Scripps College has invited Jasbir Puar, Professor and Graduate Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, to speak at the college on Thursday, March 12. Puar is a well-known author whose works include Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007) and her most recent work, The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, published in 2017.
Puar has accused Israelis of harvesting Palestinian organs, deliberately stunting the growth of Palestinian children, and assassinating innocent Palestinians. According to watchdog group the Canary Mission, “She declared that Israel was experimenting with ‘stunting’ Palestinian’s bodies by meticulously maintaining the infrastructure in Gaza at a sub-standard level. She proclaimed that the specific target of this stunting is the youth, as part of Israel’s “biopolitical tactic that seeks to render impotent any future resistance. Puar had already put forward her “biopolitics” theory in a written interview, published in 2014, discussing the use and significance of surveillance technology; Puar insinuated that Israel uses observational technology to starve and choke Palestinians.”
Outside of her remarks on Israel, Puar has a history of making notable statements on homosexuality in the Muslim world. In her book, the Terrorist Assemblages, she stated that suicide bombers are “a queer assemblage that resists queerness-as-sexual-identity.” She has also defended the discrimination against homosexuals and transsexuals in Muslim Countries, claiming that Israel and the United States use homosexual freedom to justify oppression of Muslims. Puar’s assertion is known as “pinkwashing” by her supporters.
The event is part of Scripps’ keynote Humanities speakers. According to the event description, the event was “[p]resented in partnership with the Scripps College Department of Anthropology, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the Claremont Graduate University Cultural Studies Department, and Pomona College Politics Department.
The subjects of the talk are “histories of disability in Palestine and their import in terms of activism, advocacy, and the field of southern disability studies.” Puar is also expected to present research from her time in the West Bank in 2016 and 2018. Such research has concluded that “disability is lived as an inevitable consequence of Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation.”
Puar has been a vocal critic of the Israeli government, claiming that Palestine needs the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement “as part of organized resistance and armed resistance in Palestine.”
One of her most controversial claims is that “The [IDF’s] policy of shooting to maim, not to kill, is often misperceived as the preservation of life… It is [really] used to achieve a tactical aims of settler colonialism.”
The small liberal arts college has a history of denying conservative speakers a platform to speak. The majority of Scripps’ keynote speakers are left-leaning, including sympathizers of the Venezuelan communist regime. Other members of the Claremont Colleges, Pomona and Pitzer College, are facing a potential lawsuit from the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) over accusations of support for anti-Semitic organizations and actions. Both Colleges denied supporting anti-Semitism. Scripps College was not named in the letter that the DHFC sent to Pomona and Pitzer College.