Academic Witch-Hunt at Depaul University

The immediate target of Depaul's campaign against political incorrectness was Thomas Klocek, a part-time adjunct professor at DePaul University's so-called "School for New Learning". Klocek's crime? He was guilty of expressing support for Israel.

Prof. Steven Plaut,

Depaul University is a large, if not particularly academically renowned, Catholic college in Chicago. Until recently, the main cause of controversy surrounding Depaul was its insistence on employing notorious anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein as an assistant professor in its political science department. But now, Depaul took a giant step in implementing Orwellianism and anti-democratic suppression of political incorrectness on its campus.

The immediate target of Depaul's campaign against political incorrectness was Thomas Klocek, a part-time adjunct professor at DePaul University's so-called "School for New Learning". ("New learning" evidently is not something Depaul confuses with "learning", as the events there show.) Klocek's crime? He was guilty of expressing support for Israel. Evidently Holocaust denial is okay at Depaul, but not expressing support for Israel.

After 14 years of continuous employment at the Chicago-based college, Klocek was suspended with pay last September, and then stayed suspended - this time without pay - through the winter quarter. Klocek is guilty of nothing more than expressing pro-Israel views in the face of extremist Palestinian propaganda on Depaul's campus, including students and non-students proliferating the usual lies and canards about Israel and Rachel Corrie. Klocek's courses have ranged from Critical Thinking to College Writing to Languages and Cultures of the World. By all accounts, he was a popular teacher and his classes were always full.

Despite having an unblemished record during that span, DePaul summarily dismissed him from his duties after the school learned that he had "insulted" and "demeaned" several Muslim students at a campus fair for extracurricular groups. Klocek had publicly expressed his belief that "strictly speaking, right now there is no such place as Palestine on the map. The Palestinian people were simply Arabs who lived in the West Bank and Gaza." We seem to recall that Galileo was also persecuted by Church institutions for daring to tell the truth (Klocek, by the way, is Roman Catholic).

With no current income, and facing the possibility of losing the health insurance he desperately needs for a serious kidney condition, Klocek, the 21st century Galileo of Depaul, decided to go public with his fight. The Chicago Jewish News ran a large expose of Depaul's auto da fe against Klocek this week.

The university contends that Klocek's case "is not a case of academic freedom, but a situation of inappropriate behavior outside the classroom by a university employee," according to Mattson, the university spokesperson. Yeah, right, while another Depaul professor has made a career out of promoting and cheering Holocaust deniers and serving as the darling of neo-Nazi web sites. His "behavior" does not disturb the Depaul Inquisitors.

Large numbers of bloggers have come out in favor of Klocek and against his Inquisitors from Depaul. The university itself has been forced to acknowledge the growing outrage over its conduct.

Depaul's sudden horror at the supposed "unprofessorial behavior" by Klocek (they allege he made an impolite hand gesture to Muslim students who had been calling him names) stands in sharp contrast with the university's record regarding Norman Finkelstein, the most openly anti-Semitic Jew on the planet. Depaul employs Finkelstein as an assistant professor in political science, after Finkelstein got fired from two New York-area adjunct teaching jobs (at New York Uiversity and Hunter College) because of his pseudo-scholarship and fraudulent rantings against Jews and Israel.

Finkelstein is a disciple of Holocaust denier David Irving and claims Irving is an authoritative historian. Finkelstein refers to the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis as the "Six Million" in quotation marks, and says that nearly every Holocaust survivor is a fraud, a thief and a liar. (Finkelstein's own parents are Holocaust survivors and Finkelstein has long tried to capitalize on this as a way to legitimize his own anti-Semitism. The psychiatry department at Depaul might have interesting things to say about this.)

Finkelstein routinely libels Holocaust survivor, philosopher and writer Elie Wiesel in scurrilous terms. Finkelstein is the star on every Holocaust denial neo-Nazi web site on earth, serving as the "Jew who proved there was never any Holocaust." He has been denounced as a fraud and anti-Semite by Alan Dershowitz, by historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, by Dennis Prager, by Professor Omer Bartov, by the World Jewish Congress, and by just about everyone else on earth, gentile or Jew. The New York Times compared Finkelstein's book to the old czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, ever popular with Saudis and Counterpunch columnists. Last year, Alan Dershowitz made wienerschnitzel out of Finkelstein in a public debate. So, naturally, Norman Finkelstein recently became the poster boy for the anti-Semites over at Counterpunch.

Given the sensitivity of the Church today to charges of anti-Semitism and the sincere attempts by the Vatican to atone for centuries of Church persecution of Jews, the employment of Finkelstein by Depaul as an "academic" is an open outrage and insult to the world, and especially to Catholics. Depaul would never hire a "professor" who claimed that it was actually Jesus Christ who had crucified Pontius Pilate, so what is a buffoon like Norman Finkelstein doing on its faculty?

[To tell the officers at Depaul what you think, a list of them and their emails is available at http://directory.depaul.edu/executive_officers/index.asp.]


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