What do my colleagues think?

One of the regular commenters at my site asks the following:

One question, if you can comment openly on it without doing yourself political harm: how are you getting along at BU these days?

You mention reading/teaching Orientalism in your seminar (with a critical eye). Do you get a lot of blow-back for this counter-revolutionary activity? Do your faculty colleagues shun you? Do student-activists disrupt your lectures?

I hope the answers are no, but my acquaintance with the academic world makes me suspect otherwise.

As problematic as tenure seems in these MESA-dominated times, the practice is worth keeping, I think, when it protects scholars like you and Salzman, who would otherwise be swept away on a tide of politically correct layoffs.

Funny you should mention that. It’s a question I get a good deal. Up until now, I would have said most of them don’t really know. When I went to the Pajama’s Media launch in November 2005, my first documentary, Pallywood had been up for two months. Most everyone I met there had seen it. I doubt that any of my colleagues, even in my department, even know about it (except those I’ve shared a copy with). And if they have, they haven’t spoken to me about it.

They probably suspect something, since an unknown individual from Florida named Jon Tate wrote a lengthy letter to me, appealing to me not to attend the One Jerusalem conference and rub elbows with “so many men of war.”

Dr. Landes:

There are forces in the world today intent on erasing The Age of Enlightenment from history. Fundamentalists in the Middle East, Evangelicals in the United States and settlers in Israel are all dragging the world backwards; out of the Age of Reason. Political leaders ride the wave. Christian fundamentalists thrust Bush to power. Netanyahu and Likud and Kadima are pushing the Greater Israel agenda of the Israeli settlers and ultra-right Jews. Ahmadinejad and the Muslim Republic backs Hezbollah and Hamas.

These factions feed off each other. The US backs Israel with weapons and money. Israel oppresses Palestinians and threatens the Arab world. Muslims attack Israel and America. Bush and the neoconservatives invade Iraq, inflaming the entire Middle East. Iran launches orbital rockets and develops nuclear power, incensing the Israelis. Israelis push for hard-line Bush policies via the neoconservatives. It is a circle of violence, destruction and death that will lead to nothing but pain and suffering for the entire world.

All men of reason must learn to effectively resist these dangerous and backward looking social movements. All men of reason must find a way to marginalize and overcome these factional elements. If we fail, reason dies. Millions of men, women and children die.

Mr. Landes, why are you meeting with so many men of war at the upcoming Jerusalem Conference? Will you be speaking words of fear and war or will you be speaking words of wisdom and reason? (Jerusalem Conference Program Schedule attached below).

He then took the liberty of sending the following circular letter to all my department colleagues, my dean and provost, and several other key figures at BU:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wrote the attached email letter to Dr. Richard Landes in the History Department at the College of Arts & Sciences at Boston University. I copied in most of the department as well some of the faculty at the College of Arts & Sciences. I have no grudge against Dr. Landes nor do I intend any harm to his person or his reputation. I do not know Dr. Landes. For all I know he is a terrific human being.

I sincerely hope Dr. Landes is not very offended by my email letter. Judging by the attendance list at The Jerusalem Conference next week, he appears to be acquainted with a number of people who are very familiar with all manner of death and destruction. With this in mind, I am writing this short note in hopes that someone will look into my circumstances in the event I myself should turn up dead or disappeared or otherwise destroyed. For the record, I am not a depressed loaner; I do not contemplate suicide or murder and I am not looking for attention.

I own two businesses. I pay my taxes. I have no criminal record. I have a beautiful wife and three bright and lovely daughters. In short I am very happy. I wrote the letter to Dr. Landes as a concerned American citizen, wondering why so many of America’s prominent military men and academics will be in attendance at the upcoming Jerusalem Conference.

No response is required. If you don’t mind, I would appreciate it if you would simply archive this email… or better yet forward it to a friend.

