Clark University which was looking down a barrel of shame has reversed itself and is allowing Dr Finkelstein to speak as a guest of Students for Palestinian Rights on Monday, April 27. President John Bassett’s Clark’s shameless, pusillanimous revocation of a speaking engagement had barred him recently due to the concern about hurting feelings of those who want to silence critics of Israel and genocide in Gaza and forced population removals in the West Bank. Finkelstein is to be speak on the carnage and violation of the laws of war in besieged Gaza. Bassett’s reversal should be acknowledged and noted.
Perhaps Clark’s reversal was reaction to the protest by ACLU and concerned scholars who are resisting the taboo of discourse concerning the State of Israel. This taboo is a major threat to academic freedom, human rights and critical thinking. It is a cancer that is spreading throughout academe and it must be challenged, defeated and dishonoured for what it is–authoritarian, bullying censorship seeking an undemocratic ideological monopoly of higher education in the United States. There are other ideological assaults on academic freedom besides those of the Israel Lobby but prudence dictates a robust challenge to any and all actions intended to restrict academic freedom.
Those of you in the Worcester, Mass. area go to the lecture and support the persecuted professor’s right to speak. Hopefully, DePaul University that dishonoured itself and frankly all of higher education in denying Dr Finklestein and Mehrene Larudee tenure, will take notice that one institution, Clark U., has ultimately reversed a draconian effort to censor the prophetic wisdom of Dr Finkelstein.