Op-Ed: Will Obama Stop the Bomb?
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
A very gallant Dr. Charles Asher Small just delivered an important lecture at the 92nd St Y. in New York.
Yes, this is the same Dr. Small who, in 2004, founded the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), which he housed at Yale University from 2006-2011--until the Yale Corporation decided that the Center’s work on Islamic Judeophobia and specifically on Iranian genocidal Judeophobia threatened Yale’s “scholarly commitments” in the region.
Who could make this up?
This was the first time that Dr. Small spoke about this publicly.
He is Canadian and grew up in Montreal. Therefore, Dr. Small speaks in a restrained and reasonable way about outrages and injustices. He is a gentleman and a scholar.
I was privileged to have met him in 2003 and to have worked with him while he was at Yale. I have also written about his work and its tragic demise at Yale.
This time, Dr. Small named names.
But, he first wondered whether “Israel,” which is being blamed by everyone for every conceivable wrong, is really also to blame for whatever problems American Jews are having in terms of communal identity or “renewal.” He also wondered how different American Jews and Jewish leaders are today when compared to the American Jewish leaders in the 1920s and 1930s, as economic problems worsened and a virulent anti-Semitism arose. Sound familiar? He asked:
“Were the American Holocaust-era leaders trying to save European Jews? Or were they nervous about bringing over shtetl, Yiddish-speaking people who might increase anti-Semitism in America?” Were their efforts too little and too late and were their efforts also met with great resistance?
His point: Is Israel the new shtetl? Are Israelis the new “Yids” who will ruin it for the American Jews? How can so many academics, journalists, human rights activists—and American Jews blame Israel for its imperfections while refusing to even note how dangerously totalitarian, intolerant, and religiously extreme its Muslim neighbors happen to be?
Dr. Small noted that anti-Semitism is different from all the other isms such as racism and sexism. “It is inherently genocidal.” It was “genocidal during the religious era when “Jews were the wrong religion” and were accused of holding back the Messianic age by both “refusing to convert to Christianity” and for having committed “deicide.”
In an era of rising nationalism and ethnicity, once again, European Jews were suddenly seen as strangers. In order to save one’s nation, the Jews had to be exterminated.
Finally, in our “contemporary context,” Israel is the Jew of the world, the scapegoat for the world’s ills. Now, the entire world wishes to annihilate the Jewish state—in order to save the world.
“No one is looking at radical Islamic ideology.” Everyone, (that means all the educated Ivy League professors and their students who grow up to become senators and presidents) is a “postmodernist,” a “cultural relativist,” a non-judgmental “multi-culturalist.” By definition, anyone who has been formerly colonized and anyone who is a person of color is a victim whose customs and traditions cannot be “judged.”
Charles and I agree that this is really a rather new and rather clever form of racism and paternalism. Universal rights for me and thee—but not for the female victims of honor killing, forced child marriage, female genital mutilation, and forced veiling. Religious rights for Muslims in the West but the lethal persecution of Christians, Hindus, and Jews in “Muslim lands.”
About 3 ½ years into Dr. Small’s Institute at Yale, a philanthropist offered five million dollars if Yale would raise 15-20 million dollars. Dr. Small delivered a strategic business plan. The Development Office said it was “wonderful.”
Dr. Small said: “We thought that at Auschwitz, anti-Semitism has died, but no, only the Jews died.”
But the Iranian regime suddenly listed Yale as an “enemy of the revolution.” People—powerful people—on the Yale Corporation blamed Small and his Institute for having gotten Yale in trouble. He was told to cease, desist, and recant, so to speak.
Charles thought: Not bad if our work has gotten the attention of the genocidal Iranians who are busy devouring their own people too.
One of the members of the Yale Corporation who is in charge of Ethical and Financial Investments for Yale is CNN correspondent Fareed Zakaria. Dr.Small played a CNN tape titled “Hizbullah Supports Beirut Synagogue.” Zakaria presented Hizbullah and Lebanon as “open to religious expressions” and the power behind the reconstruction of the Magon Adom Synagogue in Beirut. Zakaria chided the American state department for having classified Hizbullah as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
We watched the CNN clip which Charles showed us.
Hizbullah was behind the heinous bombing of the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, bur whose mastermind leader could not be prosecuted because Amadinejad had appointed him Defense Minister of Iran. As such, he has diplomatic immunity.
I listened to this Argentinian prosecutor who presented his careful documentation at the 2010 global conference at Dr. Small’s Institute and it was chilling. Hizbullah was definitely behind this murderous atrocity,
This was the kind of faculty, administration, and Corporation that Charles Small was up against.
