Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

June 29-July 13, 2005

Issue #78

  .....Buffalo's Best Fiend

Independence Day
3rd Party Politics for Fun & Profit

Pataki Leads Carge Against the Talentless
by Matt Taibbi
Last Best Chance
Dragging our Feet on Nuclear Terror
by Alex Zaitchik

Welcome to My Nightmare
Eminent Domain Ruling Leads to Gigantism in B-List Actors

by Ian Murphy


Say it Ain't Soda
Revoking the Bottle Deposit is an Asinine Idea

by Christofurious Riordan


Reid's United States of Europe
Book Review
by Paul Fallon


Just Kill Me
Recruiters are Dying to Talk to Your Kids
by Matt Taibbi


Litigious Idol
Help choose Barnes' new Cellino!


Dear Donny
Romantic Advice from the Secretary of Defense



The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime

Cover Page
Buffalo in Briefs
Page 3
Kino Korner - Movies
[sic] - Your Letters
The BEAST Blog


ISSUE#78 PDF FILE (right-click & "save target")


Last Issue: (77)

Neocon Prick Smears UB Prof

We’ve written before about David Horowitz, the rabid right wing founder of FrontPageMag.com and Students for Academic Freedom. Horowitz is on a mad crusade to stamp out “liberal bias” in our universities, and it’s amazing how often liberal bias appears to Horowitz in the form of criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Horowitz is part of a growing breed of conservative thought police, to whom dissent from the current patriotic orthodoxy—that is to say, disloyalty—is a treasonous crime.

But for all his pretense to academic rigor, Horowitz is a serial misinformer, having stood by obvious lies intended to smear professors whose political beliefs rubbed him the wrong way. And now he’s focusing on a local prof, and bringing his poorly researched lies with him.

The target is English professor James Holston of UB, and the charge is spreading “anti-Israeli bias.” In Karen Welsh’s June 14, 2005 FrontPage article, headlined “Buffalo’s Bullying Professor,” Welsh muddles through hundreds of words making a lame case against Holstun, never quoting anyone connected to UB, not even students. It’s pure gibberish masquerading as journalism, really just an ad hominem attack on Holstun for daring to offer a contrary view of the shared histories of Israelis and Palestinians.

“Beginning in 2002,” Welsh writes, “Holstun has taught at least one course each year on Palestinian literature. The framework of the class revolves around the writings of the Palestinian people since the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. According to Holstun…the ensuing years have proven an unrelieved disaster for the proletarian Palestinians, who have been ‘occupied and exiled’ by the powerful capitalist Jewish nation.”

Does this sound damning to you? Seriously, whatever your views about Zionism or Israel, can anyone seriously dispute that the Palestinians have been “occupied and exiled?” You can justify or condemn it, but that’s a simple statement of fact.

To Welsh, and presumably Horowitz, it is enough to show that Holstun is revealing information which reflects negatively on Israel to cast him as a traitor and unsuitable to teach. The veracity of that information, whether or not it is true, is irrelevant to them. Another ‘damning’ Holstun quote: “ ‘We will focus on Palestinian culture and society since Al-Nakbah (“The Catastrophe”) of 1948, during which Zionists drove 700,000 Palestinians from their homes,’ Holstun’s course syllabus states.”

Again, simply true. The Palestinians lived there; they had for centuries. Now they don’t—and we all know why. This is akin to attacking a professor for teaching some of the more unpleasant episodes involving the extermination of Native Americans. Sorry folks, but this stuff is just true. You may support that it happened, but it can’t be a crime to simply state that it did.

If you need further evidence that FrontPageMag’s smear on Holstun is a pointless, dissembling witch-hunt, consider this: The article quotes—misquotes, that is—Beast contributor Chuck Richardson. Welsh misquotes Richardson’s review of a speaking engagement at UB by Norman Finkelstein, the author of The Holocaust Industry. Finkelstein and his speech were endorsed and sponsored by campus groups to which Holstun belongs.

Richardson quoted from an unfavorable review of Finkelstein’s book by Omer Bartov of the New York Times, but Welsh attributes criticism made by Bartov to Richardson, as if to convey that there are more people condemning Finkelstein’s work. And this is somehow supposed to reflect badly on Holstun.

Welsh writes: “An article by writer Chuck Richardson called Finkelstein's lecture at Buffalo ‘reckless, and ruthless in his attacks,’ capable of stirring up ‘anti-Semitism whose significance he otherwise discounts.’ ” But a reading of Chuck’s original article clearly shows that he is quoting the Times in this passage.

To compound the mistake and further call into question its own credibility, When Richardson wrote to FrontPage, informing them of their ‘error,’ they responded by immediately changing the article, without any note documenting the correction—and they still got it wrong. The ‘corrected’ version reads: “In his own article on that lecture, Chuck Richardson agrees with New York Times reviewer Omer Bartov's classification of Finkelstein as “reckless, and ruthless in his attacks…” (emphasis added).

Now, anyone who read Chuck’s letter to Horowitz, as we did, can clearly see that this is a misleading statement, that is to say, a lie. As it’s obvious from the fact that the change was made at all, whoever made the change clearly read his letter, and is obviously twisting the truth in a lame attempt to make their case.

Many people are comfortable with a lopsided view of the past – even the present. It certainly clarifies the tough questions, like ‘Who are the villains and who are the good guys?’ History tells us that American Indians were bad and American pioneers were good people just trying to make it in a mean world. Therefore the mass killing of Indians by the U.S. military in order to clear the land for hard-working pioneers is not really a problem, or at least not something to lose sleep over.

But condemning a man for calling bullshit, for presenting a dissenting point of view, tarnishing his reputation in a disingenuine, McCarthyite attempt to squelch opinions which don’t fit a rigid, unrealistic orthodoxy—we don’t need that here in Buffalo, do we? Calling Jewish writers like Finklestein and Noam Chomsky “anti-Semitic” because they disagree with Zionism and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians—isn’t that just incredibly asinine?

If anyone in this story is guilty of distortion, fabrication, or blind hatred, it’s clearly Horowitz, Welsh, and the rest of the thought police at FrontPage.

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