Infamy!  Infamy!  Everyone's got it in-fa-me!

Paul Gilroy and reporter Gary Younge, that is.

On April 4, 2006, in The Guardian article "Silence in Class" by Gary Younge, I found myself accused of being an enemy of academic freedom, McCarthy-style, based on a letter to the editor published in the Wall Street Journal in April 2003.  It’s hard for an academic such as me to reply to such journalistic mediocrity with a straight face, but I shall try.

The Guardian relates:

As chair of African American studies in Yale, Paul Gilroy had a similar experience recently after he spoke at a university-sponsored teach-in on the Iraq war. "I think the morality of cluster bombs, of uranium-tipped bombs, [of] daisy cutters are shaped by an imperial double standard that values American lives more," he said. "[The war seems motivated by] a desire to enact revenge for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon ... [It's important] to speculate about the relation between this war and the geopolitical interests of Israel." "I thought I was being extremely mealy-mouthed, but I was accused of advocating conspiracy theories," [um - yeah - ed.] says Gilroy, who is now the Anthony Giddens professor of Social Theory at the London School of Economics.

Scot Silverstein, who was once on the faculty at Yale, saw a piece in the student paper about Gilroy's contribution. He wrote to the Wall Street Journal comparing Gilroy to Hitler and claiming his words illustrated the "moral psychosis and perhaps psychological sadism that appears to have infected leftist academia". The Journal published the letter. Gilroy found himself posted on Discoverthenetworks.org, a website dedicated to exposing radical professors. The principle accusation was that he "believes the US fabricated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein".

In fact, here is what I had written on Apr 17, 2003:

Publication title: Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Apr 17, 2003. pg. A.13. 

Full Text (289 words) Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc Apr 17, 2003

A telling statement by William Shawcross in his April 10 editorial-page essay "Baghdad Day" is:

"One lesson of Iraq is that the longer you delay confronting a crisis, the more people suffer and the more difficult the solution becomes.  U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was right when he said recently that ‘Often the moral thing to do is also strategically correct.’" 

Another moral lesson needs to be gleaned. There is an emotional terrorism committed contemptuously by academics such as Columbia anthropology assistant professor Nicholas de Genova saying, "The state of Israel has no claim to the heritage of the Holocaust" and hoping for "a million Mogadishus" to take place in the Iraq war.

Likewise with Yale sociology professor Paul Gilroy, who was reported to have said, "It's important to speculate about the relation between this war and the geopolitical interests of Israel" at a faculty "peace teach in." Such inflammatory statements serve to weaken American resolve, prolong suffering of long-oppressed peoples such as the Iraqis, and psychologically harm people who were massively injured in the past. To add insult to injury, the Yale "teach in" followed a highly controversial invitation and visit to Yale by Amiri Baraka where the slander was explicit.

This manner of acid bath flung on the emotional wounds of those whose families were enslaved and exterminated on the similar paranoid pretenses of those like Adolf Hitler are examples of a moral psychosis and perhaps psychological sadism that appears to have infected leftist academia. This situation must change. Perhaps never before in American history has the expression "those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" been as critical to heed.

Deliberately omitted by the Guardian author, Gary Younge, was the fact that my metaphors were also directed at de Genova and Baraka.   Also omitted was my central point that emotional terrorism is a vice that harms people who have already suffered, like salt in a wound, and that such callous insensitivity has no place in academia (or in the press, I might add).  

I find such media spin and deliberate omissions both inept and insulting.  This omission of context is likely deliberate.  I leave it to the reader to surmise the Gaurdian author’s motives.  I can only surmise that the remainder of the Guardian piece is similarly factually challenged.  One wonders what other “pregnant omissions” might be present.

I certainly have heard no substantive argument to cause me to dismiss those metaphors. On de Genova and Baraka, their own work speaks for itself.

Here are some of Baraka’s views: "The movement among middle-class Jews to become straightup Americans, shedding their 'Jewishness' represents a progressive trend among Jews…. But in the process of 'shedding their Jewishness' middle-class Jews have adopted the same backward ideas of American racism… The vaunted Jewish support of black civil rights organizations…was in order to use them.”  In an article entitled "Confessions of a former anti-Semite”, part of a Baraka "poem" is reproduced: “So come for the rent, jewboys/or come ask me for a book, or/sit in the courts handing down your judgments still I got something for you, gonna give it to my brothers, so they'll know what your whole story is, then one day, jewboys, we all, even my wig wearing mother/gonna put it on you all at once.”  From another Baraka work, "For Tom Postell, Dead Black Poet," Baraka gives these instructions: “Smile, jew. Dance, jew. Tell me you love me, jew. . . .I got the extermination blues, jewboys. I got the hitler syndrome figured.”

