goes through many of the arguments made by those who think the United States should continue to "stand with Israel" as that country deprives Palestinians of basic rights and continues its lethal assault on the civilian population of Gaza. Anyone who's been involved in Palestine activism will most likely run into many of the same talking points. Is the claim that Israel is an 'apartheid state' false because Arab citizens of Israel have equal rights (even though West Bank and Gaza Palestinians do not)? Does Israel have a "right to exist as a Jewish state"? What does it even mean to say that a country--any country--has a "right to exist"? (Did Czechoslovakia have a right to exist? The Confederacy? The Kingdom of Two Sicilies?) We're often told that Israel has a "right to defend itself" and that if tens of thousands of civilians are killed, that's the fault of Hamas for using civilians as "human shields." Is that true? Does it even make sense on its own terms?

Citizens of a democracy have a right and a moral obligation to think critically about their government's foreign policy and no one should need a deep knowledge of Middle Eastern history and politics to find these defenses unpersuasive.  Breaking them down in detail, though, can help us formulate good responses and persuade the persuadable.

Will you come?