My Thanks,

Jon Tate
14-B Live Oak Street
Gulf Breeze, FL 32561

I would not even know about the second letter had not a couple of colleagues sent it to me. But overwhelmingly, no one has even mentioned it to me. It could have done serious damage to my career (and may have). Certainly, if I had a politically correct chairman, that could have hurt me. We’ll see the next time I approach the administration about applying for grants.

In the meantime, this unspoken situation is about to change. As a result of the Jerusalem Post article, the student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, assigned a journalist to do a profile on my work, specifically because I seem to represent such an oddity in academia. It hasn’t appeared yet, but we’ll see, a) if it’s a hatchet job, b) how my colleagues react.

Moreover, BU will be holding a full day conference on the “Creating the New Humanist in Undergraduate Education” in which I will be the first speaker (9:30-45). My subject: “Identifying Demopaths.” Here’s the submission I sent.

Identifying Demopaths: A Pressing Agendum for the Humanities in the 21st Century

“He who is merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful.” Talmud
“Opposition is true Friendship.” William Blake

Although the world has seen earlier “globalizing” drives (from Alexander’s oecumene to Dar al Islam, to Britain’s global empire), never has globalization occurred on so widespread and intense a scale as today. With astounding and unprecedentedly inexpensive new technology of both transportation and communication, this current round of globalization penetrates deeper and faster into the indigenous cultures, at once creating undreamed of opportunities and provoking intense anxieties and frictions.

One of the most problematic dimensions of current globalization derives from the encounter between progressive Western values — human rights, gender and legal equality, self-criticism, tolerance, pacifism, freedom of speech and press — and the values that characterize many traditional cultures — aristocratic privilege, patriarchy, authoritarianism, imperialism, belligerence, censorship. Normally, progressives would have no difficulty identifying and denouncing proponents of these pre-modern values: indeed the modern west was built on their overthrow.

Our current dilemma derives from a peculiar form of post-modern, post-colonial, cultural relativism that privileges the “other” — especially the “victim” of our aggression — and refuses to condemn other cultures. “Who are we to judge? After all, is not imposing our values on other cultures a form of imperialism?” And in some cases, where the other responds to this show of respect with mutuality, this pluralistic tolerance encourages felicitous cultural encounters and eases the sometimes bruising dynamics of globalization.

But in other cases, such an approach can backfire. Specifically this problem applies in cases where Westerners encounter “anti-modern” forces that not only do not share our progressive sensibilities but are hostile to them and seek to destroy them. For anti-moderns, the very existence of gender-equal civil societies is an existential assault on their honor, their manhood. They respond to progressive values with violent invective and calls to destroy democratic cultures. But because the battle they fight against the overwhelmingly powerful democratic West is so asymmetrical, they must disguise their motives. This they do most effectively by presenting their hostility in a language of victimization and grievance, justifying their hostility and demands for concessions according to a set of progressive values they have no intent to abide by were they in a position of strength. These demopaths “use democracy to destroy democracy.”

Up till now, progressives treat democracy as some kind of invincible, immortal entity that can survive anything, including falling prey to the hypocrisy of demopaths. Somehow, the reasoning seems to run, being nice to everyone including people who, by our own principles of niceness are decidedly not nice, seems to trump self-defense. For a healthy and humane 21st century, Western progressives need to learn the difference between being slow to judgment and not allowing oneself to judge, between self-criticism and self-flagellation, between granting honor by avoiding unpleasant conversation and showing respect by confronting those who embrace regressive values.

We’ll see what happens.

40 Responses to What do my colleagues think?

  1. oao says:

    i wish you luck, but i am not hopeful.

    i left academia (poli sci) many years ago, much bofore its corruption by saidians, the left and arab money, because i found tremendous hypocrisy in it — a gap between its declared values and its operation.

    from what i know about academia, it’s been going down the drain ever since.

    oao
    http://fallofknowledgeandreason.blogspot.com/

  2. AT says:

    I think BU stands apart from many academic institutions in its general openness to a wide variety of political and religious views (on both sides of the spectrum), and this is most likely a result (in part) of significant behind-the-scenes bridge-building.

