Canadian Arab News
|Academic freedom doesn’t extend to those who speak out against Israel
August 9, 2007
The equation of Western democracy with individual freedom, equality and the rule of law is the great conceit that informs our perception of good and evil states. Naturally, we live in a “good” state, whereas states that do not respect these three fundamental tenets, like Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, are “evil.”
I chose this religious terminology deliberately because it depicts a fallacious moral dichotomy. We are taught to associate the abovementioned states (among others) with concentration camps, genocide, enforced conformity, propaganda, hatred and intellectual censorship. In so doing we also reinforce the convenient illusion that these repressive practices are inapplicable to “good” states like ours.
One look at the former Republic of America should be enough to convince any sentient being that such simplistic moralism is indefensible. As I show in my book The Host and the Parasite—How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America, the U.S. republic has been supplanted by a police state that mirrors the fascistic terrorism of Nazi Germany, not the enlightened liberalism of the founding Continental Congress. This degeneration began with Ronald Reagan and has reached its apogee under the current Dick Cheney-led junta.
Inasmuch as a democracy is supposed to be based on individual freedom, equality and the rule of law, it is clearly just as susceptible of corruption as any other form of government—as Plato showed in The Republic—yet an open public discussion on the obvious similarities between the U.S. and the Nazi regime is (so far) impossible.
Fascism has been neatly compartmentalized into a discrete period of history, as has the myth of the U.S. as the great democratic saviour of the free world. To accept that the U.S. could degenerate into a police state amounts to accepting that a democracy is not the epitome of political goodness and that “good” and “evil” are religious terms that have no place in political discussions.
Unless we disabuse ourselves of our fundamental conceit we cannot see that the U.S. has abandoned individual freedom, equality and the rule of law for concentration camps, genocide, enforced conformity, propaganda, hatred and intellectual censorship. Let’s take the last one, for example.
In Chapter 7 of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer describes the various ways the Nazi regime censored and otherwise debased German education:
“The Civil Service Act of 1937 required teachers to be ‘the executors of the will of the party-supported State’ and to be ready ‘at any time to defend without reservation the National Socialist State.’ An earlier decree had classified them as civil servants and thus subject to the racial laws. Jews, of course, were forbidden to teach. All teachers took an oath to ‘be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler.’...
“As early as the autumn of 1933 some 960 of them, led by such luminaries as Professor Sauerbruch, the surgeon, Heidegger, the existentialist philosopher, and Pinder, the art historian, took a public vow to support Hitler and the National Socialist regime.”
|A group of Nazis hold hands on the steps of the University of Vienna to prevent Jews from entering the building. The action led to a day of student rioting which had to be suppressed by the police.
Photo credit: U.S. National Archives, courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum photo Archives
Shirer notes that those who openly opposed the new politicized education were exceedingly small, and most of those who did were forced to emigrate. Today, in the U.S. and other “democracies,” professors who oppose the official politicized education also face threats, ostracism and libel. For the “National Socialist State” substitute the “National Zionist State.”
Dr. David Noble of York University in Toronto was libeled by the university’s administration and harassed by the Canadian Jewish Congress for his opposition to Israeli apartheid and support for Palestinians. No professor came to his defence or condemned the University administration for colluding with the Lobby.
Dr. Robert Trivers of Rutgers University had his guest lecture at Harvard cancelled just before he was due to speak because he had earlier identified Alan Dershowitz as a “Nazi-like apologist” for having justified Israel’s atrocities in Lebanon.
Dr. Ilan Pappé of Haifa University in Israel has been ostracized and threatened because of his exposés of Israel’s terrorism, and has been forced to emigrate. In September he begins teaching at Exeter University.
Dr. Norman Finkelstein, while at DePaul University in Chicago, was denied tenure despite overwhelming support from faculty and students, because of administrative bias and a defamation campaign led by Alan Dershowitz.
These four professors of principle, three of whom are Jewish, are victims of fascism just as much as were Jewish students and teachers during the Third Reich. Their cases might lack the overt, declared fascism of Hitler’s regime, and neither had to swear a loyalty oath but the coercive influence of the The Lobby is every bit as pernicious.
How is it possible that a democracy founded on notions of individual liberty could tolerate such gross abuses of that liberty, unless that democracy no longer exists?
The founding myth of Jews as eternal victims and of Israel as Jewish payback for the crimes committed by the Nazis are nothing more than compartmentalized moral dogmata. To accept that zionist Jews are doing to Arabs what the Nazis did to Yiddisher Jews amounts to assailing the moral justification for Israel’s existence.
Any professor who taught honest scholarship in 1930s Germany committed a crime. If B’nai Brith gets its way, any professor who teaches honest scholarship about the Middle East, advocates justice for Palestinians or denounces the corrosive influence of the Israel Lobby will also be guilty of committing a crime.
In 1945, Professor Julius Ebbinghaus, one of the few professors who refused to cave in to the Nazis, remarked: “The German universities failed, while there was still time, to oppose publicly with all their power the destruction of knowledge and of the democratic state. They failed to keep the beacon of freedom and right burning during the night of tyranny.”
The beacon of freedom, though, doesn’t appear to be fairing much better in 2007. In response to a boycott of Israeli universities by UNISON, the U.K.’s largest public trade union, the presidents of McGill University and the University of B.C. issued knee-jerk condemnations in the name of academic freedom, never once mentioning Israel’s denial of academic (or any) freedom to Palestinians, the substance of UNISON’s argument, or The Lobby’s terrorism of scholars.
Such is the state of academic freedom in Isramerica and Canadisrael.