Sunday, September 23, 2007

Knee-Jerk Reaction

Only the best is saved for the critics of Israel. You'd think there was an army of Holocaust deniers out there spewing out their junk of anti-semitism on our young minds if Israel's supporters set the rules. The accusations against Finkelstein is remarkably similar to the ones directed at Stephen Walt, a tenured political scientist at Harvard, known to most Israel's apologists as the co-author of The Israel Lobby and their new book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

Professor Richard Drake invited Stephen Walt to speak at University of Montana, only to be put under the kosh by pro-Israeli henchmen. Drake confesses about the assaults on himself and Walt:

"[F]our days before Walt's scheduled arrival, three full tenured professors... castigated Walt as the author of an ugly racist diatribe and demanded that the university invite Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz or some comparable defender of Israel to offer a rebuttal."

Similar "rebuttals" have been requested, as though listening to Mr Dershowitz would mean a total enlightenment to Israel's impeccable human rights record. Earlier this year, Brandeis University courted Professor Dershowitz so those righties could sit easy knowing that Carter had it all wrong because Dershowitz said so.

Although the assault was focused on Walt, Drake copped some flak of his own for having the audacity of "booking a critic of Israel". That equals anti-semitism in our world:

"One of my critics told me before startled witnesses that he would not rest until I had been stripped of my position of power, which manifestly had corrupted me. Someone as insensitive to Jewish issues as I was could no longer be entrusted to coordinate a university lecture series. He initiated a campaign to bring about my dismissal."

In accordance with Plaut's initiative against Finkelstein, the charges against Walt is uncanny:

"...individuals who had not attended either of his presentations to hear what he actually said called him a liar and likened him to a Holocaust denier and Ku Klux Klansman...

'It is much as if the university had brought a Holocaust denier to campus and accorded him the honors of a respected guest.'"

Our old buddy David Duke gets another mention. It's like a broken record:

"When questioned by the New York Sun about Duke’s endorsement of his article, Walt said, “I have always found Mr. Duke’s views reprehensible, and I am sorry that he sees this article as consistent with his view of the world.”"

Drake says it like it is:

"The attempt to group Walt and Mearsheimer with the likes of Faurisson and Duke reveals the real aims behind the campaign of denigration that began on my campus last September: to shut down critical inquiry into the activities of the Israel lobby and to blacken the name of anyone with the temerity to speak up about them."

Facing backlash such as this is not easy, especially for tenured professors like Walt and Mearsheimer. I distinctly remember reading an interview that featured both professors, and they decided to wait until they had tenureship before they wrote the essay on the Israel Lobby. The both of them have been speaking at numerous events thanks to the publication of their new book and they haven't been traveling alone. The usual suspects have been denouncing their every move. They've been adamant that their work is NOT anti-semitic, and that having this discussion in the open is the best thing for the Lobby.

But it's a reflex to most of Israel's supporters to slander anyone who dare speak negatively about the Jewish State and its affiliates. It comes so natural to them, probably because Israel's "humane" image has been increasingly more difficult to shape as of late.

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