Sunday, December 02, 2007
Transfer Now (of leftist academics)!!
Answering Anti-Israel Academics
By Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D. December 2, 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 Israel-Palestine."
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 has 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 it."
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 disingenuous.
In that respect, Professor Matory shares a similar view with 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 Israel's advantage. "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, which Eliot A. Cohen, a professor at Johns Hopkins
University's School of Advanced International Studies, called an "inept,
even kooky academic work," soared to the top of the non-fiction
bestseller's 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 who 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 for being bold enough to speak up against Zionism and
Israel -- and he has been punished into silence accordingly, even while he
regularly visit 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 world-wide notoriety and, in some quarters, wide
acclaim for their views. More importantly, 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.
"Free speech does not absolve anyone from professional incompetence," says
Michael Rubin; and 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 1940s" 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 that 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.
3. Give me back my Land!
4. Answering Haaretz dingbette: Talkbacks from
Title: Lilly Gallili`s article about Our Inner Scourge
Name: Shlomo Sharan
City: Netanya State:
Galilli doesn`t mention the author, 35-years as Professor of Psychology
and Education at Tel-Aviv University. Personal experience and professional
background (Full Professor of Psychology and Education)are my credentials
for preparing this paper that Galilli dismisses without relating to any of
the substantive issues. Every single assertion is based on documentation,
most of which is the people`s own words. Nothing is said about the
anti-Zionist academics that they did not say about themselves. Muss
Galilli didn;t do her homework, the net result being that her article is
empty of information and attributes to me (falsely accusing people) what
it is that she herself does in this scandal journalism she demonstrates.
Ben Gurion.the great contemporary Historian David Vital, and other
scholars, have amuch lower opinion of Jewish communists than presented in
this position paper.Morover,how does Miss Galilli challenge my
interpretations? produce evidence, stop calling names.
Name: Prof. I. Barr
City: Detroit, Michigan State: USA
Typical radical left article and tactics.Rather than answering the
allegations, creating discussion, they go to court and file lawsuits
against those who oppose them.Ask Neve Gordon. Israel academia can
criticize anybody but cannot tolerate
criticism.Israel-academia-monitor.com allows Israeli public to know what
the university teachers are teaching their children. Parents who pay for
higher education may find that their children are indocrinated in the
spirit of anarchists, marxists,anti Israel, anti Semitic attitudes. Ask
Kobi Snitz. This indocrination is done daily.Instead of learning a
proffesion they learn hate. These professors seem to be in bread, that is,
they seem to be selected by their political views and not by academic
achievements. Israel pays theis salary. The radical left academics are not
altruistic: they get tenures, sabbaticals, publish books by virtue of
their extreme antiIsrael rant.Ask Ian Pappe. In summary,radical Left
suffers from hypocricy as is Gallili.
Title: How dare they be allowed to criticize traitors!
City: Kiryat Yam State: Israel
So Haaretz, which daily runs the propaganda of Gideon Levy and Amira Hass,
does not approve of academics who expose and criticize the malicious
anti-Israel extremists in academia! Haaretz thinks this is "McCarthyism."
The real McCarthyism is by those radical leftists who seek to deny the
right of non-leftists to criticize the Left!