Is Professorial Anti-Semitism Finally Meeting Resistance?

After being denied tenure at the University of Illinois for his vitriolic expressions of hatred for Israel, Steven Salaita found himself a position at the American University of Beirut (AUB), which recently announced that it, too, is terminating his employment. Meanwhile, a group of eminent professors is suing the American Studies Association (ASA)—the first U.S. academic organization to endorse a boycott of Israeli scholars and institutions—for violating the terms of its charter. Ben Cohen takes stock of these developments:

Predictably, [Salaita’s] supporters [have begun] railing that AUB “is reproducing the trend of persecuting scholars who condemn the injustices committed in Palestine.” . . . Could it really be the case that AUB is getting rid of faculty because of their support for the Palestinian cause? Remember, this is a university with a virulently anti-Zionist tradition that goes back decades. . . .

So the notion that the AUB has somehow been penetrated by “Zionists,” and that this is what led to Salaita’s ejection, is laughable and fanciful. According to Fadlo Khuri, AUB’s president, . . . the bid to appoint Salaita to a permanent position was riddled with procedural irregularities, such as the “conflict implied by the current incumbent chairing a committee to find [his] own successor.”

Here we get to the heart of the matter, whether in America or in Lebanon. We know very well that anti-Zionist academics exist in a self-sustaining world of conspiracy theories and outlandish interpretations of history, and that when challenged their stock-in-trade response is to cry “Persecution!”

Less understood is that this kind of self-righteousness leads naturally to procedural violations of the sort described by Khuri. “We and only we are right,” their logic goes, “and therefore we are morally justified in ignoring the rules that apply to ordinary mortals.”

What AUB’s decision over Salaita represents, therefore, is a recognition that this tactic can no longer be tolerated. And here in America, the American Studies Association (ASA) may be about to learn a similar lesson.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, American Studies Association, Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Steven Salaita

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism