The Mideast and Academic Freedom

Institute for Public Accuracy Press Release

 

Friday, September 7, 2007

 

The Mideast and Academic Freedom

* Finkelstein * Mearsheimer/Walt * Khalil Gibran School

 

   AP reports that “a DePaul University professor who has drawn

criticism for accusing some Jews of improperly using the legacy of the

Holocaust agreed Wednesday to resign immediately ‘for everybody’s sake.’

   “University officials and political science professor Norman

Finkelstein issued a joint statement announcing the resignation, which

came as about a hundred protesters gathered outside the dean’s office to

support him.

   “Finkelstein was denied tenure in June after spending six years on

DePaul’s faculty, and his remaining class was cut by DePaul last month.”

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1209

 

JOHN K. WILSON,

collegefreedom@yahoo.com, http://www.collegefreedom.org

   Author of the forthcoming book “Patriotic Correctness: Academic

Freedom and Its Enemies,” Wilson said today: “One of the most notable

developments in the ‘war on terror’ has been the extension of college

censorship to supporters of Palestinian rights. Most of the attempts to

cancel campus speakers and fire professors for their views have been

aimed at critics of the Israeli government.”

   Wilson is the founder of the Institute for College Freedom and blogs

about intellectual freedom at <http://collegefreedom.blogspot.com >. He

has written extensively about the Finkelstein case as well as others.

   He is also the author of four other books, including “The Myth of

Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education” and

“Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest.”

 

LAURIE BRAND, brand@usc.edu

   Brand is chair of the Committee for Academic Freedom for the Middle

East Studies Association. The group wrote a letter this week to the

president of DePaul University, stating: “However one judges Professor

Finkelstein’s qualifications for tenure, it seems clear that DePaul has

mishandled his case in a variety of ways and has repeatedly violated

generally accepted standards of academic process and fair play. In so

doing your administration has in effect given aid and comfort to those

who seek to undermine the academy as a bastion of academic freedom and

as a forum for the open and critical discussion of issues of vital

public concern.” Brand is a professor and director of the School of

International Relations at the University of Southern California.

   The group also recently wrote a letter regarding the cancellation of

a scheduled talk by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (authors of

the new book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”) at the Chicago

Council on Global Affairs. Letters from the group are at:

<http://mesa.wns.ccit.arizona.edu/about/cafmenaletters.htm>.

Mona Eldahry, media@awaam.org, https://kgia.wordpress.com

   Eldahry is founding director of AWAAM: Arab Women Active in the Arts

and Media, an organization that provides young women and girls with

opportunities in media production and community organizing. She said

today: “Politicians in New York are saying they support the Khalil

Gibran International Academy, which just opened as the first

Arabic-language school in New York City. But for six months, there was a

smear campaign that culminated with United Federation of Teachers

president Randi Weingarten’s denouncement of the school’s founding

principal, Debbie Almontaser, which led to her resignation. Mayor

Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein welcomed her

departure. The school had been incorrectly linked to our organization —

we put out T-shirts reading ‘Intefadah NYC.’ When asked about the

T-shirt, Debbie correctly noted that ‘intefadah’ means ‘shaking off’ and

then found herself compelled to resign for the good of the students and

the school. This is part of how prejudices tie the Arabic language to

criminality. If they really want to support the school, our public

officials should offer the school the PR support that it needs and

invite Debbie Almontaser to resume her position as principal.”

   See the Economist, “Words of the prophet: Arabic-language teaching

arrives in New York.”

http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9767809

 

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541)

484-9167.

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