Charles was actually told, point blank, that if he would only stop dealing with radical Islam, radical Islamic Judeophobia, and Iran that he could enjoy a long and happy career at Yale.
In August of 2010, Dr. Small convened the largest world conference on global anti-Semitism at Yale. One hundred and seven speakers from 23 countries came: Jews, Muslims, Christians, leftists, rightists, feminists. His parents had saved a seat for him. When his mother saw how many important scholars were present, she beamed with pride. He assured her that this “is the beginning of the end.”
Indeed, no sooner were the words out of his mouth when the exceedingly hostile Provost, Frances Rosenbluth, welcomed the gathering with a warning. They were “not to engage in Islamophobia.”
A young Palestinian blogger (and I believe Yale law student) was live blogging during the 2010 conference. He characterized the speakers as “racists” and “Islamophobes” and kicked off a firestorm which resulted, three days later, in the newly appointed PLO “ambassador” to write to Yale President Levin charging Yale with “racism.”
Tell the truth about radical Islam or Islamism and you will be branded a racist. Dare expose the Muslim practice of slavery, imperialism, colonialism, religious intolerance, and gender apartheid and you will find yourself branded a “conservative racist” and therefore demonized.
It happened to me early on, between 2003-2005. It has happened to every single truth teller ever since, including Dr. Charles Small.
Small was attacked on NPR. The stellar gathering of the world’s scholars on anti-Semitism were likened to “the equivalent of having the Black Panthers run an institute on racism.”
As Small put it: “The leading scholars were viewed as a bunch of murderers.”
This was the first time that Yale had evaluated a Research Center and kept their Report “confidential.” Dr, Small has not seen it to this day. Yale “confiscated the film of the conference. Yale also forced Dr. Small to work only with their own PR person, rather than the firm he had hired. Yale’s PR person said: “I don’t have to take directions from you and I am friends with a faculty member in Middle East Studies at Columbia and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.”
And he walked out.
Soon, Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt attacked Charles and his entire Institute as unscholarly, as having crossed the line into “advocacy.” Three weeks later, President Obama appointed her to a special position at the U.S. Holocaust Museum which is part of the State Department.
At another public meeting, Hannah Rosenthal, another Obama appointee and former J Street honcho, ran across the room to publicly condemn Small for daring to criticize American policy makers for their failure in terms of looking at anti-Semitism.
Several Yale scholars attacked Dr. Small for not being “nuanced enough” about the Muslim Brotherhood, (Hamas in Gaza), whose program is the destruction of Israel. The Hamas Charter is modeled upon the forgery known as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
The White House just happily hosted the Muslim Brotherhood. No human rights groups raised an outcry. Neither did the ADL.
President Obama chose to appoint Stephanie Powers the head of a new American initiative to combat genocidal atrocities. Powers is the very woman who, in an interview, did not recommend an American military invasion of Syria, Sudan, Rwanda, or Bosnia—but she wanted American boots on the ground in Israel/Palestine to enforce…what? The world view that Israel should not exist. (That is not how she said it but in my view this is exactly what she meant).
On the very day President Obamas appointed Powers, he also appeared with Elie Wiesel at the Holocaust Museum.
With some pain, Dr. Small noted that Wiesel had also come to Yale. “He said that the times are urgent—no it is an emergency.” Wiesel was talking about Iran’s genocidal intentions towards Israel, towards Tel Aviv, not merely towards the “settlements.”
And what was Wiesel most concerned about? That another six million Jews (G-d forbid) might be murdered? That Holocaust survivors have lived to see the possibility of a second Shoah, one that I predicted in 2004 and which Guilio Meotti has since pursued with valor and determination. No. Wiesel was bothered most by the silence of the human rights community, and by the Jewish community most of all.
In a quiet voice, Dr. Small said: “We thought that at Auschwitz, anti-Semitism has died, but no, only the Jews died.”
Dr. Charles Small wishes to remain a scholar and in an era of Big Lies and the demonization of the truth that is a laudable goal. True scholarship has now been exiled entirely from our universities which are mainly indoctrinating our students into anti-Semitism and America-hatred.
And yet, if, as Wiesel has said, “we are facing an emergency,” we may also need advocates, activists, soldiers, a cyber-defense team, a black ops team, and much more along these lines.
Charles Smalls challenges us all to start holding risky conversations with liberal-left Jews, even in our own families, conversations that are considered “beyond the pale.” We must ask:
Is Obama the best or the worst president for the Jews and for democracy? (He who has not intervened in Iran or Syria).
Will Obama every really stop Iran’s bomb?