And Baraka is proud of his words.   At least he owns up to them.

On the other hand, I was an investigator in the Yale-Saudi collaboration in clinical genetics, designed to help reduce suffering of Saudi children with birth defects (as in this New York Times article), acting -- and not just speaking -- for human rights, an activity that was well received. 

Compare Baraka’s writing and Gilroy’s and de Genova’s statements about Jews to this letter from the Director of DNA Diagnostics and Cytogenetics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh.  The difference?  I leave that to the reader to determine.

Professor Gilroy’s statement that “I thought I [Gilroy] was being extremely mealy-mouthed” about the need to “speculate about the relation between this war and the geopolitical interests of Israel” is quite interesting.  

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: mealy·mouthed
Pronunciation: 'mE-lE-"mau[th]d, -"mautht
Function: adjective
: not plain and straightforward : DEVIOUS <a mealymouthed politician> -syn. deceptive.

If by “mealy-mouthed” the professor did not mean his statements were devious and deceptive, but rather that his comments were not ‘serious’, I would ask him to try shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre and then seek absolution by saying it was all a misunderstanding.  In fact, the professor patronizes us with his ‘excuse’, which even more truly appears mealy-mouthed and disingenuous.

In effect, my words back in 2003 - driven via medical ethics and compassion and personal interactions with the suffering, against mean-spirited slander, mass murderers, anti-Semitism, and basic insensitivity towards human suffering, are being exploited by a media columnist to make it seem like I am a 'McCarthyite' silencer of academics, my own profession. Stunning - and pathetic.

The author of this Guardian article may get a brownie point for exploiting my writings in distorted form, as well may the professor in question (formerly at Yale, now sociology professor at the U. of London). Exploitation by the media, academia and others of those who not only speak truth about human suffering, but also act upon it, are quite disappointing to see. 

The former Yale professor in question should perhaps review the work of one of his other former colleagues in terms of dealing with human suffering caused by the tyrants they apologize for or defend: Yale counselor helped ease grief of war-torn families in Kosovo and Iraq.

[Yale pediatric social worker Margaret Samuels'] concern for the families of mass murder victims in war-torn nations has since taken her to Iraq, where she traveled last summer -- in the thick of the war -- as a Yale faculty expert and part of a PHR team to begin assessing the psychosocial needs of families there with missing persons. These include many Kurds in northern Iraq believed to have been killed by nerve and mustard gas in a campaign perpetrated by Saddam Hussein, as well as those who met their death in Iraqi prisons, which are renowned for human rights abuses [i.e., before the U.S. action].

"Having seen Bosnia, you think that Srebrenica might be a lesson, that it would prevent a similar widespread demonstration of -- to use a cliché -- 'man's inhumanity to man,'" says Samuels. "Well, it happened again in Kosovo, and in Iraq, and we're now hearing about massacres in the Sudan. So it continues to raise the question: How do you stop it before it starts?"

In Iraq, Samuels' team began to assess the existing mental health infrastructure and its capacity for handling the needs of traumatized families. "Traumatic events generally involve threats to life or to body, or to close personal encounters with violence and death, including witnessing the death of others," explains Samuels. "The common denominator of psychological trauma is the feeling of intense fear, helplessness and loss of control, and threat of annihilation. In Iraq, many individuals, families and communities are suffering the effects of cumulative trauma. Over many years the Iraqi population has lived through three major wars, the threat of execution, religious and cultural repression, and various other threats. These traumatic events must be examined within their context."

While in Iraq, Samuels and the PHR team visited a site that was identified as a mass burial ground for young Kurdish infants and children. Their parents were among several thousand expelled Kurds who in 1988 were put in prison and denied food and water. The witness reported that as the children died, their mothers would throw their bodies over the gate so individuals outside could bury them.

Sometimes, more kindly prison guards would allow those individuals to come inside the prison to take the children's corpses. They would then wash and bury the bodies in secret. "If exhumed, this grave has the potential to have a major psychological impact on families, the communities, and the war crimes and humanitarian workers in Iraq," Samuels says. The social worker notes that the work of documenting mass murder and identifying the dead takes its toll on the professionals involved, who can also experience personal grief during the process.

