Thursday, December 27, 2007
President Pervez Musharraf has just announced that he will be
investigating thoroughly who was behind the assassination of former
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
This is a very important and very impressive development. We thought this
should be added to several other important investigations that should be
A. Abu Mazen should set up a commission to see if there are any
Holocaust Deniers among Palestinians.
B. The Hamas should set up a commission to see if there are any
terrorists operating out of Gaza or shooting al-Qassam rockets into
C. Ehud Olmert should set up an investigation to see who was
responsible for Israel's total failure in the war against Hizbollah in the
summer of 2006.
D. Ilan Pappe can set up an investigation to see if any academics
lied about Israelis supposedly conducting massacres of Arabs.
E. Ben Gurion University can investigate if there are any Israeli
schools that have trashed academic standards for the purpose of hiring and
promoting anti-Israel leftist extremists.
F. Haaretz can investigate if there are any treasonous journalists
employed in the Israeli media.
G. Bill Clinton can investigate if there is any hanky-panky taking
place in America.
H. Norman Finkelstein can investigate whether there are any Neo-Nazi
pseudo-scholars who have been serving as professors in the Chicago area.
I. Counterpunch magazine can investigate whether there are any
pro-terror Stalinists in America.
J. Michael Lerner can investigate to see if there are any frauds
impersonating Rabbis walking around.
K. Barry Chamish can investigate to see if there are any mentally ill
people in the "911 Truth" cult of conspiracy theorists.
L. Reform "Rabbi" Eric Yoffe can investigate whether there are any
American Jews endangering and undermining Israel.
M. Arthur Waskow can investigate if there are any Jews who smoke
2. Haaretz Editor Asked US Secretary of State to "Rape" Israel
You think this has anything to do with the fact that the Hebrew U's
anthropology department has just declared rape to be an act of anti-racism
and kindness, whereas Refusal to Rape is an act of racism?
3. Tel Aviv U's Radical Hire
4. Year-end special! Free group tour of Rewalpindi, Pakistan. All
Israeli anti-Zionist academics invited to join, for free. Come serve as
5. Leftist Neo-Nazis have a new Hate Group:
The Selective Indignation Of Israel's Academic Critics
By:Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D. Thursday, December 27, 2007
As evidence of what Professor Edward Alexander has called
.the explosive power of boredom. in rousing the liberal professoriate to
its ideological feet, Harvard.s own professor of Anthropology and of
African and African American Studies, L. Roland Matory, called upon his
academic peers once again in a November faculty meeting to foster .a civil
dialogue in which people with a broad range of perspectives feel safe and
are encouraged to express their reasoned and evidence-based ideas..
And what were those .reasoned. ideas that had caused
professor Matory to feel .unsafe. on Harvard.s insulated campus? Criticism
of Zionism and Israel, of course, an issue about which Professor Matory
and others have many notorious opinions, but which are being suppressed,
in his view, through .widespread censorship of dissent about
Professor Matory.s implication is that on this one issue .
criticism of Israel . the sacrosanct notion of .academic freedom. is being
threatened by those pro-Israel opponents who wish to stifle all speech
critical of the Jewish state.
But like many of his fellow travelers on the academic
left, Professor Matory makes the mistake of assuming that academic
freedom, and its stepchild, academic free speech, is a bundle of rights
that can be exercised without regard to those two other fundamental
principles of higher education: academic responsibility and a fervent
commitment to actual scholarship, as opposed to ideology parading as what
he calls .reasoned and evidence-based ideas..
