I have here in my hand a list of 205

AMCHA, an organization whose self-declared purpose is to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campus, has a list.

A list of 218 professors who have called for the boycott of Israel. Which is somehow a threat to Jewish students on campus.

And they wonder why we call it McCarthyism.

Several folks have suggested that all of us who are academics, from graduate students to endowed chairs, write the organizers of the initiative and urge them to add our names to the list. As an act of solidarity. I think it’s a good idea, so I’m going to do it, and I encourage you to do the same.

Here are the folks and email addresses you should write:

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Lecturer, University of California at Santa Cruz, tammi@amchainitiative.org

Leila Beckwith, Professor Emeritus, UCLA, leila@amchainitiative.org


Update (11:30 am)

Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Professors Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith:

I noticed this morning that you listed on the AMCHA website 218 professors who are a threat to Jewish students (“Thank you for your actions to protect Jewish students”). As a practicing Jew, I think your list is abhorrent. As a citizen, I think it’s pure McCarthyism. As an act of solidarity with the professors who have been unfairly maligned by you and your list, I’d like you to add my name to it. Below please find my identification.

Corey Robin


  1. Critical Reading September 15, 2014 at 11:28 am | #

    “Several folks have suggested that all of us who are academics, from graduate students to endowed chairs, write the organizers of the initiative and urge them to add our names to the list. As an act of solidarity. I think it’s a good idea, so I’m going to do it, and I encourage you to do the same.” It’s a good idea if you have tenure.

  2. Heike Schotten September 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm | #

    hey does it matter that they’re targeting specifically professors who claim expertise in “Middle East Studies”? that’s where they got the names – from a petition from this discipline – and they’re using it to claim bias in teaching.

    i love your idea for a solidarity action but i think it needs a little tweaking given this fact. maybe we can ask them to start a broader list?

    best, Heike

    • Julie September 15, 2014 at 1:19 pm | #

      They say they are targeting professors who claim expertise in “Middle East Studies” but my friend who made the list does not teach Middle Eastern Studies.

    • Sunaina Maira September 16, 2014 at 12:57 am | #

      This is a wonderful idea! Thanks for initiating this. I should also note in response to Heike that AMHCA has helpfully sorted through various lists and letters and provided this map of campuses where faculty support the academic boycott or have endorsed USACBI:


      Would it be possible to post the names of those who have written to AMCHA somewhere? Otherwise they will just disappear and it would be great to counter this intimidation by a public show of solidarity.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki September 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm | #

    Went to look at the list. Looks like someone didn’t pay their internet bill for the bandwidth they’re using.

    As for “Critical Reading”, just tell ’em you are Sparticus.

    • MLW September 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm | #

      I think they’re under a DoS attack.

  4. stevek28 September 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm | #

    Corey. Do you not see that the academic freedom issue concerning Steven Salaita mirrors the boycott of Israeli academics. In fact it is more insidious. When the Israeli academics are forbidden ,AS A GROUP, to participate in any academic function, it totally destroy the concept of individual responsibility. I ask you Cory, on the pain of negating your core principles to rethink your support of this transitivity. Steve Kraisler-Retired Mathematics Teacher

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.- Upton Sinclair

    • Brian September 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm | #

      Did BDS develop a list of Israeli professors and ask people to boycott them by name? In fact, did BDS asks that any individual be boycotted? No and no. The boycott is against institutions and those representing institutions that don’t take a principled stance towards the Occupation.

  5. stevek28 September 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm | #

    Corey. Do you not see that the academic freedom issue concerning Steven Salaita mirrors the boycott of Israeli academics. In fact it is more insidious. When the Israeli academics are forbidden ,AS A GROUP, to participate in any academic function, it totally destroy the concept of individual responsibility.
    I ask you Cory, on the pain of negating your core principles to rethink your support of this transitivity.

    • patricksodonnell September 15, 2014 at 3:46 pm | #

      The addresses for the two professors (one emeritus) would not work for me. I sent a similar letter but had to use the UC Santa Cruz address for Professor Rossman-Benjamin. (Incidentally, per first comment above, I don’t have tenure, indeed, I’m an adjunct instructor.)

    • Eron September 16, 2014 at 1:32 pm | #

      The analogy does not hold. On the contrary the Salaita affair only strenghten the case for BDS.

