I published an article on the Norman G. Finkelstein denial of tenure and promotion case at DePaul University in Illinois Academe, the publication of the Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors. Some professor wrote a scathing criticism of the issue for excessive coverage of the Finkelstein case and specifically excoriated my article.
The editor, John Wilson, sent an e-mail to the State Council that contained this characterisation: “He accused Peter of being “Jew-hating” and claimed his description of Alan Dershowitz as “affluent” was an anti-Semitic stereotype.” This academician apparently is unaware that Dr Finkelstein is the son of parents who survived the holocaust during World War II and is of the Jewish faith. I suppose this uninformed critic can explain how defending an individual of Dr Finkelstein’s provenance for six months from an unwarranted ideological persecution could be construed as racist or ethnically biased. I was one of the most openly supportive members of the academy, in a variety of media, in the Finkelstein case and find it risible that my action’s could be construed in this egregious manner.
I find it perplexing that referring to Professor Dershowitz as “affluent” can be so inductively distorted as an anti-Semitic stereotype. Is referring to Bill Gates as “affluent” an example of anti-white or anti-Christian stereotypical excess? Could a reference to Oprah Winfrey as one of the most “affluent” persons in the nation become a stereotypical inference that all African-Americans are financially secure in this racist, neo-Jim Crow “Axis of Evil.”
My purpose was to draw a class distinction between a tenured, highly paid, senior professor at Harvard University Law School persecuting and trying to extirpate the livelihood of a younger assistant professor seeking the granting of tenure and promotion to associate professor of political science. Mr Dershowitz’s affluence is an appropriate contrast in describing the disparities of power between him and former DePaul University Professor Finkelstein. I mentioned specifically that I construed Professor Dershowitz’s egregious and arrogant intervention in the Finkelstein case as indicative of hatred.
I think the law professor needed to be exposed and characterised as a vicious bully who attacked a very vulnerable professor who was struggling to carve out a career in academia. Tenure is significant as an economic event in the life of a professor and I will continue to draw that distinction between a likely multi-millionaire professor and one who is now without a steady academic income. If the outraged professor who resented my article believes that an accurate reference to an individual’s financial position is a stereotypical assertion directed against an entire race or ethnicity, then stupidity indeed is the salient characteristic of that observation.
This is the vicious tactic that many Zionists and other would be censors employ to silence critics of Israel or who attack elements of the Israel Lobby. They can’t respond substantively or with intellection so they trot out the good ‘ol racialist or anti-Semitic argument as if that is the closer. Well folks it is not the great silencer with me because that dog won’t hunt and if it does, I will disarm it with reason, professionalism and determination.