Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Solidarity with William I. Robinson

I do not personally know Dr. Robinson. I am also not familiar with his scholarship. All I know is that he is a tenured professor of sociology at University California of Santa Barbara of Jewish heritage who is being threatened with termination for criticizing Israel's recent atrocities in the Gaza Strip. His crime is drawing parallels between the Israeli policy of starving the Gaza Strip with the Nazi policy of starving the Warsaw Ghetto. Two students complained to the ADL about his comparison and they in turn pressured the University Administration. The Univeristy is now forming a faculty committee to explore whether he should be disciplined before a standing committee. The ADL presumably wants Robinson to be stripped of his tenure and fired. Unfortunately, the administration of the university seems to be heading down this path. This is the most blatant violation of academic freedom in the US I have ever seen. If not even tenure can protect what I would consider a perfectly reasonable criticism of Israeli state terrorism then we Americans really should stop pretending there is any such thing as academic freedom or freedom of speech at American universities. I fully expect the usual suspects, professors who are progressive except Palestine, to either remain silent in the face of this outrage or to actively support the ADL's efforts to eliminate freedom of speech for American scholars.

Hat Tip: Mark Elf and Crew at JSF


Eye of the Abyss said...

The US Zionists assault on our cherished constitutional freedom of expression continues apace - trying to redefine ever narrower, what speech is protected. These constitutional traitors would trash the First Amendment for Israel.
All well and good, the writer finds Robinson's expressions "reasonable criticism of Israel's state terrorism". But keep in mind, the constitution protects even "unreasonable speech". It is your right to speak - right or wrong, reasonable or unreasonable - without punishment.

Operating Thetan said...

I see this as a victory. Every blacklisting by the neoliberals/neocons makes their feared anti-Zionist cause stronger.

In the meantime, Robinson has no choice but to move into his parents' basement as Finkelstein did.

"Fortunately, he kept the lease on his late father’s threadbare rent-stabilized apartment, on Ocean Parkway, and there he’s retreated."