  6. ars1947 September 15, 2014 at 3:19 pm | #

    Reblogged this on Said With An Eye and commented:
    And the targeting continues

  7. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 15, 2014 at 4:05 pm | #

    Corey, I am not an academic and was never a journalist (too young to get on Nixon’s “Enemies List” despite my self-adopted-because-I-stole-it pen name.)

    However, I would be honored if there was some way that I could be called a “fellow traveller” because I am a fan of your blog. Do you — or anyone out there — know of a way a brother get a “guilt-by-association” honorable mention?

    • Edward September 16, 2014 at 9:31 am | #

      Maybe you could be listed as an “outside agitator”.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2014 at 9:56 am | #

        Am I now, or have I ever been…?

        I would have, if I had been invited. Especially if they serve cookies. Besides, I couldn’t get a date!

        But seriously folks.

        I am inclined to suspect that most of the scholars on that list are American.

        If that is true (this is only a suspicion) is it not a little weird that AMCHA……

        [Forgive me but, very frankly, that acronym forces me to recall a hysterically funny but rude joke by Steven Colbert — I’m giggling now at the thought of it (I hope Corey does not get mad at me for plunking this in): http://www.videobash.com/video_show/munchma-quchi-58509%5D

        ….seems to be demanding that Middle East scholars (a category that seems to include scholars of other disciplines, but no matter) demonstrate in their teaching a species of patriotism to a foreign nation, that nation being Israel? When did that become a job requirement? After the blacklists, what next — loyalty oaths to the government and any other U.S.-allied nation state that feels officially offended by scholarship? When will Saudi Arabia issue its own “hasbara” project in the U.S. to counter American Islamophobia?

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2014 at 11:17 am | #

        It appears that the video I tried to link to ain’t there.

        Let’s try this again.


        The name “AMCHA” makes me think of this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/stephen-colbert-breaking-character_n_4109895.html

        Fingers are crossed.

  8. Juliane September 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm | #

    There is also this petition in support of the blacklisted professors: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/pledge-to-support-professors-targeted-by-amcha

  9. BillR September 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm | #

    Chomsky once used the Hebrew word for “dirt” (as in “digging for dirt”) to describe the modus operandi of ADL which has been keeping tabs on him for decades to be able to smear him when needed:

    The ADL office in Boston is rather porous. Sometimes staff there don’t like what they are doing, and leak information. In one case, someone showed up at my door and gave me a package of about 150 pages of material. First page said: “for Alan Dershowitz.” It was a collection of materials for him to use in a forthcoming debate in his favorite style of evading the issues: defame your opponent, and spend the rest of the time discussing the fabricated defamations.

    It was kind of amusing, rather like FBI files I’ve seen. Lots of surveillance. Spies sent to talks and sending back fevered notes that were mostly fantasy. Some personal correspondence that they’d gotten hold of. Lots of clippings with defamatory fabrications. That sort of thing. Just right for Dershowitz. And an interesting insight into the concept of “anti-defamation.”

    • Ligurio September 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm | #

      Those weren’t debate notes, but a book manuscript!

  10. yisraelmedad September 16, 2014 at 2:40 am | #

    Ignoring what I think is an inappropriate use of the term “NcCarthyism”, even an incorrect use, how are BDSers not practicing McCarthyism?

  11. J. Otto Pohl September 16, 2014 at 6:34 am | #

    I am only aware of the work of a few of the scholars listed. But, it appears that the list is based solely on whether they support a boycott of Israel or not and whether their work vaguely touches on the “Greater Middle East.” For instance they list Suny whose areas of expertise are Soviet nationality policies and the Caucasus, particulary Armenia and Georgia. I don’t think he has actually published anything at all dealing specifially with Israel or Palestine. It also appears to only apply to US institutions. I didn’t see any Canadian or UK scholars listed not to mention people working in Africa.

  12. David B (@deliotb) September 16, 2014 at 9:39 am | #

    Academics: We are *boycotting* Israeli academic institutions. It doesn’t matter what the institution is, whether the other participants are leftists or rights, or Arabs or Jews.
    Corey Robin: Yay!
    Amcha: Students may want to avoid these professors if they don’t want professors biased against Israel.
    Corey Robin: MCCARTHYISM!

    • jonnybutter September 16, 2014 at 11:18 am | #

      Hmm. BDS vs a (ridiculously arbitrary!) blacklist of names on US campuses…

      At first I have to wonder if comments like David B’s/Medad’s are a result of: a.) idiocy – lack of ability to understand simple distinctions, b.) laziness – being too lazy to understand those distinctions, or c.) cynicism – understanding the distinctions but ignoring them.