    In eight years, I have felt no antagonism based upon my views (which bear many similarities to Richard’s), and I think that students feel likewise.

  3. [...] Persian Football – PFDC – Your Ultimate Source For Iran Football News wrote an interesting post today on What do my colleagues think?Here’s a quick excerptIran launches orbital rockets and develops nuclear power, incensing the Israelis. Israelis push for hard-line Bush policies via the… [...]

  4. Karridine says:

    “For a healthy and humane 21st century, Western progressives need to learn the difference between being slow to judgment and not allowing oneself to judge, between self-criticism and self-flagellation, between granting honor by avoiding unpleasant conversation and showing respect by confronting those who embrace regressive values.”

    Baha’u'llah, Founder of the Baha’i Faith (and long-awaited al-Mahdi of Muslim prophecy) places COURTESY very high on the hierarchy of human virtues, but then makes it clear that Justice is overriding even of courtesy.

    Courtesy is NOT ‘nice’, as niceness can be and often IS a mask, an insincere set of actions ‘put on’ to sway, flatter or avoid true dialogue with other humans.

    Courtesy, especially when woven inextricably with Justice (as lived and practiced by ‘Abdu-l Baha, eldest son of Baha’u'llah) courtesy involves and invokes honesty, forthrightness, wisdom, civility and the courage to live a life expressing these qualities.

    You have caught the scent of these fragrant and uplifting principles, so I hope and pray that your continued efforts at your University will yield fruits of discourse, dialogue, enlightenment, courtesy and justice.

  5. Odd Man Out

    Little Green Footballs

    At Augean Stables, Richard Landes asks an interesting question, as a rather unusual pro-Israel academic: What do my colleagues think?
    URL: Little Green Footballs

  6. diane says:

    You are a brave soul. Like Alan Dershowitz, Bernard Lewis, Phyllis Chesler, Daniel Pipes, Martin Kramer, et.al. you belong to a growing band of highly credible public intellectuals who could have chosen to keep their dissenting views to themselves but decided instead to put their reputations and careers on the line for the sake of truths that badly needed to be spoken. I know it isn’t your goal, but an encouraging corollary of your courage is to set an example for regular folks like me, to read more, to think deeper, and occasionally to speak out even when the pressure to conform to group-think is instense and casual friends start to stare like you’re sprouting horns.

  7. Aaron says:

    Your students are lucky, the one conservative professor at my University is leaving. He cites that this is in no small part thanks to internal work against him due to his conservatism. He is a very senior faculty member and yet is excluded from hiring and promotion/tenure committees. This is even more distressing because I was hoping to have him advise me for my senior thesis.

    P.S. That sounds like a good lecture, I especially like the quote from the Talmud.

  8. Sophia says:

    I think you have guts and I thank you for it.

  9. Laura says:

    As a BU grad (COM ’85), I am very glad to know that you are there, representing a much-needed bulwark against the overwhelming tide of Western self-hatred and moral relativism overrunning most campuses today.

    Almost makes me want to take out my checkbook and respond to that last BU alumni fundraising letter!

  10. Mike Jefferson says:

    I think that you’ve characterized the current clash of cultures with a precision that is rarely encountered in academic or political discussion. Keep up the good work!

  11. da kine says:

    I graduated from BU in ’99, so maybe I am out of touch with the place, but it actually seemed quite conservative compared to the colleges my high school friends attended. Whenever I argued a conservative or libertarian point in class, I was never shouted at or anything, and the professors never seemed to think ill of me.

  12. AcerbicSkeptic says:

    So, um, just who IS “Jon Tate”?

    I mean, when someone tries to justify sneaky behavior with a non-sequitur disclaimer like: “I own two businesses. I pay my taxes. I have no criminal record. I have a beautiful wife and three bright and lovely daughters. In short I am very happy.”, my alarm bells go off.

