Jewish Profs at UW Feud Over Salaita Speech
University of Washington Professor, Michael Rosenthal said he was “appalled” to learn of the upcoming lecture by controversial academic Steven Salaita. The statement was published in an online letter on the UW-centric blog “The Ave”. Salaita has become a poster child for academic freedom after the University of Illinois rescinded a job offer in response to a series of anti-Israel and what some have deemed to be anti-Semitic Tweets and comments.
Rosenthal, who is Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at UW and a member of the Stroum Jewish Studies Program, made clear his conviction that “academic freedom is a central value for universities and that it is important to stand up for it.” But, adds Rosenthal “I do not see how this excuses [Salaita’s] use of language that many (especially Jews and myself among them) find deeply offensive.”
In his letter addressed to Professor Rob Wood, the UW chair of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Rosenthal explains his objection…
“[Salaita’s] use of well-known tropes of anti-Semitic discourse to express his anger—for instance, his claim reminiscent of the blood libel that “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised?” [Salaita tweet, July 19, 2014]—contributes to a climate in which Jews around the world are blamed for the actions of the Israeli government. Murderous attacks against innocent Jews in a synagogue in Copenhagen, a supermarket in Paris, or in the Jewish Federation offices in Seattle have all been justified in the same way.”
Lamenting the double standard practiced by many members of the American left, Rosenthal notes “It seems easy for many people to see the difficulty here in the case of speech that many liberals find offensive, such as invective directed against racial and sexual minorities. I cannot imagine any academic unit on campus sponsoring the talk of a professor who lost his job due to the use of hateful speech directed against these minorities. It seems that the case of offensive speech directed against Jews is different and is acceptable to some people on campus.”
It seems that the case of offensive speech directed against Jews is different and is acceptable to some people on campus.
The AAUP has justified the sponsorship of the Salaita lecture as a principled defense of free speech. Rosenthal questions the sincerity of this assertion. “Let’s not pretend that this is a matter of principle. If it were, then the AAUP would be sponsoring talks by every academic who has been accused of or disciplined for using speech that is racist, homophobic, or sexist, etc. I don’t see that happening.”
Professor Rosenthal narrows down the motivations of the AAUP sponsorship of the Salaita lecture to two possibilities. “The only plausible explanations are either that the UW-Chapter of the AAUP believes that hateful speech directed against Jews is acceptable or that it supports the political causes that Mr. Salaita advocates. The first explanation is deplorable. The second is problematic because I do not see the purpose of the AAUP as supporting a partisan political agenda related to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.”
Either the UW-Chapter of the AAUP believes that hateful speech directed against Jews is acceptable or it supports the political causes that Mr. Salaita advocates.
Steven Schwartz, Professor of Pathology and Director of the Cardiovascular Pathology Training Program at the University of Washington, differs with his colleague, saying “I could not disagree with Professor Rosenthal more.” Schwartz complains that Salaita was denied a position at the University of Illinois because University of Illinois chancellor Phyllis Wise “was afraid of reaction that should be guaranteed to every American under the First Amendment.”
Schwartz, who self describes as a member of the Israel critical left wing group Peace Now, is certainly consistent in his support of free speech for all, along with other political links his website features an image of a swastika along with a hyperlink to the American Nazi Party.
Without addressing Salaita’s prior inflammatory comments, Schwartz advises “If Professor Salaita does go too far in his speech, then Professor Rosenthal, as well as I, have the right to speak out or walk out.” Schwartz notes that Israel deserves a good reprimand for electing Benjamin Netanyahu and Salaita may be just the right man to deliver it. Says Schwartz…
“Professor Rosenthal’s message also comes at a time when the Israelis have greatly endangered the future of Israel by electing a Netanyahu led coalition of extremists more than a few of whom sadly may well deserve the kind of strong talk we are likely to hear from Steven Salaita .”
Rosenthal on the other hand explains that standing up for academic freedom does not oblige one to support hate speech. “I do not think that standing up for academic freedom requires us to ignore the content of the speech that it protects. It is one thing to support Mr. Salaita’s grievance against the University of Illinois, it is entirely another to give him a forum, on the supposed grounds of academic freedom, to defend the content of his offensive speech.”
Schwartz says he will be using his blog “The Ave” to publicize and promote attendance at the Salaita lecture.
Steven Salaita wil be speaking at the University of Washington, Gowen 301 at 6:00 pm on Monday, April 6th.
- UW Students condemn Salaita appearance (TMR)
- UW to welcome professor charged with anti-Semitism (TMR)
- What happened to Steven Salaita? (Jerusalem Post)
- De-hired professor is a University’s worst nightmare (The Forward)
- Salaita’s academic work is just as hateful as his Tweets (Tablet)
- Anti-Israel prof loses job over hateful Tweets (L.I.)
- Salaita’s comments meet State Dept. Standard for Anti-Semitism.(TMR)
WE ARE VICTIMS OF JEWISH ANTI-GOYIM HATE DAILY—THE JEWISH DOUBLE-STANDARDS EXPOSED.
It is amazing that the Judaists are very upset when somebody speaks up against them, and they call him “anti-semite” and want his job offers terminated, want him fired and want him totally destroyed.
But what about the rest of us who are abused and victimized on a daily basis by Jewish hate of the goyim?
Every day, the left-wing Jewish controlled media calls us “racists” if we speak up against immigration, which almost everybody in every nation on earth has a right to speak up against—the invasion of their countries (or their homes) by outsiders but the Judaists themselves beat up and deport African immigrants in Israel and export them to Sweden—and that is okay.
They call us holocaust deniers if we question their fabricated stories of what they call “holocaust”, but we are “Neo-nazis” if we talk about the real holocaust in Dresden.
They call us racists if we point out the large amount of black-on-white crime but they can go around killing Palestinians in Gaza with impunity.
They call Christians who believe in Chapter 1 of the Old Testament creationists and backward fundamentalists for taking the Bible literally, but when they believe they are children of Abraham, and take the Old Testament literally, they are just being true to their faith.
They believe they have a right to hate goyim and criticize us and abuse us and destroy our country through immigration but it is okay for them to preserve Israel from immigration and other criticism.
If we speak up against them, they call us “anti-semites” and want us fired; but they can speak out against us, it is okay.
And so on and on and on.
What a scam!
I head one of your reporters on NPR a women from Washington Post. It was clear from what she said, she was a leftist and it controlled her thinking and her reporting. I don’t know the name of the reporter but it was on NPR at 8 pm. as some sort of expert on the Middle East and Israel. She made many errors. She sound more like a leftist propagandist then a reporter.
Reporters are supposed to be objective not leftist.
I wonder how Professor Schwartz would react if the AAUP invited Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak. Other universities have found her presence unacceptable on campus. Why the double standard?
Salaita indeed enjoys his right of free speech. Nobody is arresting him and he has the right to spout his venom at UW as well.
Two things puzzle me, however. How is it this man is entitled to a (not yet finalized) job at the Univ of Illinois after his statements about wishing all Israeli settlers go missing (in the wake of the kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens who were later found murdered)?
And just what is it about Salaita that makes him such an attractive draw on any campus? That he is against Israel? That makes him a dime a dozen within academia.
This guy is nothing more than the second coming of Norman Finkelstein. Big deal.