Short Cuts

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Article/book #: 6552
Title: Short Cuts
By: Sara Roy  
Published in: London Review of Books, volume 26, issue 7
Date of issue: Thursday, 1 April 2004
Topic(s) addressed: People/entities mentioned in this item:

  1. More information on the Harvard Jewish student who entered anti-semitic postings on a weblog see this article by Daniel J. Hemel
Commentary (by a person who is not a member of the UCC Palestine Solidarity Campaign ):

The person in question is Eric R. Trager (Harvard '05) and secretary of the Harvard Students for Israel. He is also an alumn of the BYFI program which sends zionist Jews to Israel.

»Recently, at Harvard University where I am based, a Jewish student, using an assumed (gentile) name, began posting anti-semitic statements on the weblog of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and Justice, an anti-war, pro-Palestinian group on campus. The student, it turned out, is the secretary of Harvard Students for Israel – which dissociated itself from the incident – and had previously accused the HIPJ of being too tolerant of anti-semitism. He now went undercover as part of a self-appointed effort to monitor anti-semitism on campus. In one posting, for example, he referred to Israel as the ’AshkeNAZI state’. Incidents of this kind, which are becoming commonplace on American campuses, reflect a wider determination to monitor, report, defame and punish those individuals and institutions within academia whose views the right finds objectionable. The campaign is directed at area studies generally but the most virulent attacks are reserved for those of us in Middle Eastern studies whose ideas are considered anti-Israel, anti-semitic or anti-American.«

»’I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I want Hitler’s writing or Stalin’s writing,’ Pipes said to an interviewer. ’These are wild and extremist ideas that I believe have no place in a university.’ Not only does Campus Watch monitor universities for signs of ’sedition’, i.e. views on US foreign policy, Islam, Israeli policy and Palestinian rights that Pipes considers unacceptable; it encourages students to inform on professors whose ideas they find offensive. Recently, Bush appointed Pipes to the board of directors of the US Institute of Peace, ’an independent, non-partisan federal institution created by Congress to promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of international conflicts’.«

»A key figure behind HR 3077 is Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and an associate of Kramer and Pipes. Testifying before the House on 19 June 2003, Kurtz accused scholars of the Middle East and other areas of abusing Title VI support with their ‘extreme and one-sided criticisms of American foreign policy’. He believes that the basic premise of post-colonial theory is that ’it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign languages and cultures at the service of American power’ and cites Edward Said’s work in this area as the most pernicious. Kurtz’s testimony was accepted by Congress without debate and many of his recommendations for ’repairing’ the damage were adopted by the House.«

»What all this boils down to is an attempt to silence criticism of US policy, and put an end to disagreement with the neo-conservative agenda. It is not diversity that is being sought but conformity.«

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