      My guess is that it’s a weird tangle of all three. It’s a way that human beings behave, unfortunately, this tending towards feebleness. However, since we are discussing *academia*, it’s worth remembering that the biggest pier upon which rests any serious academic work is the human struggle to think rationally; to resist going jellylegged down the path of least resistance and acceding to being the simple, braying jackass some part of ourselves might long to be.

      If those of you who agree with their comments aren’t just being mostly cynical, please think about the difference between boycotting state institutions (and expressly not individuals), and making a smear-list of individuals in the US, with which this AMCHA have made themselves judge and jury and declared the people on their list – none of whom they necessarily even know – of being biased in the classroom because they don’t recite the party line of AMCHA outside of the classroom. And that they are therefore unworthy of their jobs. It is *precisely* McCarthyism.

      Where is a sense of decency?

      • jonnybutter September 16, 2014 at 11:22 am | #

        …not to mention your usual moronic tu quoque fallacy.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2014 at 11:45 am | #

        I would love to have a recording of the conversation that resulted in that list. That had to have been the most hilarious exchange of voice mails, phone calls, and e-mails of all time. It almost certainly unlikely but — if anyone connected to AMCHA (*Munchma Quchi*) has any documentation of the exchange that evolved into that list, please consider leaking it to the public.

        I must state boldly that AMCHA’s (*Munchma Quchi*) project is likely to fall flat on its a$$ exactly because of its explicit channeling of “Red Channels”. Seriously — once this breaks the membrane of the directly interested (academics, hasbarists, progressive scholars, BDS, us here) and into the mainstream, AMCHA (*Munchma Quchi*) may find themselves embarrassed and be forced to quietly shut this effort down. Not even mainstream reactionaries can comfortably get on board such a project without inviting questions. Those of us who would like to get on that list may be denied the honor as the project drowns in its own stupidity.

        A list. Seriously? To frighten off Jewish students (talk about insulting a class of people — anti-Semitic much?) from taking courses with professors with alleged ‘anti-Israel bias’ (to intimidate universities into, frankly, taking aggressive action — firing? — against those listed)?

        This is a joke. A stupid joke that I cannot believe will have that long a shelf life.

        *Munchma Quchi*.

        [I give up trying to find a link that works — just put that phrase in your search engine, and you will find the clip that I cannot seem to bring here. You’ll love it, and you will hear *Munchma Quchi* in the name AMCHA, just as I do.]

  13. Howard Swerdloff September 16, 2014 at 10:05 am | #

    I sent this message to AMCHA this morning:


    I am Jewish and I teach history at CUNY. My students and study the Shoah. We also try to understand how the Jews’ tragedy became the Palestinians’ Nakba.

    My five years of Jewish education and my family’s Jewish values taught me to empathize with the sufferings of all people.

    If that has earned me a place on your list, so be it.

    I grew up in the 1950s and I remember the pain caused by lists like yours. Your actions are generating more anti-Semitism than all of the classes of every professor on your list combined!

    Shame on you!

    Howard Swerdloff

  14. Another perspective September 16, 2014 at 1:47 pm | #

    Because people associate Israel with the Jews. If there is a lot of Pro-Palestinian/Anti Israel rhetoric on campus, people could get upset. If they get angry enough, they’ll take it out on somebody who is associated with Israel—the Jews. If questioned, they’ll disguise their hatred as anti-Israel and that they hate supporters of Israel. In reality, they’re actually vicious antisemites (or Jew haters as I like to call them since technically Arabs are semites.) I think a “list” is shameful and unfair as it restricts free speech in a democracy, but young Jews like myself are worried that the next step will be violence in the streets, a scene reminiscent of Crystallnacht. It will all be in the name of “supporting Palestine”. Please consider my words, and don’t delete my comment.

  15. astudenteds654 September 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm | #

    Because people associate Israel with the Jews. If there is enough Pro-Palestinian/Anti Israel rhetoric on campus, Palestine supporters might get angry enough to start attacking Jews in the name of “supporting Palestine”. If questioned, they’ll say that it has nothing to do with Jews, as they like Jews, but they hate “Israel Supporters”. While I think a “list” is shameful as it pressures against free speech in an open and democratic society, young Jews like myself can’t help but wonder if the next step is violence in the streets against Jews all in the name of “condemning Israel”. If people are angry enough, they’ll feel frustrated and eventually want to take action against Jews, even if those Jews have little or no support of Israel (because people associate Israel with Jews). People like myself worry that America is starting to look like pre-Nazi Germany where the next step is mass violence against Jews. Please post my comment even if you don’t agree.

