Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pro-Israel Professor targeted at Connecticut College

David Bernstein has been covering this story at The Volokh Conspiracy (Washington Post).  First here:
The hypocrisy and dishonesty of attacks on Connecticut College professor Andrew Pessin 
Andrew Pessin is a distinguished philosophy professor at Connecticut College. He is also, as I understand it, the only Jewish professor at the college who regularly speaks up on behalf of Israel in an intellectual climate that is often dominated by left-wing and foreign students hostile to Israel.
This made him the target of one Lamiya Khandaker, a student who took his intro to philosophy class without incident last Fall. . . .

The background and links provided in this article go a long way toward clarifying what at first appears to be a murkier picture.
In the past few days, Bernstein has followed up the story here:
“Equity and Inclusion” at Connecticut College (see important update) 
. . . 
Th[e] controversy seems to have arisen out of an effort to shame and silence a rare active pro-Israel voice at the college. A pro-Palestinian student activist, a founder of a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, dredged up an old Facebook post of Pessin’s eight months after it was written in which he analogized the situation in Gaza to a “wild pit bull,” refused to accept his totally reasonable explanation that the derogatory metaphor in the post was aimed at Hamas and not Palestinians in general, and refused to accept his apology for any misunderstanding. Instead, she chose to make an international incident out of Pessin’s post, accusing him of racism. . . .

Among the many disturbing aspects of this story is the utter failure of the Connecticut College administration and especially its "Interim Deans of Equity and Inclusion" to deal with this incident in a manner that even approximates objective inquiry.  Meanwhile, it has elicited blatantly antisemitic comments such as this one in the CC student newspaper:

Nothing New Here  
The opinion Mr. Pessin expressed in a decidedly unwise unguarded moment is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to Jewish thought and what has been spoken and taught by high ranking Rabbis in Israel to Israeli leaders themselves. Whether it was Rabbi Yosef Ovedia saying Goyim were only put on this earth to serve Jews, or Yitzak Rabin saying “We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters” or Knesset member Ayelet Shaked saying “‘Mothers of all Palestinians should also be killed’ the callous superiority in the Zionist mind that these people, however offending the opinion may be to one’s senses, are somehow superior and anointed by god to rule over all others on earth as cattle, animals, insects, this is a LONG STANDING way of thinking with these people, and the primary reason for pogroms against them throughout the millenia.

Aside from the fact that only one of those "quotes" (the first one) is remotely accurate or even attributable to the person supposedly being quoted, is it not time for college administrations to start waking up to the resurgence of antisemitism on our campuses and the role their "politically correct" responses to controversy potentially play in facilitating it?