Smears UB Prof
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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).
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
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
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.
Previous brief : Chuck "War Hero" Swanick
|| First Brief : Friends
& Family Program Extended >