    • NattyB September 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm | #

      What about Jews like myself who support equal rights for Palestinians, will I get confused and attack myself you racist POS?

      People like myself worry that America is starting to look like pre-Nazi Germany where the next step is mass violence against Jews

      Someone’s off their meds.

      • Brian September 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm | #

        Not just racist, but fundamentally dishonest to boot — comparing a time when anti Arab rhetoric and violence is pervasive to pre-Nazi Germany.

      • astudenteds654 September 17, 2014 at 12:36 am | #

        I want to be clear. I don’t condone violence towards Palestinian supporters or anybody else, but anger and frustration could eventually lead to violence. Look at it this way (and Brian mentioned it), people are so angry and frustrated that Palestine supporters seem to be in danger as well. I saw one story where a Palestinian supporter was getting death threats. (She wasn’t even an arab) While it isn’t fair or right, people associate Arab Muslims with terrorists. I don’t espouse that view. Why should people on all sides not be concerned that with all the escalating tensions both in the middle east and here that violence won’t be the next step? People are angry and frustrated and that could manifest in a dangerous way. BTW, it might sound cliche, but I’m not a racist. I have arab muslim friends and they’re some of the coolest people I know. Nice try, though.

      • Brian September 17, 2014 at 7:42 am | #

        If you don’t condone violence, then work to end the Occupation, which is the engine of violence and counter-violence. BTW, violent resistance against violent occupation is considered legitimate — occupiers don’t get to look to the occupied as guaranteeing their security. They must end their unjustifiable state terror and then we’ll talk of peace and security. One someone is under your boot whatever they need to do to push you back is legitimate.

    • putanendtohate September 16, 2014 at 9:38 pm | #

      Israel is not above the law of the Hebrew God. Ask any ethical Jew and s/he will tell you that in a heartbeat.

      Rabbi Michael Lerner will tell you that: “My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis. Tonight (August 4) and tomorrow (August 5), which mark Tisha B’av, the Jewish commemoration of disasters that happened to us through Jewish history, I’m going to be fasting and mourning also for a Judaism being murdered by Israel.”


    • astudenteds654 September 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm | #

      Brian, the “occupation” you speak of is a famous issue. Israeli forces are in certain parts of Palestine to ensure peace. What concerns many Israelis (and others around the world) is that if Israeli forces pull out, terrorists will take over. Let’s be clear. These terrorists just want to see Israelis, and especially Jews dead. Hamas cannot be considered a legitimate party if they are sworn to Israel’s destruction. There’s a reason they are put on the international terror lists. (Israel, America, and the EU and maybe even others.) Ultimately, it’s a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. I don’t want to do this as we could do this all day. But we digress. I’d like to focus on a more relevant issue. Why is it that there was just a seminar at the UN discussing global Antisemitism? Why was there at least one counter Anti-Semitic rally in NYC? And why, during the operation, was there not only many anti-israel rallies AROUND THE WORLD, but that some of which splintered into Anti-semitic chants like “Hitler was right” and other similar things (mostly that took place in Europe)? The answers to all these questions is that Israel is associated with Jews. To answer Professor Robin’s point, that’s why AMCHA probably made a list. Not that I agree or support the list, but today it’s anti-Israel, tomorrow it’s anti-semitism. The next day it’s violence. Believe me,it concerns me that there is islamophobia in this country. It’s against the law, absurd, outrageous, and runs counter to facts. This is reminiscent of when the Japanese-Americans were rounded up because Japan struck Pearl Harbor. Today it’s rhetoric. Tomorrow it’s violence. Every intelligent human being should be very concerned and do introspection to keep ourselves in check—before it’s too late.

      • donald September 17, 2014 at 7:37 pm | #

        “What concerns many Israelis (and others around the world) is that if Israeli forces pull out, terrorists will take over”

        That’s why Israelis build settlements and raise children in the West Bank. They’re afraid of all the terrorists, so they raise children there to function as, yes, human shields. It all makes sense now.

        “Hamas cannot be considered a legitimate party if they are sworn to Israel’s destruction. There’s a reason they are put on the international terror lists.”

