Connecticut College Surrenders to the Digital Lynch Mob

April 15 2015

Last February, a student at Connecticut College discovered a Facebook post from the previous summer in which philosophy professor Andrew Pessin compared Hamas to “a rabid pit-bull.” The student complained to the professor via email; he apologized, admitted that the post could be misconstrued as speaking of Gazans in general, and took down the post. Then, David Bernstein writes, things got interesting:

[The student], unsatisfied, complained to other members of the university community. Just before spring break, the school newspaper published three (obviously coordinated) opinion pieces condemning Pessin. . . . The final piece . . . absurdly, perhaps even libelously, claimed that “Professor Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people.” Before publishing these pieces, the editor-in-chief . . . failed to contact Pessin for a response or comment.

Pessin, acting under some bad advice from university administrators, in turn wrote a rather craven letter to the editor further apologizing for the Facebook post. The apology, rather than ending the matter, was interpreted by campus activists as an admission of guilt.

The result was an international controversy that included threats against Pessin and his family, knee-jerk reactions from academic departments throughout Connecticut College denouncing their colleague’s purported racism, denunciation without investigation by the usual suspects in the world of academic philosophy, and a school-sponsored “community conversation on free speech, equity, and inclusion” that was so “inclusive” that the two Jewish students who spoke [and] criticized the Pessin witch-hunt were, depending on the account, either booed or at least “met with derision.” . . .

Shame on the Connecticut College faculty for feeding the digital lynch mob rather than standing up for their colleague, or at least wallowing in ignominious silence.

(For an update, please see here.)

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Academia, Facebook, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus


President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process