    Re: Jon Tate, his prolific letter-writing to newspaper editors shows that he is apparently a pro-palestine activist (check the Reader Comments section):
    http://www.praguepost.com/articles/2008/02/06/letters-to-the-editor.php

    …In consideration of the ongoing unilateral Israeli siege of Gaza,
    Democratic nations of the world should immediately recognize the independent state of Palestine, defined by January 1967 borders, as declared in the Palestinian Declaration of Independence (1988) or any new such unilateral declaration the people of Palestine deem appropriate for themselves and their heirs.
    Jon Tate
    Gulf Breeze, FL USA

    also, apparently, a conspiracy nut:
    http://www.pnj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080331/OPINION/803310301/1038/ENTERTAINMENT

    NPR tells us a goal of the debates is to “encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.” Considering the Rosenkranz Foundation’s extensive right-wing philanthropy, I wonder if NPR is really interested in participating in “intellectually respectable” debates or merely providing a convenient platform for legitimizing hawkish propaganda and fear mongering.
    — Jon Tate
    Gulf Breeze

    This listing:

    Mr. Jon Tate
    Owner
    I-NOVA.com
    1293 Bagdad Cove
    Gulf Breeze FL 32561

    has a website which lists “massage therapy” as its business.

    So who IS this Jon Tate guy? A smooth anti-semitic crank? A purveyor of “happy endings”?

  13. [...] Augean Stables wrote an interesting post today on What do my colleagues think?Here’s a quick excerpt One of the regular commenters at my site asks the following: One question, if you can comment openly on it without doing yourself political harm: how are you getting along at BU these days? You mention reading/teaching Orientalism in your seminar (with a critical eye). Do you get a lot of blow-back for this counter-revolutionary activity? Do your faculty colleagues shun you? Do student-activists disrupt your lectures? I hope the answers are no, but my acquaintance with the academic world mak [...]

  14. sisu says:

    Richard Landes asks “What do my colleagues think?”

    You are being watched. As we were deciding how to crop this image of a bowl of glass baubles (x 3.25) in the kitchen, we discovered our own Pentax Optio 450 camera lens looking back at us (inset) in the

  15. Marty says:

    You ARE tenured, I trust.

  16. KHarn says:

    I didn’t recognise the name “Jon Tate” untill you posted the Gulf Breeze, Florida tag. That’s when it hit me like a baseball bat on the back of the head.

    I have read Jon Tate’s letters to the editor in several newspaper editions and each one swings from paranoid through hatefull to socialist-leaning. Look out for this man, sir, in a more enlightened time, he would be labled “aproach with caution”.

  17. Never mind your colleagues. What does your ISP think? The instalanche must have buried your server.

    :)

  18. Solomonia says:

    What do Richard’s colleagues think?

    Pro-Israel academic…how does he do it? Aside from the occasional extremely creepy letter including cc to entire department, things are fine. In fact, no one at the school seems to notice much. With the BU student newspaper working on a…

  19. Teresa says:

    I read the first letter to you from Jon Tate with raised eyebrows. But it was the beginning of the second letter where he sported his true colors and one sentence is enough to show exactly what he’s up to:

    “I have no grudge against Dr. Landes nor do I intend any harm to his person or his reputation.”

    It’s almost laughable how much akin this statement is to the movie versions of gossiping women:

    “I really like her but did you know…”
    or
    “I don’t mean to spread stories but have you heard…”

    Of course he means to spread stories and damage your career. You have to love the overly dramatic talk of his own possible disappearance or death. It certainly is an amusing little letter – although I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way.

    With regard to your up coming talk, I took particular note of this:

    “Somehow, the reasoning seems to run, being nice to everyone including people who, by our own principles of niceness are decidedly not nice, seems to trump self-defense.”

    I would posit that most people advocating this method have never ever used it in their own lives when dealing with individuals. They already know it doesn’t work when dealing with those they consider their “enemies” either family, neighbors, or work collegues… yet they seem firmly rooted in the belief it would work among nations. In other words “do as I say, not as I do”.

    I am led to the conclusion, all these people watch far too many movies. It’s the only theory that makes sense. Certainly nothing they say makes any sense at all.

  20. S Silverstien says:

    Academia is indeed on the decline.

    This BU/BUSM grad had the following experience at the University whose motto is “Lux et Veritas.” Those expected to be the demopaths acted in a far more civilized manner than the ‘progressives.’

    Anti-social studies at Yale, it’s called.

  21. Joanne says:

    RL,

    My guess is that your colleagues didn’t know anything about your activities because:

    a) Given that your specialty is medieval European history, you’re not based in a Middle East Studies department or in a political science department. So, you’re not necessarily surrounded by colleagues who are passionate about Middle Eastern politics.

    b) You haven’t yet published a book (to my knowledge) on this subject. The blogosphere is vast, but very balkanized. Even a site that’s as well known as yours will be well known mainly among those who are interested in the subject, especially among those who are sympathetic to your stance.

    By the way, unless you’re in a very left-wing department, I cannot see how this will hurt you, especially not when you’re applying for grants to research medieval history.

    This Jon Tate is a nut. That’s obvious. And though many of your colleagues may not like your work, especially if it’s described to them in a hostile way, most of them probably won’t care. After all, your day job has little if anything to do with the study of Pallywood. And, who knows, some of your colleagues may even be supportive.

    This is creepy and upsetting to you, no doubt. But I suspect that it will blow over. I just hope that you’re not harassed by some Arab or left-wing student association on campus.

    Speaking of “left-wing,” it must be very frustrating for you to be a liberal or even left-of-liberal, yet be seen as right-wing because of your views on Palestine/Israel (which themselves are not right-wing).

    It seems that, no matter how liberal or left-wing you may be on socio-economic questions, on wanting justice for the Palestinians, and on other issues of foreign policy…if you support Israel at all, you’re exiled from the left-wing community. You’re out there in a political no man’s land, and that’s a shame. I guess that, to be considered properly “left-wing,” you have to accept the whole ideological package.

  22. Kurtlane says:

    Sorry, Richard, but I’m not too crazy about your speech. It seems to me that it’s better to take the bull by the horns and name the enemy. When Winston Churchill talked about the Iron Curtain, he didn’t complain about those intransigent Buddhists. There was no doubt who he was talking about.

    It seems to me that it’s not a good idea to go as general as you do. There are plenty of traditional societies that are not militaristic or belligerent, not to any degree at all. Overgeneralizing leads to the approach becoming too bulky; too many things don’t fit.

    In fact, the enemy is Islamism (Islamofascism, Jihadism). And it’s not some old traditional thing. Before Hassan al Banna and Sayyid Qutb, it didn’t exist. And it is spreading now, in the 21st century. Which makes it just as modern as you and me and globalization. It’s a great mistake to see it as something belonging to the past, because that creates an illusion that it’s bound to go on “the dustbin of history” automatically. But this is an illusion. There are no objective forces of history, history is what we people make. If we don’t defend ourselves and our core principles, we’ll lose.

    This is not about Buddhists, not about the Balinese, or Samoans, Hopi Indians, Tsvana, Australian Aborigines, Eskimos, etc. etc. etc. The enemy must be named, or it all drowns in vagueness and many innocent people get included with the enemy because they are “traditional,” and then choose to join the enemy. We must be precise.

    The last paragraph is very good.

    I’m perfectly aware that this is (anti-)modern. The reason I invoke pre-modern patterns is that this kind of authoritarianism is the norm in what I call prime divider societies. Various forms of fascism are part of the toxic waste of modernity. They are definitely not part of the dustbin of history. As for what I say, you can tell me what you think when I’ve posted it.