        And by the same logic, Israel can’t be considered a legitimate party since it exists in its present form as a direct result of ethnic cleansing. And the reason Hamas is on terror lists is simply politics. A lot of groups kill civilians, including the IDF, and we don’t put them on some moral blacklist, because governments don’t operate according to consistent moral codes.

      • donald September 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm | #

        I am, btw, a different Donald from Donald Pruden.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 19, 2014 at 5:32 pm | #

        I had to read that multiple times.

        At first I had planned to let that go.

        “astudent654”, you are clearly hyperventilating. An escalation constructed out of concatenated events mischaracterized/made up, or smudged together to permit mischaracterization.

        Let us start with this: “To answer Professor Robin’s point, that’s why AMCHA probably made a list.” Really? What have any of the scholars on that list have to do with anti-Semitism? Or, with violence? And how – HOW – the hell is a damned “list” supposed to project Jews??? From what?! You don’t say, but you try to implicate the scholars in your hysterical leap-frogging jag to that terminates in “violence” — even though NOT ONE OF THEM has any connection to any violence whatsoever, and NOT ONE OF THEM has ever been involved in any anti-Semitic action of any sort. Unless you, like other hasabarists, are simply saying that any review of the acts of the Israeli state, or of Israeli history or of Palestinian history that does not heroicize the mighty and noble Israelis and issue racist demonization of the Palestinians as “terrorists” must be an act of anti-Semitism that will lead to anti-Jewish violence. Huh?

        And what is so wrong about having an anti-Israel bias? Would that be the same wrong one finds in an official state (and corporate media) level bias against the state of North Korea? Or Cuba? Or Iran? Or Syria? Or apartheid era South Africa? (actually, officially the U.S. had a pro-S.A. bias during its apartheid days) Or Soviet era Russia? Or capitalist era Russia — like, now?

        Why did you write the term in this fashion: “occupation”? Why did you use scare quotes? The “occupation” is not just “famous” but real. And “famous” because it is real. And illegal. If the Israeli occupation is to ensure peace then it is clearly doing a profoundly SH!TTY job, if anyone is to take seriously the hasbarist whining about Palestinian “terrorism”.

        You and other hasbarists don’t fear “terrorism” [I use scare quotes on purpose, for I question the label given the social relations reality on the ground] but it is the prospect of the dispossessed defending themselves against the predations perpetrated by a modern nation state that frightens you.

        But just for sh!ts and giggles, let us say that Hamas is Hitler’s legacy (wasn’t that supposed to by the PLO?). Just how is Hamas supposed to pull off the Holocaust 2.0? Where are their concentration camps? Where are their gas chambers? What is their genocide-based infrastructure? How many Jews have been rounded up by Hamas (or, the PLO in the old days) and sent to their deaths? It is assumed that Jews, for some reason, offend Palestinians so much that only a new genocide against Jews will slake this murderous thirst. If this is true, the Palestinians are the world’s worst genocidal maniacs, a “race” of incompetents whose population members die in numbers far greater than their purported victims of choice, the hated Israeli Jews.

        What kind of genocidal-ist goes up against the most powerful military in the Middle East – a nuclear military, mind you – with homemade rockets that almost never land on any persons and are fired from behind “security walls” – erected by their chosen victims, no less – while living in squalid cantons created by their victims, have their homes razed by their victims, and their land expropriated by their victims, be displaced by their victims, rely on their victims to disburse funds or allow food and medicine into the land of those that would wish an elimination-ist program on them, while their victims live in up-to-date apartment blocks and suburban oasis whose lawns are maintained by water diverted away from Palestinians’ withering orchards and dying farms by their chosen victims, and have all of their travelling movements militarily policed by their victims who use the most modern social control technologies available – and all of this capacity which is delivered to the hands of the Palestinians’ chosen victims is paid for by the government of most powerful nation on the face of the Earth?

        Are THESE people, these pathetic Palestinians, to whom Hitler has bequeathed his unfinished business of anti-Jewish mass murder? Somewhere in Hell, Adolph must be shaking his head in despair and wishing he had found a more worthy inheritor of his project.

        Seriously, what self-respecting genocidal-ist society does not FIRST set up a system of inequality that places themselves as its master race BEFORE getting around to laying waste to the targeted subject population? At this, the laying of the social and institutional groundwork being the most important proto-genocidal project, the Palestinians have utterly failed. Frankly, it would seem as if they NEVER EVEN TRIED TO DO IT. How lazy can they be? You cannot do genocide if you don’t first in some way already rule over your potential victims.

