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Threats to Academic Freedom, Based On “Principles” Nobody Believes

[ 109 ] February 3, 2013 |

Greenwald’s post on the attacks against Brooklyn College is brilliant, and I encourage you to read it in its entirety. To reiterate, the idea that any speaker on campus needs to be immediately “balanced” with an opposing viewpoint is silly in theory and doesn’t exist anywhere in practice. And it’s overwhelmingly clear that Dershowitz himself doesn’t believe in the “principle” he’s pretending to support:

But nobody proves the disingenuousness of this excuse more than Dershowitz himself. Like the BDS movement, Dershowitz is a highly controversial and polarizing figure who inspires intense animosity around the world. That’s due to many reasons, including his defense of virtually every Israeli attack, his advocacy of “torture warrants” whereby courts secretly authorize state torture, his grotesque attempt to dilute what a “civilian” is and replace it with “the continuum of civilianality” in order to justify Israeli aggression, and his chronic smearing of Israel critics such as author Alice Walker as “bigots”.

Despite how controversial he is, Dershowitz routinely appears on college campuses to speak without opposition. Indeed, as the Gawker writer who writes under the pen name Mobutu Sese Seko first documented, Dershowitz himself has spoken at Brooklyn College on several occasions without opposition. That includes – as the college’s Political Science Professor Corey Robin noted – when he was chosen by the school’s Political Science department to deliver the Konefsky lecture in which he spoke at length – and without opposition. He also delivered a 2008 speech at Brooklyn College, alone, in which he discussed a wide variety of controversial views, including torture. As Professor Robin noted, when Dershowitz agreed to speak at the school, “he didn’t insist that we invite someone to rebut him or to represent the opposing view.”

Debates, as Glenn says, are one potentially useful format — but just one. Speakers are brought onto campus to speak alone about controversial topics all the time. When I gave the Constitution Day lecture, nobody thought that an adherent of Alexander Bickel had to be invited to present an approving viewpoint. Indeed, such lectures are virtually never a debate format, and never carry the connotation that a sponsoring department agrees with everything that a speaker says. I don’t believe that most of the critics attacking BC fail to understand this, and Dershowitz surely knows better. As Kieran says:

Dershowitz claims that the academic freedom of these students is being violated, and asks “Does the political science department not also represent the students who major in or take courses in that subject?”

It seems to me that the answer is, quite trivially, “No”. Sponsoring a panel or speaker does not represent an endorsement of a speaker’s views, either. University departments can organize talks and roundtables, and they can invite whomever they like. It’s their call. That’s part of what academic freedom is. Grandstanding politicians should butt out. In this case, no one is being mandated to attend. The “grades and future” of BC Poli Sci majors are not under threat from anyone inside the Department. The students are not being “proselytized”. The department will not “vote to offer courses advocating BDS against Israel and grading students based on their support for the department’s position”. If any of those things were really happening, then the department would be irredeemably corrupt and “balancing” something as trivial as a roundtable would do nothing to save it. But of course none of them are. Pretending otherwise is just pure bullshit.

If Judith Butler — or any other scholar of her stature — wanted to speak at my college I would strongly support it and encourage my colleagues to sponsor the talk. Not because I agree with her about everything, which I certainly don’t, but indeed because I don’t I’m likely to learn something. No sponsorship implies anything like a complete endorsement, and this is so obvious the arguments to the contrary are plainly being offered in bad faith. If Brooklyn College were to deny a similar panel to critics of BDS there would be ample reason for criticism, but there’s no evidence whatsoever that this is the case. In the meantime, on the proposition that Alan Dershowitz is entitled to put his thumb on the scale of any public discussion on an issue that concerns him, I’m going to continue to vote “no.”

…also, anyone who thinks that Dershowitz’s advocacy of torture warrants wasn’t pro-torture should click through to Kieran’s old post on the subject.  Yes, it’s true that the Bush administration tortured people despite laws against it, and the Obama administration has chosen not to prosecute any of the torturers.   But one reason for both of these things is the fact that people like Dershowitz and Hillary Clinton effectively support torture by discussing embarrassingly sophomoric “ticking time bomb” scenarios that, while they collapse under the slightest inspection, certainly effectively convey the idea that torture is a Tragic Necessity that we must sometimes undertake to Save American Lives.   It’s in that political environment that the John Yoos of the world flourish.