"Professionals -- including forensic and mental health workers and others working with the families involved in the exhumation and identification process -- want to help the families very much, but at the same time they can only do what they can," Samuels comments." It is important for professionals to be aware of their own feelings around death and grieving. Many professionals have suffered loss. We must be aware of our suffering and how it impacts us, in order to be helpful to others."

Indeed.  The Journal of the American Medical Association reported similar findings in “Exhumation of Mass Graves in Iraq: Considerations for Forensic Investigations, Humanitarian Needs, and the Demands of Justice.” JAMA. 2003;290:663-666.  Gilroy, Baraka and De Genova have very big and very foul mouths indeed, but are persons of inaction where it really counts – in the domain of human rights.

To reporters and sociologists, perhaps human suffering is fodder for propaganda to attack those with whom they disagree, no matter what the emotional cost to the traumatized.

To medical professionals, human suffering is quite another matter.

Gilroy complains that “there's a pre-written script [in academia] you have to follow and if you chose not to follow it, then there are consequences.”  To which I add, yes, there is a prewritten script.  It’s called rigor in research and exhibition of ethnic and cultural sensitivity, as well as recognition that academic freedom does not include the freedom to be excluded from critique, especially when one speaks or writes from the sewer. 

Gilroy, de Genova and Baraka might be able to learn something from Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that “anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a blot on the soul of mankind.”

Perhaps, however, all the above is too abstract for the professors and the Guardian author to understand. Perhaps they think espousing anti-Jewish conspiracies is just a parlor game and Jews are being too sensitive.

To them, I present this list of recent violent acts from the Simon Wiesenthal center .  If the professors still don’t comprehend what they help provoke, then perhaps they should seek alternate careers, for in that case they do not belong in academe:

 

FRANCE * Growing reports indicate over 100 incidents in France. Below are 59 of the most serious to date:

 

1 Oct. Attempt to run over worshippers during "Tashlich" ceremony outside the Synagogue in Auberviliers, a Paris suburb (first of two incidents at this site)

1 Oct. Jews threatened and shoved by Arabs outside Ohalecha Yaakov Synagogue in Paris (first of two incidents at this site)

1 Oct. Stoning of Creteil Synagogue by Arabs (first of two attacks at this site)

1 Oct. Arabs riot outside Creteil Synagogue

1 Oct. Spate of pro-Arab Antisemitic graffiti in Lille

2 Oct. Firebombing of Rue Gresset Synagogue in Paris

2 Oct. Bomb threat against Nice Synagogue

3 Oct. Firebombing of Villepinte Synagogue

4 Oct. Telephone threat against Tenoudji Jewish school in Paris (first of three similar incidents at this site)

5 Oct. Yeshiva student attacked by Arabs while leaving school in Paris

6 Oct. "Death to the Jews" painted on two Synagogues in Marseilles

6 Oct. Stoning of Jewish children leaving Tenoudji school

7 Oct. Firebombing of Aubervilliers Synagogue during evening prayer service

7 Oct. Firebombing of Kosher restaurant in Paris. Several Arab youths attempt to attack other Jewish restaurants in the same area

7 Oct. Stoning of worshippers by Arabs outside La Duchere Synagogue, a suburb of Lyons

7 Oct. Group of Lyons Moslems calls for the burning of Synagogues

8 Oct. Antisemitic threats daubed on Marseilles Synagogue

8 Oct. Failed attempt to set Marseilles Synagogue Sukkah on fire

8 Oct. Firebombing of the Petach Eliyahu Synagogue in Lyons on Yom Kippur

8 Oct. Three firebombs thrown at Clichy sous Bois Synagogue in suburban Paris during Yom Kippur "Kol Nidrei" prayer service - worshippers exit in panic

9 Oct. Bullet shot at La Victoire Great Synagogue in Paris. A Tunisian citizen was arrested

9 Oct. Fire bombing of a Synagogue in the town of Creil (1st of two incidents on this site)

9 Oct. Fire bombing of Tenoudjio Jewish high school

9 Oct. Desecration of the Trappes Jewish cemetery near Versailles

9 Oct. Attack on Rue Crimee Synagogue in Paris. Torah scrolls destroyed

9 Oct. Stoning of worshippers by Arabs at Manget Synagogue in suburban Lyons

9 Oct. Arabs curse worshippers exiting Strasbourg's Great Synagogue

9 Oct. Arabs stone Ohaleicha Yaakov Synagogue in Paris

10 Oct. Three firebombs thrown at Les Ulis Synagogue, south of Paris. The Rabbi escaped through a second floor window

10 Oct. Chief Rabbi of France receives telephone bomb threat against Tournelle Synagogue in Paris

10 Oct. Trappes Synagogue near Versailles burnt to the ground.

11 Oct. Attack on Jewish students in Paris' Sorbonne University by Arab sympathizers from the extreme right movement GUD, shouting "Paris - Gaza Intifida"