        I do find it intriguing that these questions never come up when discussing the assumed genocidal project of the Palestinians.

      • Pablo September 19, 2014 at 10:26 pm | #

        Man, you can’t even get good quality Hasbara anymore. This blog deserves better paid shills spewing propaganda in the comments.

      • astudenteds654 September 21, 2014 at 12:03 am | #

        A lot was said in response to my post, and quite frankly, I’m flattered. At times, I’m bewildered and even slightly amused at certain things that were said. But I want to stay focused on what I originally wanted to post, namely the Anti-Semitic relevance to Anti-Israel rhetoric. For whatever it’s worth, I’m really not the only person who feels this way. People like German Chancellor Angela Merkel hint to the same sentiments. That is, Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitism are related. Empathy and a sense of history (especially Jewish history) is critical in understanding as to why people like myself are fearful. For hundreds of years, Jews were persecuted. They were either expelled, tortured, forced converted, or usually—just killed. People hoped places like Germany which was a democracy and had a thriving Jewish culture would certainly be different. But history shows otherwise. Global circumstances like German nationalism and economic pressure propelled WWII and the Holocaust. There were plenty of warning signs, but everybody ignored them, figuring the worst just can’t happen. But before anybody knew it, people were killed left and right. The whole world went to chaos and madness. It is therefore imperative that we watch our rhetoric. Yes, Israel can be criticized and I’m not saying it shouldn’t be, but what are the implications behind it? What is so unique about Israel that it gets the heaviest criticisms out of any country on Earth? There are high tensions between Russia and Ukraine. I don’t see worldwide protests kicking and screaming on the injustices. There are situations far worse than Israel. Nobody seems to care. Coming back, what does that have to do with me and my theory? Because, this looks like another “re-run” of Jewish history. The only difference is people are too embarrassed to say they hate Jews, so they disguise it as saying Israel is doing all the wrong things. It’s an encoded message that says Israel is wrong and the Jews around the world are responsible because people believe, rightly or wrongly, that essentially Jews and Israel are the same thing. I can only hope that people like me are absolutely wrong. It’s just an illusion and the truth is organizations like Hamas really are in fact peaceful.———————–Right, and Jimmy Carter really was the best president ever.

    • astudenteds654 September 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm | #


      This is exactly what I was afraid of. I know this is an isolated incident, but it concerns me. And don’t tell me about Zionists or Israel and how it’s much worse because it doesn’t justify this incident. And don’t tell me it’s totally unrelated because if you think about it, you’ll realize it’s at least suspicious. I don’t believe freedom of speech should be suppressed, but it would be wise to at least watch what we say or do.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 23, 2014 at 2:14 pm | #

        Here is the article, in full, in the link:

        “A Jewish married couple were verbally and physically attacked in New York City by assailants yelling anti-Jewish statements.

        “On Monday evening, a gang pulled up in two cars and several motorcycles and surrounded the couple on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the New York Post reported. Several of the vehicles displayed Palestinian flags.

        “The wife was hit with a water bottle and her husband was punched in the side of his head, according to the newspaper, which cited law enforcement sources.

        “Police reportedly believe the couple was singled out because the husband was wearing a yarmulke.

        “The Upper East Side is an affluent neighborhood with a large Jewish population.

        And what has this to do with AMCHA’s (*Munchm Quchi*) McCarthyite list of scholars, exactly?

  16. Fake Herzog September 16, 2014 at 2:59 pm | #

    “If those of you who agree with their comments aren’t just being mostly cynical, please think about the difference between boycotting state institutions (and expressly not individuals), and making a smear-list of individuals in the US, with which this AMCHA have made themselves judge and jury and declared the people on their list – none of whom they necessarily even know – of being biased in the classroom because they don’t recite the party line of AMCHA outside of the classroom.”

    It is really quite simple — if you support the BDS campaign, something is wrong with your thought process and you probably won’t be a fair or good teacher. Therefore, as a student, you are advised to avoid that class. Seems smart and clear to me.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm | #

      Now, if we could just get proof of that. Like, say, student evaluations of their professors.