…In comments, Bob S wins the internets for the day: “Brooklyn College could invite either Noam Chomsky or Norman Finklestein, both critics of the BDS campaign, to provide an opposing viewpoint. That should satisfy Dershowitz.”

…and the threat to academic freedom has officially extended to threats of financial retaliation. On the political pressure coming from members of the House see here.

Comments (109)

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  1. This is a pattern others have noted as well, but it seems to be accelerating: right-wing movement figures declaring that some left-leaning type has violated a rule of fairness or politeness or procedure — a rule that sounds almost plausible on the face but not one that anyone has ever before articulated as a general rule — and that the violation is “unprecedented”…. then, after the shouting is starting to die down, it turns out that the violation is routine among right-wing figures, and will continue to be.

    Solving this problem often involves some unprecedented new procedure or process — usually something routine and unremarkable, and sensible given the volume at which the right is screaming — but will be declared a “nuclear option” by the right and put off-bounds as a violation of yet another never-before-articulated rule of decent folk everywhere.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      Yes…but most of the political figures involved in this case are not right wing.

      • Pestilence says:

        Dershowitz isn’t right wing?

      • Dershowitz may be a nominal liberal on domestic issues, but on civil liberties and anything regarding Israel, he’s borderline fascist.

        Which is really a damned shame for a guy who started out as a defense attorney.

        • Loud Liberal says:

          Defending a nation’s right to defend itself from arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorists, who openly, expressly seek the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of Jews who they call “apes and pigs,” is borderline fascist? I think you need to review the definition of fascism.

          • Kal says:

            “arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorists”

            This is a great phrase. Are the words meant to be in ascending order of badness? Or is “Arab” just as bad as “terrorist”?

            • Loud Liberal says:

              No, it accurately describe a large contingent of arabs who seek the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of the Jews for reasons of religious hatred.

              • DocAmazing says:

                As opposed to settlers who seek the annihilation and displacement of Palestinians for religious reasons.

                • Loud Liberal says:

                  That’s a false premise. The religious hatred is unilateral. Apparently, you know little about the history of Israel, the long standing arab hatred of Jews, the attempt to recruit the Nazis to exterminate them, the multiple invasions by 5-6 arab armies at the same time.

                • Leeds man says:

                  Unilateral, right; “the Temple will be rebuilt, the mosque will be burned,” “Mohammed is dead,” “sons of whores,”

                • Hogan says:

                  Well yes, but those are extremists. All 350 million Arabs–every single one of them–support the destruction of Israel and the mass murder of Jews. At least they did last time I talked to them.

          • spencer says:

            No, I think it’s his efforts to silence dissenting opinions on the Israeli government’s actions and policies that earns him the “borderline fascist” tag.

            Just to clarify that for you.

  2. Room 237 says:

    Ahistorically – you blame his on “right wing movement figures.” But the people involved all pretty much seem to be liberals and members of he Democratic party.

    • Atticus Dogsbody says:

      Is there something wrong with your “t”?

      P.S. Names, please.

      • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

        Jerrold Nadler. Christine Quinn. Nydia Velazquez. Bill Thompson. Others who signed this letter.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

          The reason so many Democrats are involved is that this is happening in NYC, where most leading political figures are Democratic. The larger point is that mainstream of both major parties police and limit public discourse on Israel / Palestine. Like the banking industry, the Israel Lobby understands that the best way to win is to have both parties by the short hairs.

          • DocAmazing says:

            Like the banking industry, the Israel Lobby

            Ooooh, are you gonna catch it for that comparison!

            • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

              Hah! I didn’t think of that! Does it help to say that the banking industry is not particularly Jewish and that the bulk of the votes backing the Israel Lobby are Evangelical Christians, who far outnumber us Jews.

