Historians and other scholars rebuked for signing anti-Israel petition

Question: What’s the difference between the Arab League and the academic Left that despises Israel? Answer: Only the Arab League is willing to condemn Hezbollah.

The surreal politics of this war finds Saudi Arabia attributing “full responsibility” to Hezbollah and calling on the terrorists to “alone shoulder the crisis they have created;” it finds Kuwaiti journalists lauding the “operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon [that] are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community,” even as hundreds of American professors rush to denounce Israel for firing back at genocidal killers sworn to her destruction.

More than 1,000 such professors have signed a petition that is currently circulating on American college campuses. Written in the name of “academics who condemn Israel's aggression against Lebanon and Gaza,” the petition waxes indignant about Israel’s alleged crimes, including a “brutal bombing and invasion of Gaza,” and “acts of Israeli state terrorism” in Lebanon.

More noteworthy, however, is what the petition does not say. Not only is there no mention of Hamas or Hezbollah, but reading the petition one might conclude that terrorism plays no part in the current conflagration. Instead the petition calls for the immediate release of jailed terrorists, euphemistically described as “Palestinian and Lebanese political prisoners,” and effectively erases the role of anti-Israel terrorism in precipitating the current by asserting that “Israel's destructive and expansionist policies are primarily to blame for the seemingly perpetual ‘Middle East crisis.’”...

Dr. El Guindi, an Egyptian-born professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California, has alleged that “Israel is engaged in practices muted by the media: massacres and genocides, trafficking of human organs, genetic experimentations, inhumane torture.” Hamas’s most zealous propagandists could not improve on the inflammatory rhetoric. And much like them, El Guindi has never offered any evidence for the charges, relying on innuendo and conspiracy theories to make her case. Failing that, she considers terrorism the answer to the Palestinians’ woes. In contrast to the petition, which at least condemns the killing of civilians in Israel even if it absolves the actual murderers, El Guindi has embraced anti-Israel terrorism as an acceptable form of “resistance.” Of Palestinian terrorism, she has written that “[i]t is a universal and legitimate right,” one appropriate to “colonized people.”

Similar sentiments frequently issue from Middle Eastern Studies departments. In keeping with tradition, the most notorious of these departments, Columbia’s department of Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures (MEALAC), boasts no fewer than four representatives in the recent petition. Most prominent among them is Hamid Dabashi, the Columbia professor of Islamic studies who despises not only Israel, which he views a “ghastly state of racism and apartheid,” but also Israeli Jews, to whom Dabashi ascribes a “vulgarity of character that is bone-deep.” His crude bigotry notwithstanding, Dabashi has his followers at Columbia, among them the Iranian-born Golbarg Bashi, a visiting scholar and a protégé of Dabashi specializing in “anti-colonial theory” and “black and Third World feminisms,” whose name likewise appears on the petition. Other MEALAC faculty who endorsed the petition are Suhail Shadoud, a Syrian professor of Arabic language, and Jeffrey Sacks a lecturer in Arabic who in recent years emerged as a leading advocate of divestment from Israel at Columbia. MEALAC’s reputation as a hotbed of political extremism is plainly well deserved.

Although the petition attracted the support of many disgruntled Arab and Muslim academics--such as New York University professor Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi exile who has written that “America tattoos its imperial insignia into the bodies of Iraqi children”--it also underscored the fact that some of Israel’s most unscrupulous antagonists are themselves of Jewish ancestry, including three of the most prominent signatories: MIT’s Noam Chomsky; Norman Finkelstein of DePaul; and Joel Beinin of Stanford University.

Why these professors would sign on to a petition assailing the “psychic terror of the Israeli military campaigns in Gaza and Lebanon” while maintaining a studied silence on the actual terror that was its cause is readily explained. Chomsky is a longtime defender of Hezbollah, a sympathy born of a common hatred for the United States and Israel and demonstrated most recently when the aging radical traveled to Lebanon to pledge his support for the Shiite terrorist militia and to defend its refusal to disarm and, implicitly, to carry on its campaign of targeting Israeli civilians. Along with Chomsky, Beinin has urged that Hezbollah be regarded as an “activist” movement rather than as a terrorist group. Finkelstein, for his part, has little interest in the activities of terrorist organizations, preferring to focus on what he calls the far more egregious “state terrorism” supposedly practiced by Israel.

Behind the obscene double standard set forth in the petition, wherein Israel is attacked for defending its right to exist and terrorists escape all blame, is a conviction, all too common among the academic Left, that Israel’s very existence is both regrettable and undesirable. Thus Judith Butler, another Jewish academic who signed the petition, has declared against Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, writing that “political sovereignty based on religious status is misguided, undemocratic, and discriminatory, in principle and in practice.” (That this is precisely the end sought by Hamas, Hezbollah and their terrorist brethren is a contradiction conveniently ignored by Butler.) Another signatory, Marguerite Rosenthal, a professor of Social work at Salem State College, is an activist with a radical group calling itself Jewish Women for Justice in Israel Palestine, which blames Israel for the 60-year war waged against it. Sighing over the “desperate suicide attacks by Palestinians,” the group claims that “[f]ifty years of conflict have increasingly compromised the ideals that contributed to Israel's founding.” In the eyes of Rosenthal and countless others who committed their signatures to the petition, Israel alone can do wrong.

Of the more than twenty professors contacted for comment about the petition by FrontPageMag.com only one, NYU’s Sinan Antoon, responded. But rather than explain why he supported a petition demanding that Israel cease defending itself, while urging no such restraint on terrorist groups seeking its annihilation, Antoon attacked FrontPageMag.com contributor Daniel Pipes, whom he called “fascist and racist,” saying that the magazine‘s association with Pipes made it “fruitless to engage.”...

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Happy Go. Lucky - 8/30/2006

Because they were in a Cease Fire Agreement between the two countries that is why there was no fighting, but terrorist's intentions are not to have peace and will do anything to taunt you, kill you, kidnap you, anything to start a war. That is their business, terrorism.

When they made an attack on the Israel soldiers and kidnapped them they declared war automatically. That is the definition of an agreement. If one party retracts that agreement then the peace accord is broken. To have an agreement you have to come to some truth. For only one party to violate a wartime peace agreement is an act of war in it's very nature. You cannot do anything to incite war. A truth is the truth, a non-truth is a lie.

It is 100% Hezbollah fault and the other 98% should be Lebanon's fault for allowing such a powerful military force to operate in it's country bringing destruction on their own citizens and country. Hezbollah should have to pay for all the war time damages in both Lebanon and Israel. It was their sole fault for this and no one else's. They should also be brought before the UN and tried as War Criminals and be held liable for each and every death that ensued in Lebanon and in Israel.

If You don't know what rules are, how can you follow them? How can you ever give you word to anyone in the world if you don't know what giving your word as in "an agreement" is?

It shows groups like Hezbollah have financial backing, but not much upstairs. You should educate yourselves and learn to use your fingers to turn pages and not spend so much time on how to pull a trigger and point your fingers at Christians and Jews and the West. People from all over the world risk their lives to run to and live in our wonderful country.

Israel is a little tiny country surrounded by countries with hundreds of millions of acres of predominately Muslims and they can't leave that tiny itty bitty country Israel alone. Why? Because they don't want to. They want to give them nothing but trouble. That is a sad thing to watch on television. How you have to pick on a tiny country like that. Israel had made some concessions in that agreement, but concessions seem to never be enough, the Muslims appear as though they will not leave Israel alone until they have taken it all away from the Israeli's.

That's the view from outer space. In a religion where they tell you to convert to Islam with a gun at your head or a sword at your neck, that is more of a military maneuver than the Heavenly works of God. God doesn't demand the deaths of others and reward you with chattel in the form of virgin women. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. How can anyone believe such nonsense? Get a grip. Lies are Lies, Murder is Murder, Sex is Sex, Marriage is marriage, Heaven is Heaven and you don't have to pass through a slaughter house to get there, I thought that was a sure fire way to hell especially if you were the ones doing the slaughter.

Stephen Kislock - 8/3/2006

Who is to say Hezbollah is wrong? The history of the Mid-East/Israel is a long history of Terrorist groups, Etzel, Lehi, Irgun.

What Group Bombed the King David Hotel, Irgun! The deaths of 92 people and the wounding of 58, I guess thats OK?

I called my Congresswomans office about 10 days ago and wanted Israel Comdemned in the strongest of Lauguage for the Wanton Kiling of Civillans in Lebanon, I was called a racist and was hungup on!

Who supports Israel, not the Israeli's but me the American taxpayer. Foreign Aid 74.1 Billion, Other Aid 9.04 Billion, and that is 84.15 Billion or $23,240 Dollars American Taxpayer cost per Israeli!

I want my money back!

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