      Ever notice how no Jewish student (or Jewish student group) has ever brought suit against any university because they were experiencing actual unfair grading, due to anti-Israel “bias”, by any of its professors? The victim of such a breach of fairness should have legal standing in a court of Law, no?

      In the absence of any evidence of such a breach, what is a nervous Jewish student — and the people who support her — to do?

      A blacklist! It worked once — until it stopped. Then there is that smelly rep that “blacklist” has about it. After all, everyone has forgotten all about that McCarthyism stuff. AMCHA (*Munchma Quchi*) is onto something. What could go wrong?

    • jonnybutter September 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm | #

      ‘fake herzog’ is a great name for you. You are so unlike the real-imaginary Herzog.

      Not only would proof, as Donald says, be nice, but how about even just a coherent argument? How about *any* argument?

  17. SPS September 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm | #

    to SteveK28. The BDS call is one to boycott, divest, and sanction Israeli academic *institutions* that support occupation. This is a very important distinction from the statement you are making. As a matter of fact, colleges and universities are being asked to invite Israeli scholars to their campuses. See here: http://www.theasa.net/images/uploads/ASA_Boycott_FAQs.pdf

  18. Brian September 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm | #

    I thought the whole Salaita drama was because he didn’t adequately differentiate btw criticisms of Israel and Jewish supporters of Israel. Now we’re saying criticisms of is Israel are in fact inherently criticism of Jewish people and culture? Huh?

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm | #

      That would not have helped him. It does not help critics of Israel who are practicing Jews.

      • Brian September 16, 2014 at 5:02 pm | #

        In other words the only acceptable way to be is to never criticize Israel, correct? It’s the only logic that makes sense if you consider the wide variety of people who have been f*cked over by Zionist apologists of Israel — Finkelstein, Salaita, professors in Israel who are insufficiently pro-state, etc. etc.

  19. BillR September 16, 2014 at 5:41 pm | #

    The notion of being pro or anti-State is an interesting one. Israel is the only self-identified “Western” country which is often referred to by even its first-class citizens as ‘the State’. Just as Zionism sprang from some of the most toxic currents of thinking in 19th century Mitteleuropa, the notion of the ‘Holy State’ (Heiligstaat)–in whose name and for whose reasons any and all crimes are permissible–also comes from the same time and space:

    The “State”–Der Staat–became a sacred being, transcending all other loyalties…It is impossible to exaggerate the influence of the Prussian model on the Zionist movement in almost all spheres of life…Perhaps the most important thing we inherited from Prussia was the sacred notion of the “State” (Medina in Hebrew) – an idea that dominates our entire life. Most countries are officially a “Republic” (France, for example), a “Kingdom” (Britain) or a “Federation” (Russia). The official name “State of Israel” is essentially Prussian.

    • Brian September 16, 2014 at 8:46 pm | #

      Not surprising given the time frame you speak of — all these philosophies sprang from the same f-ed ideas about the exclusivist and exclusionist nature of modern nation-states: Germany for Germans, Israel for Jews, etc.

      • BillR September 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm | #

        yes, most people in US, UK, and France don’t realize how profoundly anti-Enlightenment and anti-individual the founding values of Israel are, rooted as the are in the most calamitous “organic” notions of German romantic nationalism. As explained by two aged Israelis who were present at founding of this latter day Prussia:

        …[T]he “state-centered” system of values that lies at the center of Israeli society’s culture until this day. What we are dealing with here is an ideology that sees the state and its “security” as the most important value, having priority over any individual interests.

        This is something deeply rooted in Israeli culture—a semi-fascist culture, as described by late critical sociologist Baruch Kimmerling. It admires what left Zionist social scientists from the functionalist-structuralist school, led in the first decades of the state by S.N. Eisenstadt, liked to call the “collective goals” of society. These imagined “collective” goals were pointed out as a justification to subdue individual aspirations and rights that, in an apparent contradiction to any liberal-democratic tradition, are regarded as “egoistic.”

        and the specialist on Fascism, Zeev Sternhell on “Nationalist Socialism”:

        [N]ationalist socialism was based on the idea of the nation as a cultural, historical, and biological unit, or figuratively, an extended family. The industrial worker was regarded as an organic part of the whole, and the whole took precedence over the individual. The blood ties and the cultural ties linking members of the nation, their partnership in the total national effort, took precedence over the position of the individual in the production system.

