Zionist Lobby Targets Another Tenured Professor
By Doug Henwood
May 05, 2009 "Counterpunch" -- Doug Henwood: We're now joined by William Robinson, who is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, someone I met about six or seven years ago at a conference and, although I've disagreed with him on some issues, I though he's a serious and thoughtful guy. I was very distressed to learn, reading Insider Higher Ed, the website, today that he's being persecuted by the Zionist lobby for an e-mail that he sent around to some of his students. Welcome William Robinson, tell us the story of what you sent and what's been happening.
William Robinson: Yes, good afternoon to everyone. I included some material which was highly critical of the Israeli invasion of Gaza as part of the reading material for a course on globalization and global affairs, and this was in January. And I am now facing charges, here at the university, of anti-semitism and violating the faculty code of conduct because two students in the course - there were eighty students - these two submitted a formal letter of complaint that they found offensive the material condemning the invasion of Gaza. The students immediately withdrew from the course, I don't even know them personally. And what is particularly egregious about this case is not that the students submitted a complaint - any student is allowed to do that - but rather that the university took the complaint seriously and is actually prosecuting me...
DH: You have tenure right?
WR: Yes, I am tenured, I am a full time professor...
DH: So in theory you're protected against persecution for your beliefs.
WR: No, in theory, I have total, I and even if I don't have tenure, have academic freedom, and this is in total violation of my academic freedom and of all of the principles of academic freedom, and of the university's own charter on academic freedom, and the American Association of University Professors principles and procedures on academic freedom, so there is absolutely no basis for any of this. What's going on, and I want to explain, behind the scenes we have been able to find out - students on campus and faculty have formed a Committee to Defend Academic Freedom which is taking up this issue, and by the way, there is a blog that they put up with all of this information, which at some point I would like to give your listeners - but we have found out that the Anti-Defamation League, which, as you know, and your listeners probably know, is an organization which, at one time, did very good and very important work in denouncing anti-Semitism, but since then has become a, basically, a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, a defender of the policies and practices of the Israeli state, and goes after and attacks anyone that criticizes those policies. So these students did not even accuse me of doing anything which we would consider anti-Semitism - discrimination against Jews, against the Jewish religion and so forth - they said openly and outright that the professor introduces material which criticized the state of Israel and that equals anti-semitism.
DH: Now, I think some people found offensive that you had likened Israeli behavior to the Nazis. Is that an issue?
WR: Well I didn't do that. What I did was I forwarded several items from the world media, from the internet media. One item was an article written by a Jewish journalist in a Jewish newspaper here in the United States, and it was criticizing the invasion of Gaza...
DH: So you didn't endorse this position?
WR: I didn't endorse it but I did include, I said, in presenting this material, I said that Gaza is Israel's Warsaw and I explained the context. That's because in Warsaw the Nazi's surrounded Warsaw, concentrated Jews in Warsaw, wouldn't let anyone in, wouldn't let anyone out, wouldn't let supplies in, wouldn't let supplies out; as a result there was famine and disease and so forth...
DH: Which is exactly what's...
WR: ...exactly and precisely what the Israeli's are doing in Gaza. And that's been denounced by the Red Cross, the United Nations, the international human rights organizations, and moreover, academic freedom totally allows me to present such controversial material and that's part of what the university is all about. We academically debate these controversial issues. I want to explain though what happened. We got some inside information in the last week. The president of the Anti-Defamation League Abraham Fox-...
WR: Foxman, he arrived here in Santa Barbara and he called a meeting with a select group of faculty, and he called the meeting for no other reason than to say that we want Professor Robinson prosecuted, and this is explosive. We have just learned about this; we're going to go public with it. And so there is this outside Israel lobby which has come on to campus, and which is accusing me of anti- Semitism and of doing all of these terrible things in order to create an atmosphere of complete intimidation. You know that anyone who criticizes the policies of the state of Israel is silenced, and is given that label of anti-smitism; that's a way of creating this atmosphere of intimidation, that no one can speak out about what's going on in Israel-Palestine, and so forth. That's the larger context.
DH: Ok, I'm sorry to make this so rushed, but this is a last minute addition and the rest of the show is full, just let me conclude...What can people do?
WR: [Go to] sb4af.wordpress.com. That's the blog that the Committee to Defend Academic Freedom has set up, and a lot of this information is on there, a lot of the documents are on there.