          • Loud Liberal says:

            The reason so many Democrats are involved is because democrats tend to be liberals, and Israel is a liberal, socialist, democratic, nation.

            • spencer says:

              Yes, because one thing you’d expect to see in a liberal country are laws preventing, say, Palestinians who are married to Israelis from getting Israeli citizenship themselves.

              Yup. Racist citizenship policies are soooooooo in keeping with liberalism.

              • Loud Liberal says:

                True! That is one of the unfortunate characteristcs that Israel shares with the 22 conservative, extremist, arab, muslim, neighbors. But, unlike it’s arab neighbors, the existential threat of annihilation and extermination by it’s 22 arab neighbors, among others, that Israel must cope with on a daily basis, makes such a policy – to maintain a permanent safe harbor where Jews know they can find refuge when the next inquisition, holocaust, etc., occurs – is not so unreasonable when seen in that light.

            • JL says:

              Your mental image of Israel is stuck in 1966.

              Arguably, this was dubious even in 1966, as Revisionist Zionism had a decent following for decades before that, and was the ideological basis of the Irgun. But it was more true then than it is now.

              • Loud Liberal says:

                I don’t think there was anything dubious about self preservation in 1966. Maybe I’m showing my age by assuming that it remains a reasonable position to take, even in the age of DBS and the Electronic Intifada.

                • JL says:

                  While I might disagree with your ideas of what does and does not fall under justifiable self-preservation, I’m actually talking about your image of Israel as some sort of liberal socialist country.

            • ExpatJK says:

              So nothing says liberal and democratic like giving Ethiopian refugee women long-acting birth control without informed consent?

              http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/ethiopian-immigrants-in-israel/

              • Loud Liberal says:

                Despicable if true. But, are you saying that this was done because of Israeli policy, or was it a cost saving measure implemented by medical capitalists?

                • Ed K says:

                  Man, I love when trolls do the self-sealer thing this obviously.

                • Loud Liberal says:

                  I’m not sure why there’s no reply button on your comment (so I’m replying to my own comment), and I don’t know what “self-sealer” means, but, I read your pejorative comment as a white flag.

                • Ed K says:

                  Self-sealer = moving the goalposts / continually changing the terms of reference in a discussion to avoid acknowledging any counter-claims.

                  The ‘pejorative’ comment is directed entirely to your bullshit style of argumentation, which, as is the case with most trolls, fits the above definition to a T.

                  Now you know.

                • ExpatJK says:

                  You do know they have socialised medicine and so the “medical capitalists” issue is not really a thing for them, yes?

            • Johnny Sack says:

              That is almost true. It used to be a very left-leaning nation, but not so much anymore. It’s really no longer an accurate statement. So, if you actually think that Israel today is a socialist country, well, you’re just dumber than dogshit

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                What is this, the fucking UN now?

              • Loud Liberal says:

                Hmmm, I must not know what socialism is. I could have sworn that Israel’s mandatory universal medical care, welfare, free child care, unemployment benefits, public housing, public fire, police and postal services, a nationalized banking system, public education and free benefits for immigrants were all socialist institutions. That, or dumber than dogshit is smarter than you.

    • IM says:

      Dehrshowitz does speaks for liberals – Corey Robin himself said so!

      (In a previous episode of this show)

    • Likud isn’t right-wing? Allies of Likud, when acting on its behalf, should be considered similarly, even when nominally Democratic, or even liberal on domestic issues.

      More to the point, the pattern is real: shifting goalposts is a more or less default move on the right, which increasingly looks more and more like a historical/scientific denialist movement writ large.

    • Dan Coyle says:

      That must be the reason Greenwald’s paying any attention to it. Hi-YOOOOOOOOOO!

  3. Dave says:

    God forbid anyone should mention Judith Butler without immediately insisting she holds finge, unpalatable political beliefs.