  20. Cornell Fleischer September 16, 2014 at 11:22 pm | #

    My letter, sent the day before the vote:

    Esteemed members of the Board of Trustees,

    I write to you as a member of the academic community, resident of the state of Illinois, and signatory to the petition of boycott of UIUC until the “de-hiring” of Steven Salaita is rescinded. I fervently hope that you will reconsider and reverse Chancellor Wise’ rash and inadequately informed decision not to put the appointment before you, as is routine and customary. Like my colleague Patchen Markell, I hope to offer something helpful to your deliberations by making concrete—from my own experience—the seeming abstractions of academic freedom and freedom of speech.
    As a historian of the Middle East and Ottoman Empire I have for decades inhabited the highly politicized and potentially explosive terrains that constitute my subject; I use the plural advisedly because there are many more cleavages than the Arab-Israeli conflict, although popularly this latter is often made to stand for the entirety of “the Middle East.” I do not know Mr. Salaita, but do know his territory, as it were, and that in the U.S. Academy. Make no mistake, since 9/11/2001 all major research universities that have invested in Middle Eastern studies (and much of the investment comes from the U.S. government under the National Defense Education Act, Title VI) have been exposed to pressures, external to the university and its faculty, exerted by a consistent campaign to discredit, even eliminate such programs as the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago precisely because they represent independent and authoritative venues for teaching and studying the languages, cultures, and histories of all of the region, from multiple perspectives. The goal of the campaign is to delimit not only the spaces in which the “Middle East” can be discussed or studied, but also, frankly, to control how it can be publicly discussed, and by whom, and when. Tactics have ranged from crude (but sometimes effective) intimidation and verbal violence (“Is it true that you in the Center are apologists for terrorism?” a caller once asked me when I was acting as director in 2001), to the more sophisticated Campus Watch website, which encouraged students to record and report on their professors of Middle Eastern history who were then blacklisted on the website; to more apparently considered (and still inappropriate) proposals in Washington that Foreign Language and Area Studies Centers funding be strictly tied to the production of research and teaching in support of, and consonant with, US policy in the region (this after the 2003 invasion of Iraq).
    Universities are institutions that ensure a protected space within which learning is preserved and knowledge generated through discussion and argument; they are not supposed to be in the business of determining and policing the boundaries of acceptable or “useful” knowledge based on short-term or merely financial understandings of utility or expediency. To succumb to external pressures, whether exerted by governments or communities or individuals, to impose curricula would vitiate those principles, and so universities worthy of the name turn a deaf ear.
    Please allow me an illustration in closing: In 1998, after five years as a tenured full professor at the University of Chicago, I was appointed to a newly created chair in Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies. A significant portion of the endowment was provided by the Turkish government as part of a public relations campaign to give the country greater visibility in the US university landscape. I was uncomfortable because, knowing the terrain and its constituencies, I understood that members of the Turkish government and community would assume that I was “their” paid retainer and public voice; that opponents of the government, domestic or foreign, would make the same assumption; and that therefore the chair would likely bring me, and the University, more political headaches than benefit. I voiced my misgivings to the provost at the time, the eminent scholar of Consitutional and First Amendment law Geoffrey Stone. Provost Stone’s response to me was, “If anyone suggests to you that you should be doing something as the holder of this chair, send them to me and I will explain to them why that is not the case.” And so I put my misgivings aside, knowing that the institution would protect me even, perhaps especially, from donors. Everyone won: Turkey got its name in lights in the US academy, the endowment ensured that my subjects will always be taught here, the University and I maintained integrity at the same time that the institution was relieved of the burden of part of my salary.
    To allow to stand Chancellor Wise’ revocation of a legitimate offer of appointment with tenure generated through due process starting with the faculty will send a message—and one that now has global reach—precisely opposite to the one Provost Stone articulated with such force. It will tell the faculty that they are neither valued nor trusted, that administration will not protect them, and that the intellectual mission of the university, not to mention the minutiae of curricula, can and will ever be subordinated to perceived financial interest. In short, the traditional firewalls that protect all constituencies in the exercise of their various functions, and which maintain institutional integrity and reputation, will have been razed, and it is doubtful that restoring them in calmer times would be an easy task given how the fire has spread.
    I thank you for your patience.

    Sincerely yours,
    Cornell H. Fleischer
    Kanuni Suleyman Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies
    The University of Chicago

  21. Brian September 17, 2014 at 7:44 am | #

    Corey in Haaretz today!

  22. Brian September 17, 2014 at 7:48 am | #

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