DH: All right, well thank you William Robinson and best of luck in your fight and we'll be back to look at this in the future.
WR: Thank-you, thank-you very much.
DH: I've been speaking with William Robinson, who is a professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, under persecution by the intellectual police at the Zionist lobby, the Anti-Defamation League.
Doug Henwood is the editor of the Left Business Observer and host of WBAI's Behind the News.
large numbers of Jews - entire families - already on fire, jumped from the windows. We made sure that these, as well as the other Jews, were liquidated immediately.
In their letters, senior Rebecca Joseph and junior Tova Hausman accused Robinson of violating the campus' faculty code of conduct by disseminating personal, political material unrelated to his course.
It seems blatant to me that Professor Williams has his own agenda in this issue - accusing Israel of genocide and comparing them to the Nazis is an opinion (quite an offensive and insensitive one to a lot of people), and it is questionable whether it is the place of academics to advocate for their own opinion on such a controversial subject.
Robinson said he regularly sends his students voluntary reading material about current events for the global affairs course, and that no one raised questions when he subsequently discussed his e-mail. "The whole nature of academic freedom is to introduce students to controversial material, to provoke students to think and make students uncomfortable," said Robinson, a UC Santa Barbara professor for nine years.
The Socratic Method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate rational thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defense of one point of view is pitted against another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point.
If I'd received that email I probably would have taken it further too, and I'm not Jewish.
Hundreds Protest Closed Egypt-Gaza Border By Jessica Desvarieux Cairo 03 January 2009 Egyptian security face protestors, who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, 2 Jan. 2009 Egyptian security face protestors, who attempted to take to the streets after Friday prayers in Cairo, 2 Jan. 2009 Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood opposition group called for mass protests against the government's response to Israeli airstrikes in Gaza but police moved to quell street protests over the issue. Fights between police officers and protesters broke out in Cairo, Friday, and dozens of arrests were reported. In Egypt, about 400 people gathered near the Al Fatah Mosque in Cairo to protest the ongoing Israeli attacks in Gaza and to get the Egyptian government to open the border between Gaza and Egypt.
He didn't just say Gaza was a ghetto. He said it was "Israel's Warsaw". Do you not understand how offensive this is to someone who is Jewish and the memories of the atrocities committed by the Nazis are still fresh in their cultural conscience? Are you really that lacking in empathy?
And yes I am perfectly well aware that Egypt has closed the Philadelphi Route. The difference is that Israel sends aid through its secured borders, Egypt does not. (PS don't bother clicking the link, it's just Zionist propaganda after all right?)
Do you not understand how offensive this is to someone who is Jewish and the memories of the atrocities committed by the Nazis are still fresh in their cultural conscience? Are you really that lacking in empathy?
He didn't just say Gaza was a ghetto. He said it was "Israel's Warsaw". Do you not understand how offensive this is to someone who is Jewish
Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
reply to post by masonwatcher
In addition, how long will Israel continue to use the holocaust as an excuse for people to feel "sorry" for them?
By the way, Robinson himself IS JEWISH, so your argument also falls by the wayside with that fact
Ranting about how Zionists (read pesky Joos) control America does nothing for your argument, it just makes you sound irrational and paranoid.
Ranting about how Zionists (read pesky Joos)
Congrats, I presume you just found this out otherwise you'd have mentioned it sooner?
Do you not understand how offensive this is to someone who is Jewish
By the way, Robinson himself IS JEWISH, so your argument also falls by the wayside with that fact.
Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
You're not worth wasting any more time over. You've made my short ignore list.
Originally posted by masonwatcher
reply to post by mattpryor
Perhaps you'll allow me to summarize your arguments on your behalf
Why?! Why do you have the compulsion to attempt to summarize his argument? The Prof adequately stated his points.
Maybe if I continue to disagree and protest these Jew-bashing threads I might make it onto Masonwatcher's ignore list too
Originally posted by mattpryor
It seems blatant to me that Professor Williams has his own agenda in this issue - accusing Israel of genocide and comparing them to the Nazis is an opinion (quite an offensive and insensitive one to a lot of people), and it is questionable whether it is the place of academics to advocate for their own opinion on such a controversial subject. He also did not give his students the opportunity to contest this opinion. If I'd received that email I probably would have taken it further too, and I'm not Jewish.