  4. arguingwithsignposts says:

    Looking up Dershowitz on Wikipedia for a refresher on how he’s viewed as “even the liberal,” I came across this:

    When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter had his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid (2006) published—in which he argues that Israel’s control of Palestinian land is the primary obstacle to peace—Dershowitz challenged Carter to a debate at Brandeis University. Carter declined, saying, “I don’t want to have a conversation even indirectly with Dershowitz. There is no need to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine.”[31] Carter did address Brandeis in January 2007, but only Brandeis students and staff were allowed to attend. Dershowitz was invited to respond on the same stage only after Carter had left.[32]

    heh.

  5. c u n d gulag says:

    I remember when Dershowitz was on MSNBC after 9/11 (it had to be that channel, since I never watched FOX, and CNN, by that time, already sucked donkey d*cks), and came out as an advocate FOR torture.

    THAT, caught me by surprise.
    And, for about a second after this supposedly great lawyer was done, I thought, “Well, ok, that seems pretty well-reasoned.”

    Then, I remembered that he was discussing torture.
    T-O-R-T-U-R-E!!!
    Something that, I foolishly thought, the US would never openly do (I was under no delusion that we didn’t torture anyone during WWII, Korea, or Vietnam – but just not openly).
    Openly torturing people was something our enemies did.
    NOT US!

    And then, came the photo’s from Abu Ghraib.
    And the last scales of any pretence of America’s moral superiority, fell from my eyes.

    W, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Yoo, and, yes, Colin Powell, are all War Criminals in my eyes.
    And they should be in prison for the rest of their lives.

    Stupid, unnecessary, and wasteful wars had long been part of America’s tradition, whether it was the Spanish-American War, or military actions in Central and South America, Korea, or Southeast Asia.
    But torture?

    Well, now we can add that to our soiled heritage.
    Shame!

    • Loud Liberal says:

      First, clearly there is much the U.S. does that you (and the public at large) know nothing about. The CIA assassinates obsticles to commercial interests, foreign and domestic, among other things. Second, it is no more outrageous that a liberal would support torture, under certain circumstances, than it is that a liberal would support the most far, right wing, extremist, conservatism in the World – arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorism, against Israel – one of the most liberal, socialist, nations in the World.

      • Djur says:

        There is nothing liberal about a nation that has a religious test for full citizenship.

        • Loud Liberal says:

          Liberalism is a relative term. Self preservation does seem to be a conservative characteristic, by definition. If there had been no holocaust, no pre WWII attempt by the arabs to recruit the Nazis to exterminate the Jews in the land of Israel, no multi-arab army invasions after the establishment of a sovereign Israel, if Israel was not surrounded by 350 million arabs who support the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of the Jews, if there were no ongoing firing of 10′s of thousands of rockets in to civilian neighborhoods for the purpose of murdering innocent civilian Jews, no arab children brainwashed to harbor such a rabid religious hatred of Jews (who they call “apes and pigs”), that they blow themselves to pieces for the opportunity to murder a few Jews, I think it’s reasonable to say that Israel would not be so motivated to assure that there will be a safe harbor where Jews know they can find refuge when the next inquisition and/or holocaust occurs.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeTqheFnBM0

          • Cody says:

            My Cherokee fore-fathers were killed by a lot of white people.

            I’m obviously a good liberal if I go out and murder and discriminate against all white people right? I mean, it’s SELF PRESERVATION. It can’t be wrong!

            On a related note, I need to practice my tomahawk throwing skills for scalping me some whites. Now that I know it’s a perfectly liberal thing to do, as long as I’ve been wronged by someone else, I am ready to rock ‘n roll!

          • Eli B says:

            Your posts read like the mindless talking points I was taught as a child in yeshivah. Sorry, but not every unconscionable action taken by the Israeli state is excusable because ‘it’s in a rough neighborhood’. The naked tribalism of such statements confirm every awful stereotype about Jewry and cause me to feel shame of my heritage – which is actually rich, and beautiful, and has much to teach the world. People like you make it even more difficult to make that case than it already is.
            Grow up, oldster.

            • Loud Liberal says:

              Your comment reads like the words of a rebellious youth who has first learned that he/she had the option to reject orthodoxy. But, all you have done is to trade orthodoxy for the novelty of rebellion. You have yet to discover independent critical thought.

              • Hogan says:

                independent critical thought

                Which consists of repeating “arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorists” every five minutes.

              • Eli B says:

                That’s a riot. You know exactly nothing about me personally outside of one throwaway comment – it does make me wonder about your attitude toward ‘Orthodox’ Jewry – and proceed to effectively bray ‘I know you are, but what am I?’ Well, good luck, buddy, but I ain’t indulging you. Adieu.

  6. BobS says:

    Brooklyn College could invite either Noam Chomsky or Norman Finklestein, both critics of the BDS campaign, to provide an opposing viewpoint. That should satisfy Dershowitz.

  7. cpinva says:

    how can you possibly argue that torture doesn’t work? why, the spanish inquisition used it for decades, and uncovered 1,000′s of witches in the process. god only knows the damage they’d have caused, had they not been identified, tortured themselves, then burned at the stake! just sayin’…………………..

    • William Burns says:

      The Spanish Inquisition had its faults, but they were not big on witch-hunting. In fact, many scholars credit the relatively low level of witch-hunting in early modern Spain to the Inquisition’s skepticism regarding the practice. Crypto-Jews, on the other hand. . .

      • Sly says:

        And Muslims, and Asians, and American Natives.

        You’re correct that the Office of the Inquisition never put much stock in the most common practices associated with witch-hunting via the Malleus Malificarum, and primarily concerned with apostasy. Much of this had to to with the intellectual structure of the Church itself, with many higher-ups in the Church believing that panics over witches were the result of the ignorant superstitions of uneducated peasants.

        But the Spanish Inquisition had more to do with Iberia’s peculiar notion of limpieza de sangre, or “blood purity,” – that authentic faith was actually hereditary – than any canonical doctrine of Catholicism of the period. It wasn’t just recent converts who were suspected of apostasy, it was subsequent generations as well; the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of “New Christians” found themselves in a rigid class of people who were constantly suspect of apostasy. Spanish localities had enacted outright bans against “New Christians” from holding official positions within the state or the Church beginning in the mid-15th century, a practice that was formally condemned by the Papacy until Alexander VI.

        And this went abroad, as well. When Portuguese ships landed in South Asia and its sailors brought home stories of a population that had arranged itself into fixed, hereditary socio-cultural classifications, it wasn’t that difficult for the Portuguese to conflate it with their own fixed socio-racial classifications called castas (the word caste is an Anglicized version of casta). They and the Spanish imposed similar social hierarchies in the Americas, and converts among both Indians and Indios never quite measured up to the real Catholics back in Spain and Portugal.

        In other words, the Spanish Inquisition, the Reconquista, and the Conquest of the Americas were really all part of one large, racist, quasi-religious imperial project that spanned centuries and continents. When you get right down to it, the Spanish Church really didn’t have time for witches with that on their plate.

      • cpinva says:

        you are correct, i was thinking “Malleus Malificarum”, when i typed that, but “Spanish Inquistion” got stuck in my head. See, witches!

    • DocAmazing says:

      Oh, come now. The Inquisition was at least half-right; Dagney told us so!

    • Loud Liberal says:

      Irony aside, it seems that arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorists indescriminately firing rockets in to civilian Israeli neighborhoods for the purpose of murdering Jews, and brainwashing their own children to harbor such a deep and bitter religious hatred of Jews that they willingly blow themselves to pieces for the opportunity to murder a few Jews (who the call “apes and pigs”), is invisible to you.

  8. Rick Massimo says:

    To reiterate, the idea that any speaker on campus needs to be immediately “balanced” with an opposing viewpoint is silly in theory and doesn’t exist anywhere in practice. And it’s overwhelmingly clear that Dershowitz himself doesn’t believe in the “principle” he’s pretending to support …

    The usual wingnut explanation is “You don’t NEED someone to come on and balance me, because the opposite side to my argument is all around us every minute of every day! WAAAAH!”

    Fox News has run on this principle for more than a decade. Chris Wallace gave the game away when he admitted to Jon Stewart that they’re not balanced in and of themselves, but provide balance to all those liberally biased facts out there ruining it for America.

  9. wengler says:

    I always see this type of attempted censorship as an organization testing its own strength. The pro-Israeli lobby gets lots of money to control foreign policy toward Israel, which in turn is also worth lots of money. If they can’t shut down one little college in the middle of one of the most Jewish and pro-Israel cities in the US, then what good are they?

    Whether you think BDS is a good idea or not, it is a direct challenge to the state of Israel. Time to flex that muscle and see who is on your side, and who the pro-Israel smear machine should go after.

  10. Green Caboose says:

    Of course Dershowitz has been occasionally right, as he was with the travesty that was Bush v Gore, but then that wasn’t exactly a hard decision to reach looking just at the law.

    However I remember before that when he argued (with as much passion and vehemenance as he does now for Israel’s right to do whatever it wants to non-Jews) that OJ was innocent.

  11. Alan in SF says:

    It was amusing to see Chuck Hagel unable to name a single incident of undue influence by the Israel lobby, knowing as he did that if he actually had named one (Um, veto power over American cabinet appointments?) his nomination would have been over.

  12. Loud Liberal says:

    I’m repeating this because I thought it merited repeating:

    It is no more outrageous that a liberal would support torture, under certain circumstances, than it is that a liberal would support the most far, right wing, extremist, conservatism in the World – arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorism, against Israel – one of the most liberal, socialist, nations in the World.

    Both are mutually exclusive of, and irreconcilable with, being a liberal. But, the first is rational even if despicable. The second is the epitome of cognitive dissonance.

    • T. Paine says:

      Please identify the unidentified liberals who are supporting this parade of horribles. Thanks.

      • Loud Liberal says:

        Hahaha! You could start by scrolling up!

        • GeoX says:

          It’s funny how the troll who keeps chanting “arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorism” is accusing OTHER people of racism. Well, actually, “revolting” might be a better word, but hey, I know when you’re a troll, that’s the goal, so, uh, carry on. I guess.

          • Loud Liberal says:

            Where did I use the word racism? I think you and others misunderstand and misuse that word, as well as the word troll – the lamest defense on the internet.

            • GeoX says:

              Right, then–you’re merely accusing people of SUPPORTING racism (unless you think you’re NOT actually accusing Arabs of being racist, in which case you should maybe learn how language works before you continue posting), while mindlessly repeating your racist mantra about “arab, islamist, fundamentalist, terrorism.” Yeah, that’s MUCH better.

              • Loud Liberal says:

                Your ignorance is exceeded only by your hypocrisy.

                I am not accusing arabs of being racists. Arabs and Jews are of the same race. I am accusing arabs who populate the membership of the numerous arab, islamist, fundamentalist terrorist organizations: hamas, hezbollah, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front, etc., etc., which occupy and/or control areas surrounding Israel, of harboring such a bitter, rabid, religious hatred for Jews that they openly, expressly seek the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of its Jewish residents, only because they are Jewish.

                As you know, in furtherance of their religious hatred, inter alia, they indiscriminately fire 10′s of thousands of rockets in to civilian Israeli neighborhoods for the purpose of murdering Jews, from among their own civilian women and children who they employ as human shields, and brainwash their own children to harbor such rabid, religious, hatred for Jews that they gladly blow themselves to pieces for the chance to murder a few Jews.

        • T. Paine says:

          Hahaha! No one here is doing what you’re claiming they are, so I’ll ask again: Who are these unidentified liberals who support “far, right wing, extremist, conservatism” in the form of “terrorism[] against Israel”? Or perhaps you can explain how what they’re doing constitutes what you complain of. Spelling out your logic will help me immensely. Thanks!

        • Eli B says:

          Your posts read like my personal caricature of r-w Jewry. It’s uncanny. Kudos, chum; ya made my day.

    • Leeds man says:

      You’re equating criticism of Israel with support of Arab terrorists. That’s not cognitive dissonance, just blatant dishonesty.

      • Loud Liberal says:

        The dishonesty is yours. You and others on here are not merely criticizing Israel. You are criticizing Israel for defending its existence and the lives of its Jewish citizens, against arab, islamist, terrorists who openly, expressly seek the annihilation of Israel and the extermination of the Jews living there. That is, defacto, supporting arab terrorists, and your implied denial is the epitome of dishonesty.

