Richard Drake, chair of the History Department at the University of Montana, describes what it is like to invite Stephen Walt, a respected political scientist at Harvard University and author of a…
Richard Drake, chair of the History Department at the University of Montana, describes what it is like to invite Stephen Walt, a respected political scientist at Harvard University and author of a best-selling book on the Israel lobby, to lecture on campus. The techniques of smearing and pressure politics deployed against his appearance can only be described as a form of Zionist-fascism (whether deriving from Christian Zionists or Jewish ones), which is a much more potent danger to open intellectual inquiry in the United States than is usually realized.
At Walt’s own university, Harvard, there have been a number of disinvitees– academics asked to speak and who then saw the invitation withdrawn, apparently on grounds of disagreeing with Alan Dershowitz.
See also Elliot Colla’s article at the Chronicle of Higher Education on how the Likudnik “David Project” and a Hillel Center rabbi attempted to interfere with the holding of a conference on threats to academic freedom, held at Brown University last May!
I hope academics all around the country will step up to thwart this dangerous attempt at silencing views not approved by the Right-Zionists (i.e. people who would vote for Bibi Netanyahu if they lived in Israel, and who think they have the right to decide who the chair of the history department at the University of Montana should be and who that chair can invite to speak on campus).
Some of the policing of thought, of course, is by Right-Zionists against liberal Jews, a form of anti-Semitism that seeks to brand other Jews as unpatriotic. Tony Karon argues that this ploy is running out of steam.
Norman Finkelstein reflects on his recent travails and seems suprisingly optimistic (essentially agreeing with Karon). (For our Committee on Academic Freedom letter on the Finkelstein denial of tenure, see this link.)
And see George Bisharat’s Op-ed in the Baltimore Sun: “Two hundred thousand Palestinian children began school in the Gaza Strip this month without a full complement of textbooks. Why? Because Israel, which maintains a stranglehold over this small strip of land along the Mediterranean even after withdrawing its settlers from there in 2005, considers paper, ink and binding materials not to be “fundamental humanitarian needs.”
Gaza is the worst outcome of Western colonialism anywhere in the world outside the Belgian Congo.