Op-Ed: Yale's Anti-Semitic Act
Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Fellow of the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has published three studies about honor killing and is at work on a fourth. Her new book, An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) has just been published to great acclaim. Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
And so, as I feared, by the end of the first week in June, 2011, Yale University shut down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA). They gave the initiative, which has been housed at Yale since 2006, until July to clear out.
The Palestinianization and Stalinization of the American professoriate coupled with the likely prospect of funding from the Arab world made this outcome inevitable — as did the non-stop diet of Big Lies about Israel and Jews in the mainstream media, at the United Nations, and in international human rights reports.
Only last year, there were bitter and very public complaints the Palestinians and their supporters made in response to YIISA’s best-ever conference on contemporary global anti-Semitism, which was held last August. And why? Because the scholars gathered by YIISA from at least five or more continents dared to focus on the Muslim and Islamist face of genocidal anti-Semitism.
The YIISA global conference, in which I was privileged to participate, was utterly unique in focusing not only upon the politically correct view of anti-Semitism as a Christian, Western, and European phenomenon, but also on its current and lethal incarnation in the Islamic and Islamist worlds. I, and a lonely and demonized handful of others, had been writing and speaking about this for the last eight to ten years, but this was the first time that voluminous, in-person evidence was brought to bear on this reality.
In the past, I was a single voice crying out. Here, at Yale, my voice was joined by others who had facts, experience, analysis, details and no small amount of drama. I was especially moved by the testimony of the Argentinian prosecutor of Iran’s terrorist plot against Argentina’s Jews, Professor Alberto Nisman. The terrorist mastermind of this heinous plot escaped justice when President Ahmadinejad appointed him Iran’s Minister of Defense. I had not known this. The information was chilling.
The existence of YIISA gave my evolving work on Islamic gender and religious apartheid and on the contemporary betrayal of both the Jews and the truth by Western intellectuals, including feminists, a home, a point of gravity, a place where my work could be both appreciated and critiqued; a place where I could meet and speak with serious scholars whose work I was either already familiar with or came to know courtesy of YIISA. This initiative is invaluable and does not exist anywhere else in the United States. It is a tragedy that Yale decided to shut it down.
In doing so, Yale has rendered racism respectable, has contributed to the academic isolation of scholars of contemporary anti-Semitism, and snuffed out truth-telling, genuine dissent, free speech, and academic freedom. This will be a permanent stain on Yale and on American academia.
Yale insists that the pre-existing study of dead Jews and of Jewish texts at Yale is sufficient proof that they are not anti-Semitic. Yale also insists that the initiative has not borne the kind of academic fruit to justify its continuation. Excuse me? According to columnist Caroline Glick
Deputy Provost and Political Science Professor Frances Rosenbluth served on the faculty committee that reviewed YIISA’s performance and concluded that the university should close the center. In recent years Rosenbluth appointed Judge Richard Goldstone and Iran-regime apologists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett to serve as senior fellows at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Last September the Leveretts brought their students to New York to hold a seminar for them with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unlike the YIISA conference, the move did not stimulate any significant controversy at the university
Glick’s point speaks for itself. Or, as Orwell taught us, not all pigs are equal
In other words, if objective and sophisticated documentation and analyses do not lead to the only politically correct conclusion, one which blames America, Europe, and Israel—but not Islam—for a history of colonialism, imperialism, and slavery; if one fails to heroize Palestinian terrorism and the so-called “Arab Spring,” then, by definition, such work is not viewed as “academic.” If one departs from the format of Big Lies and actually tries to tell the truth, one is castigated as a propagandist, reactionary, activist, non-academic, anti-academic.
This is a real Catch-22.
Back in 2003, the New York Times refused to review my book about The New Anti-Semitism. One of their own reporters, someone I did not know and whom I had never met, called me to say they had turned this reporter down flat. I suggested that she forget about my book, but, since her specialty was higher education, that she focus on the chilling of free speech and academic freedom on American campuses when the subject involved Israel or Islam. I told this reporter that I had already received many emails from professors all across the country who were afraid to say what they knew to be true if their conclusions departed, however slightly, from the politically correct view on Israel. I got permission from at least fifteen professors who were willing to speak to this reporter who began to do the story.
You never read this article because, as I was told, the piece had been “killed at the highest level.”
There is one other reason that Yale felt it could get away with shutting YIISA down. For nearly 50 years, Arab, Saudi, and Palestinian money men have patiently, carefully, silently, funded the American professoriate and media. No other counterforce existed; no one chose to fund “the truth,” or even “the other side.” Over the years, I implored certain organizations to consider doing so. I am not a good snake oil saleswoman, I do not have the knack of manipulating people to get them to part with their money.
In any event, no one thought that the war of ideas on the American campus and in the American media was important enough to fight. When I say “no one,” I mean no one. Not the Christian-American Evangelicals, the conservatives, the Republicans, the Jewish Zionists, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Iranian exiles, the Israelis, etc. chose to put their money down to tell the truth about Islam, Islamism, jihad, “Palestine,” Saudi Arabia, Israel, or the West on increasingly left-wing American campuses.
We are now reaping the whirlwind.