Monday, December 03, 2007
PPPSSSTTT!!! Pass it on!
2. Alan Dershowitz
Motto of Anti-Israel Academics: "Free Speech For Me, But Not for Thee!"
November 27, 2007
Do anti-Israel professors "tremble in fear" when they criticize Israel at
Harvard and other American universities? Not likely, if you have any sense
of what's going on on college campuses today where Israel-bashing is
rampant among hard left faculty and students. But a Harvard professor
named J. Lorand Matory who teaches anthropology and Afro-American studies,
whined to the Harvard faculty last week that he "tremble[s] in fear"
whenever he criticizes Israel. Well, he must tremble an awful lot, since
he spends so much of his time criticizing Israel, a country he has never
even visited and a country that he recently told an interviewer he has
never even read a book about. Matory submitted a motion stating that "this
faculty commits itself to fostering civil dialogue in which people with a
broad range of perspectives feel safe and are encouraged to express their
reasoned and evidence-based ideas." Nothing wrong with encouraging free
speech as long as speech is free to people representing different
perspectives. But Matory's motion received support from other paragons of
political correctness, who are well-known for their advocacy of censorship
of the "offensive" speech of others, but who are now complaining that
there's not enough free speech for them at Harvard.
At Columbia University, on the other hand, a group of professors -- who
are generally in sync with their extremist colleagues at Harvard -- are
complaining that Columbia's President, Lee C. Bollinger, has too much
freedom of speech when it comes to the Middle East. A campaign is underway
to rebuke Bollinger for expressing his personal views about the Iranian
dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Led by well-known radicals such as Eric
Foner -- who complained that Bollinger's harsh description of Ahmadinejad
was "completely inaccurate" -- these politically correct censors want to
muzzle Bollinger. They also want to muzzle students, alumni, and other
"outsiders," who have legitimate complaints about the Middle East Studies
Department, which has become a wholly owned subsidiary of radical Islam.
It all seems so inconsistent unless you understand what the real agenda
is, and then everything becomes completely clear and totally consistent.
The agenda is Israel. If you're against Israel -- as Matory, Foner, and
their ilk are -- then they want you to have complete freedom to speak
against the Jewish state (as they certainly should and do). If, on the
other hand, you're perceived as pro-Israel (or pro-American, for that
matter), then suddenly you have no right to free speech. It is so
transparently cynical that I'm amazed that any reasonable person actually
falls for it.
The hypocrisy is rather easy to spot if you've been around long enough to
remember when it was leaders of the radical left, led by MIT linguist Noam
Chomsky, who were trying to intrude on the tenure process for political
reasons. I recall vividly when Chomsky campaigned to prevent Columbia from
granting a tenured position to Henry Kissinger. Chomsky spoke at a noisy
rally against Kissinger's tenure. It was that same Chomsky who complained
when I wrote a letter -- in response to a request from the former chairman
of the political science department -- detailing misquotations, made-up
facts, and other scholarly sins by anti-Israel extremist Norman
Finkelstein and urging DePaul University to deny him tenure. I also
remember when it was Professor Matory who tried to prevent former
University President Lawrence H. Summers from exercising his freedom of
speech with regard to Israel when he was president.
What I don't remember (because it didn't happen) are any complaints by
these born-again freedom of speech phonies when Summers, as a mere
professor, was prevented from making a speech to the University of
California Board of Regents this September. Those political-correctniks
who weren't actually demanding censorship of Summers were predictably
silent because it wasn't one of theirs who was being censored. Nor do I
remember (because it didn't happen) the hard left at Columbia protesting
when the University provost defended an anti-Israel professor who was
caught by a camera throwing a rock at an Israeli guardhouse. Nor do I
remember (because it didn't happen) Professor Matory complaining when
Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Barak was prevented from speaking at
Concordia University by a hard-left anti-Israel crowd of violent censors.
For that matter, where was Columbia's Eric Foner when the leader of the
Minutemen was chased off the stage at Columbia by another group of
I challenge Matory and his hard left political cronies to show a history
of supporting the free speech rights of those they disagree with. Has
Matory defended the right of Professor James D. Watson, whose despicable
theories of racial inferiority resulted in the cancellation of his speech
at Rockefeller University? I, and many other genuine civil libertarians,
have long histories of defending the free speech rights of those we most
despise. I supported the right of Nazis to march in Skokie, Ill. 40 years
ago. I opposed the cancellation of a speech by Tom Paulin, who advocated
the murder of Israelis. I defended, pro bono, a virulently anti-Israel
Stanford professor who was fired for inciting violence. I opposed
Harvard's attempt to prevent students from flying the Palestinian flag to
commemorate the death of mass-murderer Yasser Arafat.
Don't expect the defense of those with whom they disagree from the
Israel-bashers at Columbia, Harvard, and MIT. For them, it is "free speech
for me, but not for thee!"
Freedom of speech to criticize Israel and the U.S. is alive and well at
Harvard and most other universities. Matory need not "tremble in fear" of
anything except his pernicious opinions being rebutted in the marketplace
Freedom of speech to criticize Palestinian extremism is however in short
supply at many American and European universities. Jewish students do
actually "tremble in fear" of offending anti-Israel professors who have
the power to downgrade and negatively recommend them. This is an issue
that deserves serious attention in the real world of academia, rather than
in Matory's ersatz world of topsy-turvy newspeak.
So let us all support complete free speech for every perspective relating
to the Middle East, not just for perspectives supported by the hard left.
3. When moonbats close ranks:
Haaretz, Mon., December 03, 2007 Kislev 23, 5768
Peers back lecturer who barred armed soldier from class
By Tamara Traubmann
Nizar Hassan, the filmmaker who instructed a student at Sapir College in
Sderot not to come to class wearing his army uniform and carrying a gun,
"is a talented and courageous artist whose only sin was his attempt to
maintain universal civic values" and whose action "pointed to the serious
phenomenon of the great involvement of the army in campus life."
These statements are in a petition of support for Hassan signed by dozens
of Jewish and Arab university teachers. Hassan was suspended by the
college until the disciplinary committee reaches a decision in his case.
After a hearing last Thursday, he committee could recommend a punishment
ranging from an official reprimand to dismissal.
"The case was blown out of proportion," Hassan's attorney, Eti Livni,
said. She questioned the legal foundation for the college's disciplinary
committee. A senior college official told Haaretz that the committee would
operate in Hassan's case "in accordance with the clear instruction of the
college president and of the academic ethos, according to which politics
must not be brought into the classroom."
Last month, First Lieutenant (res.) Eyal Cohen, an intelligence officer in
the reserves, came to a film class taught by Hassan wearing his Israel
Defense Forces uniform. Hassan reportedly told him to leave immediately,
saying, "I do not teach soldiers, policemen and officers in uniform."
Cohen did not leave, and Hassan continued to make negative comments about
the IDF during the class.
4. Back to Terrorism, as usual:
5. Feminists strangely silent on Islamofascism: