A Mathematics professor at California State University, Northridge, David Klein, maintains one of the ugliest hate-Israel pages I’ve seen in some time. For example:
Israel is the most racist state in the world at this time
Zionism calls for a Jewish state. Israel defines Jewishness, in part, in genetic terms. A person is legally Jewish if his or her mother is Jewish, regardless of place of birth or religious belief. Israel is an apartheid state that systematically discriminates against the indigenous population, enforcing, for example, Jewish-only buses and Jewish-only roads. The result of Israeli state policies has been a 60 year program of ethnic cleansing, including expulsion of the Palestinian population, military occupation, and mass murder.
Everything in the above paragraph is false except “Zionism calls for a Jewish state,” and even then his understanding of ‘Jewish state’ is wrong. There are links (which I didn’t reproduce) to other anti-Zionist sites like counterpunch.org, the “Campaign to end Israeli Apartheid,” “Electronic Intifada,” etc. which are supposed to support his statements.
This page and several others (including one defending former academic and “Holocaust Industry” author Norman Finkelstein) are linked to Klein’s main Mathematics Department page.
The AMCHA initiative complained to the University, calling Klein’s page antisemitic and demanding its removal. The University President, Jolene Koester, responded that a review showed that there were no violations of University web use policies and that “the conclusions are based on the important tenets of academic freedom and free speech, which are central to the values and traditions of academia and, indeed, a democratic society.”
They should be ashamed.
The question of whether extremism like Klein’s is the same as antisemitism is, shall we say, academic. Over-the-top hatred of the Jewish state is an evolutionary form of the Oldest Hatred. Klein and others would no doubt defend themselves by saying that they are only ‘criticizing Israel’s actions,’ but of course Nazis commonly blamed Jewish behavior for their anti-Jewish acts.
What is common to David Klein and the Nazis is that in both cases their beliefs are irrationally vicious and justified by a structure of lies and distortions. What is different about them is that Klein hates the concrete expression of the Jewish people, Israel, while the Nazis just hated the people themselves.
The University’s position, in practice cynically based on a estimation that Klein would be more likely to prevail in a lawsuit than AMCHA, supposedly rests on “academic freedom and free speech.” These are both irrelevant in this case.
Academic freedom, according to the AAUP, relates to a teacher’s field of inquiry. It is not a license to say anything about anything with no consequences. So if Klein, as a mathematician, wished to defend the proposition that 2 + 2 = 5 on his university website, academic freedom would demand that he be able to do so. But the principle does not protect his right to defame a nation by publishing lies and calumnies.
Freedom of speech implies that a government-funded institution may not deny someone the right to speak except in some narrowly-circumscribed cases. But it does not imply that the institution must be required to provide a megaphone, in the form of a university supported web server, to practice slander and defamation. They couldn’t fire Klein, for example, for posting antisemitic material elsewhere, but their own policies permit them to remove defamatory or offensive material from their sites.
The fact that they do not do this is an indication that they do not find this page offensive.
As a taxpaying resident of the state of California, I find that offensive!