The Left Is Killing Academic Freedom: Entire Academic Fields Now Are Little More Than Transmission Belts for Left-Wing-And Therefore Anti-Israel-Ideologies. Students Are Assigned Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Texts. Absent from Required Reading Are Texts by Non-Leftist Scholars

By Horowitz, David | Moment, September-October 2010 | Go to article overview

The Left Is Killing Academic Freedom: Entire Academic Fields Now Are Little More Than Transmission Belts for Left-Wing-And Therefore Anti-Israel-Ideologies. Students Are Assigned Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Texts. Absent from Required Reading Are Texts by Non-Leftist Scholars


Horowitz, David, Moment


Today, American universities are organizing centers of a propaganda campaign to delegitimize the state of Israel. This campaign stigmatizes the Jewish citizens of Israel as racists and occupiers imposing an apartheid system on their Arab neighbors. In one notorious incident in 2009, William Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, sent an email to his students on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, comparing Jews to Nazis and Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto. "If Martin Luther King were alive on this day," he wrote, "there is no doubt that he would be condemning the Israeli aggression against Gaza along with U.S. military and political support for Israeli war crimes, or that he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinians."

After receiving this email, two Jewish students dropped Robinson's course and filed a complaint against him for anti-Semitism. Their action was supported by the Anti-Defamation League and other Jewish organizations such as Stand With Us. Robinson, in turn, was defended by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the faculty senate and faculty unions. They claimed that this blatant attempt to indoctrinate his students with Hamas propaganda was a matter of academic freedom.

In fact, the reverse is true. According to the AAUP's own 1915 Declaration on the Principles of Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure: It is not the function of a faculty member in a democracy to indoctrinate his/her students with "ready-made conclusions" on controversial subjects. Hence, "in giving instruction upon controversial matters ... he should set forth justly, without suppression or innuendo, the divergent opinions of other investigators."

Although the chancellor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Henry Yang, tried to assert these principles, he was thwarted by the coalition of forces that rallied to the defense of the anti-Israel professor. This was an inevitable result given the leftward shift in most academic institutions over the last 30 years. The long-time head of the AAUP's committee on academic freedom, for example, is Joan Wallach Scott, a leader of the divestment movement and one of the principal advocates for convicted terrorist Sami al-Arian as well as for Islamist professor Tariq Ramadan, who until recently was banned from travel in the United States on the grounds that he provided material support to a terrorist organization.

Entire academic fields now are little more than transmission belts for left-wing--and therefore anti-Israel--ideologies. Students in Middle East Studies courses but also in "Global Studies" and "Peace Studies" are routinely assigned anti-Israel and anti-Semitic texts such as The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, and Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter. …

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The Left Is Killing Academic Freedom: Entire Academic Fields Now Are Little More Than Transmission Belts for Left-Wing-And Therefore Anti-Israel-Ideologies. Students Are Assigned Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic Texts. Absent from Required Reading Are Texts by Non-Leftist Scholars
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