    Good luck,
    Kurtlane

  23. Cynic says:

    “I have no grudge against Dr. Landes nor do I intend any harm to his person or his reputation.”

    Teresa,
    The first thing that came to mind on reading that was: “Some of my best friends …..”

  24. oao says:

    s. silverstein,

    your story has not surprised me at all. it reminds me why I left academia right after my phd program. when these things happen in business you at least expect them. but to hear the academia declare their “different values” and then see them operate worse than mafia made me vomit.

    the corruption that has been creeping via funding from business and foreign governments is practically destroying any bit of ethical behavior that was ever left in academia. and the more prestigious and rich the university, the worse the corruption.

    what I wonder is why didn’t you sue those bastards for damage for all they’ve got? you had resources and a case that many of us don’t. (although i realize in the way things work, that may have destroyed your chances for a career).

  25. oao says:

    kurtland,

    I totally agree with the name of the enemy. but:

    Before Hassan al Banna and Sayyid Qutb, it didn’t exist.

    you can’t be serious. here’s one antique aspect of it:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/020584.php

  26. diane says:

    Joanne writes: “Given that your specialty is medieval European history, you’re not based in a Middle East Studies department or in a political science department. So, you’re not necessarily surrounded by colleagues who are passionate about Middle Eastern politics.”

    That logic might apply to business or engineering professors, but history, English, sociology, anthropology, communications, geography are deeply mired in such multicultural dogmas as: colonialism=bad, indigenous peoples=good; white=bad, all other races=good; capitalism=bad; communitarianism=good, etc.

    Academia is a gossipy world, with any discipline everyone knows (or at least knows of) everyone else. Syllabi and student evaluations are public information. Richard’s critique of Said’s logic in a seminar has got to be on the department chair’s radar. His testifying/submitting affadavits in the Karsenty trial/appeal surely reached the dean’s ears. His attending political conferences in Israel ditto, even without John Tates helpful letter. I would be surprised if university counsel didn’t warn Richard to keep BU’s name out of any of these public appearances.

    As to funding for research – even in so arcane an area as medieval history – the issue is complex. Some research grants are awarded by the university to its faculty — and department politics certainly is a factor in those awards. Many universities also have an internal vetting process for outside grant applications (to avoid faculty competing against each other for limited resources.)

    And those are just the official channels. A tenured professor can easily be marginalized, demoralized into early retirement or prodded to seek employment elsewhere through the assignment of undesirable courses, exclusion from important committees, unofficial discouragement of graduate students seeking him/her as their advisor, even being moved to undesirable office space, losing access to teaching and research assistants, and the like.

    Don’t doubt that Richard is taking a significant professional risk by not toeing the left-liberal line. Read Phyllis Chesler’s account of how she was systematically “shunned” by the feminist community for her outspoken defense of Israel; how she, a pioneering feminist thinker, was disinvited from scholarly meetings she’d been attending for years, her name mysteriouslyl purged from mailing lists. It takes a thick hide and a fair amount of personal integrity to stick to one’s guns under such circumstances.

  27. Sissy Willis says:

    Joanne: Your accurate summary of what I call the left’s “fear society lite” ironically says it all:

    “I guess that, to be considered properly ‘left-wing,’ you have to accept the whole ideological package.”

    Maybe it’s time to acknowledge you’ve been mugged by reality and take a closer look at what those of us right of center really think. To help you along the way, you might want to check out the series A mind is a difficult thing to change by blogger neo-neocon, a mutual friend of Richard’s and mine.

  28. AJW says:

    It is a challenge for any academic whose research and training is outside of political science or middle eastern studies to take on these subjects with appearing to be unjustifiably political. Richard has managed to seamlessly stretch his own research without raising the usual red flags. Hopefully, I can do the same.

