Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Anti-Semitic dimension of the controversy

At yesterday's FAS faculty meeting, some academics have decided to launch a coordinated and distasteful attack against Prof. Ruth Wisse, a brave and decent woman whom I deeply respect. Prof. Wisse has simply hinted in the media that the anti-Summers attack also had an anti-Semitic dimension.

Yesterday, Prof. Wisse had no efficient way to defend herself against the attacks of the "majority" and Prof. Laurel Ulrich even proudly said there are occassions when meetings have to be in camera, which reminds me of the Central European history of the 1940s when many things took place in camera.

I, for one, have absolutely no doubts that Prof. Wisse is right. It may be that some people only criticize her because they don't know the actual reality which is why I decided to post this comment. What do I mean by the anti-Semitic dimension? It is not just about the clearly high correlation between being anti-Israel on one side and the attitudes directed against Harvard's first Jewish president on the other side: most anti-Summers professors had also decided to support the anti-Semitic divestment campaign several years ago. More importantly, there have been quite many e-mails influencing the controversy whose character is explicitly anti-Semitic.

Let me repost excerpts of one of these e-mails that the people known to be involved in the controversy received on March 16, 2005, one day after the no-confidence vote. In my opinion, the e-mail is as anti-Semitic as it can be. Moreover, this class of e-mails was apparently determining the character of the future strategies to attack Summers. As you can see, the e-mail below mentioned Prof. Shleifer almost a year before he became a part of the algorithms of the anti-Summers warriors.

When we received these e-mails 1 year ago, most of us were already ready for everything but nevertheless, I was scared even more and thought that al-Qaeda had joined the anti-Summers league. I did not have the courage to speak about these things for half a year.

Disclaimer: the pen name as well as the real name of the author of the anti-Semitic e-mail below is known to The Reference Frame

...

Summers has been much to cozy with Professor Shleifer and his wife even though this couple may have exposed the university to millions (maybe at worst hundreds of millions of dollars of financial liability).

...

Summers has a double standard that amounts to racism.

...

Apparently, ethnic Ashkenazim on the faculty may make outrageous and extremist statements in the support of Zionism and the State of Israel, but an African American like Cornel West may not engage in relatively ordinary political activism.

Summers' commitment to racist ethnic Ashkenazi tribalism takes precedent over his commitment to free academic discourse.

He condemned the Divestment movement at Harvard for being anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent. Yet he did not give a clue to the Harvard community how to express criticism of Israel without being anti-Semitic in effect. Obviously, Summers is unwilling to tolerate criticism of Israel or of Zionism.

Summers panders wealthy racist ethnic Ashkenazim.

[Name removed] is an extreme racist ethnic Ashkenazi, who believes in the superiority of Jews over Arabs because he asserts that the historical, ethnic or national rights of Jews to Palestine are superior to the human rights (including residence rights and property rights) of the native population and because he assumes that the Jewish settler population should be privileged over the native population.

... [Attacks against Prof. Wisse removed.]

Summers effectively prevented Sheikh Zayed from contributing to the University because of right-wing racist ethnic Ashkenazi Zionist complaints that a Larouchite had given a talk at a think tank (apparently one of many) funded by Sheikh Zayed.

Larouchites have occasionally given talks at the Pentagon apparently by invitation of ethnic Ashkenazi Neoconservative advisors to the President.

...


In summary, I believe that all people who have said bad things about Prof. Wisse because they were unaware that she is completely right and she has been a target of nasty anti-Semitic threats should immediately apologize to her. Although she is a brave woman, she definitely needs a protection instead of scary attacks "in camera" and anonymous threats.

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