Anti-Semitism in academe.

Free speech for some only


In a review of the book History Lesson: A Race Odyssey by Mary Lefkowitz the reviewer Michael Burleigh starts his article with the following sentences

For several decades, universities on both sides of the Atlantic have not been pleasant places to work. Since the 1960s, humanities and social science faculties have been the last redoubt of the Left, whether in its Marxist totalitarian or post-modernist, multicultural incarnations. Academics have been allowed to have their way in opposing a stifling political correctness.

The article then continues to describe the travails of an American, Jewish female classicist who dared to criticise a book which claimed that the ancient Egyptians had really been black Africans and that the achievements of ancient Greece were 'filched' from this source. There followed much animosity between herself and a black male lecturer. She was sued by this man and the litigation lasted several years before being summarily dismissed. The man subsequently lectured on holocaust denial.

We now have our own sorry tale of anti-Semitic academics.See Melanie Phillips.
The largest trade union and professional association for those involved in further education - The Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) - is discussing whether universities should single out Israeli and Jewish scholars for active discrimination. Their motion asks colleagues

to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating... the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions... Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.

Various Jewish groups in the Stop the Boycott campaign have obtained a legal opinion from two QCs which states that the motion constitutes harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination on grounds of race or nationality. But UCU will carry on as the motion also notes that:

legal attempts to prevent UCU debating boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and legal advice that such debates are lawful

I have a reply to my letter to Aston university questioning their hosting a conference by Hizb ut Tahir on the role of Muslim women in post-9/11 society. The reply states that

Aston's policy, like that of most higher education institutions in the UK, has always been to uphold freedom of speech and free debate, within the law, so as to allow topics to be aired and not forced underground.

Perhaps they would would host a conference by Stop the Boycott?