With great regularity, academic imbecility and fraudulent
scholarship have been substituted for reasoned inquiry on our campuses,
and, observes Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise
Institute, .academic freedom is meant to protect scholarship, not replace
Professor Matory is not the first academic to bemoan the
oppressive and fearful might of pro-Israel forces in stifling any
criticism or discussion of Israel; and his outrage and trepidations might
inspire sympathy save for the inconvenient fact that the sheer volume and
frequency of chronic, unrelenting, vitriolic, and one-sided demonization
of Zionism and Israel on campuses worldwide makes Professor Matory.s
claims of being cowered into silence by Israel.s supporters a bit
In that respect, Professor Matory shares a view similar to
that of the Kennedy School.s Stephen Walt, who, with University of
Chicago.s John Mearsheimer, recently published The Israel Lobby, a
book-length version of an earlier paper that revealed the existence, in
their minds, of a powerful, cabalistic lobby in America working to sway
public policy and jeopardize America.s international standing, all to
.The goal [of the Israel Lobby],. they wrote, in words
similar to Matory.s own wild observations, .is to prevent critical
commentary about Israel from getting a fair hearing in the political
arena.. While their insidious bit of scholarship soared to the top of the
non-fiction bestseller list and sent the pair off on a nationwide book
tour, they still manage without embarrassment to proclaim that they are,
like Matory,. touching the .third rail. of political discussion and
fearfully go public with criticism of Israel.
Professor Matory also recalled how another luminary of the
academic netherworld, Norman Finkelstein, was disinvited from Harvard
because of his unrelenting criticism of Israel. Finkelstein is a man whom
Professor Steven Plaut of the University of Haifa has called a
.pseudo-scholar and Holocaust trivializer. who .used his position at
DePaul University in Chicago to promote his open celebration of Middle
East terrorism.. His best-known screed, The Holocaust Industry:
Reflections On The Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, minimizes the
magnitude of the Holocaust while simultaneously making the perverse
accusation that it is used by Zionists to extract sympathy from the world
community and to justify the oppression and subjugation of the
Palestinians by Israelis.
Finkelstein, who was recently denied tenure at DePaul, has
now also adopted the position that his failure to thrive, academically
speaking, is the direct result of his being bold enough to speak up
against Zionism and Israel . and that he has been punished into silence
accordingly, even while he regularly visits college campuses nationwide
where his forbidden speech apparently is heard by eager audiences.
What Professors Finkelstein, Walt, Mearsheimer, and Matory
have all apparently failed to realize is that they have not been silenced
at all in their unrelenting rants against Israel; in fact, the very
opposite is true . they have achieved worldwide notoriety and, in some
quarters, wide acclaim for their views. More important, in their zeal to
preempt the insulating force of this notion of .academic freedom,. they
have sought to deprive their ideological opponents of the same rights and
protection; that is, while they want to be able to utter any calumny
against the Jewish state and suffer no recriminations for their speech,
they view any speech from those challenging their views to be oppressive,
stifling, unreasonable, and, in the popular term used by those who
frequently utter second-rate ideas, .chilling..
But the issue is far more obvious than the professors care
to realize, and much less insidious. Those who speak back to ideologues
such as Matory, Finkelstein, Walt, and Mearsheimer do so not to suppress
criticism of Israel; academic freedom grants the professors the right to
spew forth any academic meanderings they wish, but it does not make them
free from being challenged for their thoughts.
Those who question divestment petitions, or critique the
anti-Israel and anti-American .scholarship. parading on campuses as Middle
Eastern Studies, or answer back when a work purports to reveal a sinister
Jewish cabal controlling U.S. foreign policy, or correct such notions as
Professor Matory.s that Israel is .quashing the rights of millions of
Palestinians refugees to lands, houses, and goods stolen as a condition of
Israel.s founding in the late 1940.s. are not stifling debate about
Israel. They are using their own academic freedom to rebut what they see
as distortions, half-truths, propaganda, mistakes about history, or
There is nothing unseemly about countering speech . even
hateful speech . with more speech. In fact, that is the very heart of the
university.s mission. Professor Matory claims he is seeking a greater
civility on campus through reasoned academic discourse, but his real
intention seems to be to create that civility by having only his side of
the discussion be heard . without the uncomfortable necessity of hearing
other, dissenting views.
Like many of his fellow academics, he proclaims widely the
virtues of open expression, but only for those who utter those thoughts
with which he agrees. But true intellectual diversity . the ideal that is
often bandied about but rarely achieved . must be dedicated to the
protection of unfettered speech, representing opposing viewpoints, where
the best ideas become clear through the utterance of weaker ones.
Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., former director of
publications at the Kennedy School of Government and a lecturer at Boston
University, Simmons, and Babson, is currently writing a book about the
demonization of Israel taking place on college campuses.