Friday, February 16, 2007
*Brandeis Defunded by Rich Likudniks*
*Super-wealthy donors have retaliated against Brandeis University *
inviting former president Jimmy Carter to speak on campus in connection
with his book on Israeli Apartheid in the West Bank. They said they will
withold further donations *to the school*
The president of Brandeis, Jehuda Reinharz, once commented on Middle
East Centers at major American universities, saying, "My problem is not
the anti-Zionism or even that many of them are anti-American, but that
they are third-rate." Why exactly should he judge their scholarship by
whether or not they are Zionists? Does everyone have to be a Zionist? As
for the Red-baiting and vague, general put-down of the works of other
academics, it is too despicable for words. Reinharz notoriously thought
well of the "scholarship" of Joan Peters, whose "From Time Immemorial"
was dismissed by Israeli historian Yehoshua Porath as a forgery.
So I have to say it is delicious that Reinharz himself is now having the
economic plug pulled on him by rich old bullies who think, by virtue of
his invitation to Jimmy Carter, that he is anti-Zionist, anti-American
and third rate.
Carter's book, by the way, is mostly just Christian Zionism. It ignores
1400 years of Muslim history in Palestine and Jerusalem, accepts
Peters's false thesis of significant in-migration of Arabs in the
interwar period, and only dares raise some timid protests about the
execrable treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories by
Israeli occupiers and colonists.
If even Carter can't protest even this much without causing a whole
university to be defunded, then there is something radically wrong with
higher education in the United States. And what is wrong with it has
nothing to do with the (quite high) standard of scholarship in Middle
Eastern studies. It has to do with radical intolerance of any views that
depart from a rightwing Zionist orthodoxy, and a willingness by
upholders of that orthodoxy to deploy big money to punish anyone or any
institution that departs from it.
By the way, I have several friends on the Brandeis faculty, and their
academic scholarship is first-rate. I hope they can go on enlightening
us. Scholarship, pace Reinharz, is not a zero sum game. We are all
enriched by the work of good scholars everywhere.
/posted by Juan @ * 2/16/2007 06:11:00 AM*
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