Professor and Distinguished Historian Speaks at UT about the Idea of a Jewish State

 

Professor and distinguished historian Michael Brenner spoke on modern Israel at the McClung Museum on Monday night.

Brenner’s lecture titled, “The Idea of a Jewish State from Herzl to Netanyahu,” drew a crowd of around 80 people.

“[It is important for people of all religions to come to the lecture because] Israel is in the press so much,” said Brenner. “There is so much reporting on Israel and people should want to get more background to understand it.”

Among the crowd were at least 10 individuals protesting Brenner’s speech, Almost halfway through the speech, they stood up with a sign that read: “Israel is an apartheid state.”

 

Brenner said that he has never had anyone protest during his lectures before.

He acknowledged the protestors and said while they had a right to do that, he disagrees with them.

“I think it is wrong—not everything is great in Israel,” said Brenner, “A lot of people think that there are maybe some democratic structures that are in danger. But I think, for now at least, it is far from that situation.”

There is about 20 percent Arab population in Israel, and they have all the rights on paper, but in reality it is way different.

“Obviously one big thing is the army. Arab’s don’t serve in the army, “ said Brenner, “but that’s because you don’t want to create a loyalty conflict. But it’s an agreement between Israelis and Arabs.”

He agrees that not everyone in Israel is equal. According to Brenner, an apartheid state is when the state rates part of the population a second rate and they cannot achieve certain things. He said Israel is not there currently.

“[The most important takeaway from this lecture is that] the idea of a Jewish state is actually an idea that started long before the Holocaust,” said Brenner, “and had there been a Jewish state, many could have been rescued.”

The Jewish state became successful in 1948 and has remained a democratic state since.

The next Judaic Studies lecture on modern Jewish literature will be held on March 9th at 7:30.

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Darwin’s Birthday Party Celebration

 

Darwin Day, in remembrance of Charles Darwin, was hosted by The McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, began on Mon. Feb. 9.

The weeklong celebrations consisted of a variety of different lectures and Darwin-themed events that led up to his birthday on Sat. Feb. 12.

The Coordinator of Academic Programs, Lindsey Wainwright, put Darwin’s birthday party at McClung together.

The party’s events included giant papier-mâché puppets of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace, pin the tooth on the dinosaur, fossil lectures and birthday cake.

“Darwin day is a huge deal to the university and McClung because it’s not just the human origins—it’s about the scientific background and evidence of the human origins,” said Wainwright.

According to Wainwright, it is important that we celebrate Darwin’s birthday because he is an important figure in scientific discovery and that it’s besides being a celebration of learning, discovery, questioning and learning about the natural world.

“It’s fun to have a figure that’s well known and celebrate the continuation of scientific discovery,” said Wainwright.

Last year was the first year that McClung hosted the birthday party. It was also the first year that the academic programs unit became a part of the museum.

Last year, they had more people come than expected—which is great, except they ran out of cake, according to Wainwright.

“It’s just reminding us that scientific inquiry is fun and exciting and it’s an opportunity to have minds of all ages coming to the museum and make discoveries of their own. Hopefully this is a [step] into engaging with the museum and learning about science,” said Wainwright.

Wainwright got interested in Darwin Day celebration specifically because she saw it as a way to bring students into the museum. The academic program unit is a way to make closer connections with research and teaching at the university.

“Our goal with this event, is to get students in the door. A lot of students at UT don’t really know that much about the McClung Museum, they’re not familiar with our collections of the kind of research that happens here,” said Wainwright.

The birthday party was an opportunity to have a fun and lighthearted event that would help students become more familiar with what the museum has to offer and Darwin’s impact on scientific discovery.

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City Council Approves Major Sidewalk Improvement Plan

Knoxville City Council approved sidewalk improvements on South Castle Street.

Meeting Tuesday, council authorized the acquisitions of immanent domain needed to improve the sidewalks on South Castle Street.

The project will create the sidewalk links for the area along South Castle Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue to Claude Walker Park at Wilson Avenue.

According to Jim Hagerman, director of engineering for Knoxville, “There is more gap than there is sidewalk along South Castle Street.”

“There are several short pieces. It is beyond filling gaps, but there is at least something to work with,” said Hagerman.

Hagerman said that the sidewalk will get people from the high school into the neighborhood and to the park. He said, full sidewalks would be by the high school, a middle school, and a park.

Hagerman said that he is not able to commit to a definite time frame at the moment.

“This is the last big step before getting construction” said Hagerman.

According to Della Volpe, the ordinances were created because some of the residents would not willingly agree to give up their land.

Former Mayor Daniel Brown said a constituent whom lives on Castle Street contacted him in 2010 with concern about the students walking on Castle with no sidewalks.

“There’s a lot of traffic. I was on Castle Street today and saw someone walking. So we’ve been working on it for quite sometime,” said Brown.

The main priority of the project is for the safety of the students and others who walk along Castle Street.

“So we’ve been working on it for quite sometime, and it’s really going to be an enhancement thinking about the Magnolia streetscapes project,” said Brown.

The South Castle Street sidewalk project will be finalized sometime this year, according to Hagerman.