    In my experience, letters from “outsiders” (i.e. non-academics, non-students, non donors) are utterly ignored by everyone in academia. I don’t even read them. I would simply have ignored it 100%.

  29. AT says:

    “According to the effort is the reward” – Avot 5:26.

  30. oao says:

    having spent about 15 years in academia in both israel and in the us, i am with diane on this one.

    a university just showed a foreign graduate student friend of mine just what it could do: an utterly incompetent tenured prof who has gotten his position by exploiting a corrupt system, insulted, humiliated and almost robbed my friend, who has a MD, of graduation by blatant lies and harassment. this was allowed to go on because he is the only one with research funds in the dept, and the dept is millions in debt. he manages to get funds by similar lies and has botched practically all his projects. he never published one paper on his own. rather, he operates a racket where he adds his name to papers written by others, mostly students. on the one occasion where he recently tried to write a paper, it was rejected by five different journals. my friend and another graduate student saw that it was thrash and told him so.

  31. S. Silverstein says:

    oao wrote:

    what I wonder is why didn’t you sue those bastards for damage for all they’ve got? you had resources and a case that many of us don’t.

    I tried. But they have one hell of a lot more resources. However, I gave as good as I got, considering the power differential. Check the story.

    It’s a good thing for those bastards that my cousin had passed away. He was a senior labor organizer for the Teamsters. His approach to my plight would have been just a little different.

  32. oao says:

    it’s an indicator of how low the academia has gone that makes one even think of the teamster approach in the context of a top university.

    but that was my reaction too when the so-called prof aimed to destroy my friend’s life and had the university system behind him. the gall of these people is astounding precisely because they know that the image they have in society protects them, for often is simply hard to believe that academic institutions can possibly behave this way.

  33. Stephen says:

    What strikes me about Jon Tate’s covering email is how he explains that he is sending it ‘in hopes that someone will look into my circumstances in the event I myself should turn up dead or disappeared or otherwise destroyed’.
    Though, in referring to the many dangerous people who wioo be attending the upcoming conference, he displaces his suggestion that somebody might kill him for his views away from Richard, there remains nevertheless a rather nasty ‘you’re a killer’ in the remark.
    While activists who proceed to Gaza or the West Bank and lie in front of tanks may be putting themselves in harms way, I am not aware that criticising Israel, or Jews, or Catholicism, or expressing support for Fatah or Hamas is likely to invite more than a legitimate verbal response. In contrast, the number of people who are dead, or in fear for their lives as a result of criticising Islamism, or Islam is large and growing daily.
    It’s a good example of the moral relativism that equates legitimate Israeli self defence with Islamist threats. It also fits perfectly into the Pallywood tradition of implying aggression from Israel, or its friends, when no such thing has occurred.

  34. igout says:

    As we all know, the Moslem occupation of Spain, which lasted throughout the Middle Ages, was the Happiest, most Enlightened and Progressive Event in the Annals of Mankind. So far from puttering away in some academic backwater, I’d think that RL would be right in the thick of it. What is surprising is that he hasn’t fallen afoul of the local thought police.

  35. oao says:

    igout, it is probably more fair to say that he is not aware that he has run afoul of them. my guess is that with the likes of norton there something must be going on, but possibly not very visible yet.

    we’ll see. i just don’t trust academia anymore.

  36. [...] mentioned the article about my work on Pallywood and Al Durah. Here it is. Aside from some slight incoherences, it seems [...]

  37. [...] you getting along at BU these days? You mention reading/teaching Orientalism in your seminar withhttp://www.theaugeanstables.com/2008/04/07/what-do-my-colleagues-think/20 years of caring The Times and Democrat”The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, [...]

  38. [...] you getting along at BU these days? You mention reading/teaching Orientalism in your seminar withhttp://www.theaugeanstables.com/2008/04/07/what-do-my-colleagues-think/A Chat with Paul Finebaum Birmingham TimesSlowly, some teams in college football are getting the [...]

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