|Mira Sucharov is Associate Professor of Political Science and Assistant Dean at Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, and a blogger at Haaretz.|
There is much to fisk in the article, but I shall leave it for later, trying to focus on something that seems to me (at the moment) to be a very important point. Which in this case is the famous issue of stifling the anti-Zionist discourse and freedom of speech, so dear to prof Sucharov's. "Academic freedom", as she specifies it. The danger to freedom of speech, academic or not, according to prof Sucharov, comes from an article in Wall Street Journal, titled Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar, which expresses a highly negative opinion of goings on in Vassar in general and of the lecture by an anti-Zionist professor, one Jasbir Puar, in particular. The WSJ article, co-authored by two respected scientists with a good deal of experience in education, riled the progressive community so much that, according to prof Sucharov,
Meanwhile, hundreds of faculty members from across the United States have issued a statement to Vassar’s president asking her to “write a letter to the Wall Street Journal…condemning in no uncertain terms the unjustifiable attack on Vassar and on Professor Puar.”In one particular example of the condemnation:
Ian S. Lustick, a professor of political science at University of Pennsylvania, told me by email that he signed the statement “to show solidarity against the campaign to restrict the space of politically correct discussion on anything pertaining to Israel and Palestinians.”So the article in WSJ is restricting the "politically correct" (how absurd is that - you be the judge) discussion and stifling the academic freedom? I have read that article twice and can't, no matter how I tried, find a shadow of an attempt to stifle anything. Derision - yes, criticism - in droves (not that prof Sucharov even tried to respond to it) - but nothing to suggest that the authors propose to forbid or otherwise restrict the disgusting phenomenon.
While I can't compete with a political science or gender studies professors in arcane uses of professional English, there are two English words that the nowadays progressive scientists might re-learn, to their benefit. The first one is "debate":
Debate (Noun): A discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposalHere is an example of debate:
The other word is "stifling". The word is a beloved battle cry of the modern anti-Zionists, trumpeted everywhere from the very same platforms the said anti-Zionists claim to be not allowed to.
Stifling (Noun): Forceful prevention; putting down by power or authority. "the stifling of all dissent"And here is an example of stifling, practiced far and wide in the institutions of high learning in North America lately, with total lack of resistance (and sometimes even with support) from the progressive teachers:
So, to conclude this part: The WSJ article is a good example of debate. Nothing to do with stifling - of academic or any other freedoms. And, speaking about Vassar - here is more stifling, in all its revolting glory.
The rest of this text is about fisking prof Sucharov's Haaretz blog post. Click on "Read more..." if of interest.