11 Oct. Arabs carrying baseball bats surround Paris' Henri Murger Synagogue during services

11 Oct. Firebombing of Colombes Synagogue, in Paris suburb

11 Oct. Firebombing of Creil Synagogue

12 Oct. Firebombing of Seyne sur Mer Synagogue near Toulon

12 Oct. Telephone threat against Rue Copernic Synagogue, Paris on 20th anniversary of terrorist bombing of the same Synagogue which killed four in 1980

12 Oct. Stoning of Jewish children's school bus in Paris suburb

12 Oct. Orthodox Jew injured in attack by four Arabs in Paris

12 Oct. Firebombing of Bondy Synagogue near Paris

12 Oct. Firebombing of Julien Lacroix Synagogue in Paris

12 Oct. Firebombing of St. Ouen Jewish bookstore in Paris

12 Oct. Torching of two Jewish families' private homes in Orly suburb of Paris

12 Oct. Antisemitic graffiti in Le Blanc Mesnil near Paris

13 Oct. Firebombing of Toulouse Synagogue

13 Oct. Firebombing of Synagogue in Strasbourg

13 Oct. Firebombing of Longjumeau Synagogue near Paris

13 Oct. Firebombing of Garge Les Gonesses Synagogue in a suburb of Paris

13 Oct. Stoning of La Courneuve Synagogue in suburb of Paris

13 Oct. Firebombing of Chevilly La Rue Synagogue in suburb of Paris

13 Oct. Gun shots fired at Jewish car and store in Paris

13 Oct. Stoning of Kosher restaurant in Paris

13 Oct. Firebombing of Noisy le Sec Synagogue in suburb of Paris

13 Oct. Firebombing of Bagnolet Synagogue in Paris suburb

14 Oct. Car drives into Les Minguettes Synagogue of Venissieux Rhone, destroying building facade

15 Oct. Firebombing of Meudon la Foret Synagogue in suburb of Paris

16 Oct. Firebombing of Kosher butcher shop in Toulon

 

UNITED KINGDOM

29 Sept. Stoning of Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue in London

29 Sept. Stoning of Fieldgate Great Synagogue

2 Oct. "Fatwa" issued in London calling for "Jihad"

7 Oct. Stoning of Edgware Synagogue in London

7 Oct. Torah scrolls burned in Borehamwood Synagogue in Elstree

7 Oct. Molotov cocktail thrown at Upper Berkeley Street Synagogue in London

7 Oct. Molotov cocktail thrown at Seymour Place synagogue

8 Oct. Stoning of Leicester Synagogue

8 Oct. Stoning of Birmingham Synagogue

8 Oct. Elderly couple and children stoned from passing car outside Kenton United Synagogue

8 Oct. Worshippers exiting Emmanuel College Synagogue in London are cursed and spat at from moving vehicle

8 Oct. Bomb threat against Kinloss Gardens Synagogue in London

14 Oct. Stoning of St. Johns Wood Synagogue in London

16 Oct. Orthodox Jew stabbed by an Algerian on London Bus

* "Al Mujahiroun" leaflets distributed throughout London, Manchester and Birmingham declaring "the final hour will not come until the Moslems kill the Jews"

 

UNITED STATES

30 Sept. Palestinian stabs 50 year old Chassid in New York

5 Oct. "Fatwa" from jailed Imam Omar Abd Al Rahman calls for "Jihad against Jews everywhere"

5 Oct. Molotov cocktails thrown by three Muslim youths at Adath Israel Synagogue in Queens, NY

9 Oct. Arson attack damages Ohev Shalom Synagogue in Harrisburg Pa. on Yom Kippur

12 Oct. Adath Israel Synagogue in Bronx, NY vandalized by three Arabs

12 Oct. Drive-by shooting attempt against Rabbi in Chicago

12 Oct. Orthodox Jews shot at by three Palestinians in Chicago

13 Oct. Synagogue set on fire in Syracuse, NY

15 Oct. Firebombing of Synagogue in St. Paul, Minn.

 

