Tuesday, January 15, 2019

UCLA Professors Cry Over Chancellors' Letter

Hat tip Daily Bruin and Campus Watch

In December, all ten University of California chancellors signed a statement condemning the academic boycott of Israel. Spurred in part by the fact that certain activist professors in other universities were refusing to write letters of recommendation for students wishing to study in Israel (specifically, the University of Michigan), the chancellors, normally timid by nature, finally decided that academic freedom was at risk (which it is).

Naturally, that letter led to howls of outrage from UC professors who feel their main academic calling is to trash Israel. At UCLA, two pro-Palestinian propagandists, Saree Makdisi and James Gelvin, were particularly outspoken.

(I urge the reader to check out the reader comment thread and the anti-Jewish comments of a reader who identifies himself as Paul hellenic.)

I have seen Makdisi speak at UC Irvine on two occasions. On one occasion in January 2016, he misrepresented the State Department definition of anti-semitism as including any criticism of Israel. He also complained that pro-Palestinian supporters in universities were being treated badly, a statement that turned facts on their heads since, in reality, it is the pro-Israel voices who are intimidated and disrupted with regularity. In the above article, he is quoted as saying:

"Saree Makdisi, an English professor, said in an email statement that the opposition to an Israeli boycott contradicts the university’s previous endorsements of similar boycotts, citing the UC’s travel ban on nine states that authorize discrimination against LGBTQ people.
“I don’t recall seeing any expressions of concern for how heterosexual or cisgendered people might feel hurt by this boycott, nor worries about isolating Alabama or Kansas: Indeed, such isolation is the point,” Makdisi said."

I would ask Makdisi if he is so concerned about gay rights, why doesn't he pay more attention to what happens to gays in the Arab world-especially in his much benighted Gaza (where they are thrown off rooftops)? Indeed, Israel is the only country in the region where gays can find acceptance. But Makdisi would of course respond that that is just "pink washing" (Israel taking unfair propaganda advantage of its humane treatment of gays as opposed to her neighbors!) This is the kind of logic and reasoning that prevails in academia these days.

James Gelvin is a leading figure in UCLA's Center for Near East Studies, so typical of university departments that specialize in that area of the world. CNES is nothing more than a center of pan-Arab, anti-Israel, anti-West sentiment. This is a guy who insists he doesn't use his classroom to advance his political beliefs yet puts them on his class syllabi.

The University of California is one of the more egregious examples of institutions trying to grapple with campus anti-semitism. The chancellors' letter is a positive step, but much needs to be done to better protect pro-Israel Jewish students on campus from intimidation. Hand-in-hand with that is the problem of so many oddball leftist professors, most of whom hate Israel and who use their positions as professors to shove their world views down the throats of their students.

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