  13. John Protevi says:

    The smoking gun: a letter from the Asst Majority Leader of the NY City Council threatens BC and CUNY funding if the forum is not cancelled or if the PS dept doesn’t withdraw co-sponsorship.

  14. Belle Waring says:

    I think LGM needs a petition for a better quality of troll. I, for one, would happily lend my good name to such a project.

  15. [...] for exactly the same reason Giuliani’s bullying tactics were. Some academics, such as Scott Lemieux and Kieran Healy have spoken out in defense of BC’s academic freedom, but nowhere near as [...]

  16. liberal says:

    Dershowitz also either is statistically ignorant, or a liar. In Calculated Risks: How to Know When Numbers Deceive You, Gerd Gigerenzer points out that Dershowitz got the relationship between wife battering and murdered married women wrong.

    Dershowitz claimed that battering isn’t probative, since most women who are battered aren’t subsequently murdered. But that’s not the right question. The right question is, given than a woman was battered and murdered, what is the chance that the battering husband is also the murderer?

  17. [...] Threats to Academic Freedom, Based On “Principles” Nobody Believes – Lawyers, Guns… Tweet (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); po.type = 'text/javascript'; po.async = true; po.src = 'https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })(); [...]

  18. Anonymous says:

    I think we need to draw a distinction between an academic institution sponsoring a speaker whose views may be controversial, compared with sponsoring a “panel” discussion of a controversial issue and only including representatives of a single point of view.

    I the first case, no one is pretending that a single speaker represents any sort of fair or objective treatment of one specific topic. Additionally, if an academic institution is inviting only speakers who reflect a singular, narrow point of view, then criticism is merited. A panel discussion, by it’s very nature, demands balanced and variety in the points of view expressed, or it becomes, by its very nature, a partisan convention. If a university had a panel discussion on abortion, featuring only “pro-life” participants, who would feel comfortable supporting such an event based on “academic freedom”. How about a panel discussion on enhanced interrogation featuring only John Woo and Dick Cheney?

    • Eli B says:

      Having a panel where all the panelists are on the same side is typical, in many kinds of media. Chris Hayes has a solid piece on the phenomenon here. The piece is from 1:30 – 4:30, but you want to pay attention from 3:15 on to address your specific points.

      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/46979738/ns/msnbc-up_with_chris_hayes/#50683952

      Either way, threatening to cut funding based on having a panel discussion that presents only one side of an issue is the kind of despicable behavior one would expect under fascism of old – not New York City in 2013.

  19. [...] Lawyers, Guns and Money, Scott Lemieux doesn’t think much of Alan Dershowitz’s many intellectual contortions, on the matter of the Brooklyn [...]

  20. Hutin says:

    This man tell the truth ! ” settlers who seek the annihilation and displacement of Palestinians for religious reasons.” That is the biggest problem. Go and see ! Awfull. It would be better to build TOGETHER a country who jews, christians,muslims, and the other without or with religion, could live and work in good friendship, as in GB, Italy, France, and overall in Europe, and of course in USA ! as it was long time ago in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, before the launch of the “strategy of “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” came disturb the opinions : For the advantage of who ?Who is to blame ? Rabin, come soon ! Liebermanocraty ?Liebermann, go away ! Rabin, come soon and shake the hands to everybody ! ( remember : Rabin was killed by a good sionist, with the of a rabbin: There are also fanatics as by the muslims and christians and so )

  21. [...] for exactly the same reason Giuliani’s bullying tactics were. Some academics, such as Scott Lemieux and Kieran Healy have spoken out in defense of BC’s academic freedom, but nowhere near as [...]

  22. [...] funding over their decision to invite a world-class scholar to discuss issues of major import, as I have noted, seem to involve some ad hoc principle about “balance” that is a “principle” in the same [...]

  23. [...] Anyway, to be very brief: I agree almost entirely with Glenn Greenwald on this. [...]

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