BELGIUM

29 Sept. Imams of two Mosques call for "revenge against Jews"

1 Oct. Skinheads and Arabs demonstrate outside Antwerp's Terling Synagogue

3 Oct. Stoning of Clinic Synagogue in Brussels

9 Oct. "Maimonide" High School defaced

9 Oct. Desecration of Holocaust monument in Anderlecht

9 Oct. Stoning of Anderlecht Synagogue

9 Oct. Arabs attack Orthodox Jew outside Brussels Synagogue. Victim hospitalized in serious condition

9 Oct. Stoning of Jewish bookstore in Antwerp

15 Oct. Firebombing of Brussels Pavillon Synagogue

 

GERMANY

2 Oct. Three Molotov cocktails thrown at Dusseldorf Synagogue

3 Oct. Jewish couple attacked in Schwerin. A woman was seriously injured

3 Oct. Desecration of Schwaebisch Hall Cemetery

3 Oct. Desecration of monument at the Buchenwald concentration camp

3 Oct. Desecration of Halle Synagogue monument

4 Oct. Gallows drawn at Potsdam Jewish Cemetery

4 Oct. Two letter bombs sent to heads of the German Jewish community

6 Oct. Stoning of the historic Kreuzberg Synagogue in Berlin

7 Oct. Demonstrators from the German-Lebanese league attack and stone a Synagogue in Essen

 

CANADA

2-5 Oct. 7 separate incidents in metropolitan Toronto, including attacks on The Pride of Israel Synagogue, North York and additional Synagogues as well as the Bathurst Community Center. Antisemitic graffiti was painted on various buildings in a Jewish neighborhood in North Y+ork

8 Oct. Stoning of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Ottawa. "Islam Forever" was painted on wall of Synagogue

9 Oct. Moslem demonstration on Yom Kippur in Montreal calling for 'Death to the Jews'

10 Oct. Individual attacked returning home from metropolitan Montreal synagogue. Windows broken at an Montreal elementary school.

11 Oct. 16 year-old boy wearing a kippah attacked on the Montreal Metro.

1 Nov. Firebombing of Beth Shalom Synagogue in Edmonton

1 Nov. Firebombing of Beth Israel Synagogue in Edmonton

 

FORMER SOVIET UNION

8 Oct. Stoning of Synagogue in Daghestan and antisemitic pamphlets distributed

9 Oct. Bukharan Synagogue in Tashkent burnt to ground, including five Torah scrolls

15 Oct. Arab students call for "Jihad" at Moscow demonstration

15 Oct. Telephone threat to Chabad Synagogue in Moscow

 

BRAZIL

3 Oct. Bomb threat against Sao Paolo suburban synagogue

6 Oct. E-mail bomb threat against Sao Paolo and Rio communities signed "Hizbollah"

6 Oct. E-mail bomb threat against Jewish Museum of Rio

 

ITALY

3 Oct. Bomb threats in Florence

3 Oct. Bomb threats in Venice

4 Oct. Extreme right 'Fuorza Nuova' movement clash with Jewish activists and attack Jewish souvenir stall owner outside the Rome Coliseum

 

SPAIN

10 Oct. A Spanish Moroccan Synagogue in the North African enclave of Ceuta stoned and antisemitic pamphlets distributed in the market

13 Oct. Madrid Jewish Center Synagogue stoned

 

SWEDEN

2 Oct. Bomb threat to Malm Synagogue

3 Oct. Malm Mikveh and cemetery attacked

 

AUSTRALIA

14 Oct. Molotov cocktail thrown at Jewish Center / Synagogue in Canberra

14 Oct. Molotov cocktail thrown at Rabbi's Sukkah in Sydney

 

NETHERLANDS

9 Oct. Molotov cocktails thrown at Emmen Synagogue

9 Oct. Skinheads burst into Oss Synagogue and threaten worshippers

 

SOUTH AFRICA

5 Oct. Islamic "Radio 786" of Capetown declared solidarity with "Pagad" fundamentalist movement's incitement against Jews

11 Oct. ANC Capetown Conference calls for "Death to the Jews"

 

SWITZERLAND

7 Oct. 1000 Arabs demonstrate outside UN in Geneva calling for "Jihad against Jews"

 

ARGENTINA

7 Oct. 'Ciudad de Libre Opinion' - neo-Nazi website calls for "Jihad"

 

MEXICO

10 Oct. Stoning of Beit Yaakov school in Mexico City

 

GREECE

3 Oct. Arab demonstration against Salonika Jewish Center

 

PANAMA

6 Oct. Official Arab Community representative declares "Jews are murderers of all who oppose their will to rule the world"

 

BOSNIA

10 Nov. 16th Century Jewish cemetary in Sarajevo desecrated.

-- SS 

 

 

 





























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