August 27, 2007

Chicago School?

Apparently students of DePaul Uni have launched a website to support Doctors Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee against the rejection of their tenure bids. The home page of the Academic Freedom Committee right now is touting a remarkable line up of opinion from left to right.
On October 12, 2007, the DePaul University Academic Freedom Committee, International Studies Program and Department of Philosophy, Diskord Journal (University of Chicago) and Verso Books will host a panel lecture featuring:
• Dr. Akeel Bilgrami, Johnsonian Professor of Philosophy and Director of The Heyman Center, Columbia University
• Dr. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor & Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Dr. Tony Judt, University Professor and Director of the Remarque Institute, New York University
• Dr. John Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
• Dr. Neve Gordon, Professor, Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University
Hosted by:
• Tariq Ali, Editor of the New Left Review and Verso Books
I see Neve Gordon among the names there. He has been harshly, in my opinion unjustly, critical of Finkelstein in the past, which I think shows the depth of anger around what looks like an unfair decision by DePaul. Of course, for his own criticisms of Israel, Neve Gordon could expect to find himself on a list of usual suspects or self-haters who would support a fellow self-hater like Finkelstein but Dr John Mearsheimer has establishment credentials.

But let's not lose sight of what's happened here. It looks suspiciously like the Israel lobby has kicked in to deny Finkelstein a tenured position at an American university. This meeting isn't simply an expression of outrage about one bad decision. It is a sure sign that the climate of opinion has changed in America with regard to Israel. As a "non-zionist" recently said, the anti-zionist movement has reached that critical mass where zionist, like apartheid, is associated with the politically and morally unacceptable. Unlike apartheid that paid real financial dividends to its supporters on account of cheap black labour, zionism involves an ideological fanaticism that detaches its supporters from their material interests. Of course the ragbag of hacks for zionism in the mainstream media are handsomely rewarded as surely as their detractors are punished by exclusion. But the hacks are now having to argue against arguing against Israel and zionism rather than arguing for Israel or zionism. Their false allegations of antisemitism have backfired to the extent that even they don't immediately realise when the real thing rears its head. Zionism has many foot soldiers in real life (that is outside of the media) and I am sure that there are many racists who admire and support Israel to give vent to their own anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism. So the struggle will go on for some time. But we are seeing a real turning of the tide of opinion against the State of Israel and its zionist cheer leaders in the west.

I don't know if this will get Finkelstein and Larudee their tenure though. Maybe a better place will snap them up.


Post a Comment