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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Charles Small breaks his silence on Yale

In an article in Wednesday's Jerusalem Post, Dr. Charles Small, the director of the soon-to-be-closed Yale Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of anti-Semitism (YIISA) speaks honestly about the real reasons behind the closing of his center.
YIISA’s former executive director and founder Charles Small said the announcement of the new program “underscores [his] greatest concern about the university’s vision for the study of this subject,” which is that Yale has chosen to examine past, rather than present and future, anti-Semitism.

“Anti-Semitism is a 21st-century relevant issue,” Small said in a statement.

“To focus on its roots and history, glosses over issues scholars must address today, especially when it comes to the threat of contemporary radical Islamist anti-Semitism.”

Emphasis on Yale’s library and archival resources, Small said, only “underlines its inability to engage its focus on contemporary forms of genocidal anti-Semitism which is an urgent threat, not only to the Jewish people, but to democratic values and principles.

“It appears that Yale, unlike YIISA, is not willing to engage in a comprehensive examination of the current crisis facing living Jews, but instead is comfortable with reexamining the plight of Jews who perished at the hands of anti-Semites,” Small’s statement read. “The role of a true scholar and intellectual is to shed light where there is darkness, which is why we at YIISA are committed to critically engaged scholarship with a broader approach to the complex, and at times controversial context of contemporary global anti-Semitism.”

The question is whether any other campus on even close to a par with Yale's prestige is willing to open the type of center that Small opened at Yale. If they are, I can think of a first class director for the center who just happens to be available. But unfortunately, given the current state of affairs on American college campuses, I highly doubt that there is a suitable campus in the US that would be willing to take in this kind of center. While that tells us a lot about contemporary anti-Semitism, it doesn't resolve the problem.

In that light, the milquetoast statement issued by the ADL's Abe Foxman looks incredibly weak.
While describing the ADL as “disappointed” that YIISA’s director, Dr. Charles Small, would not be involved in YPSA, Foxman said the ADL is “confident that the study program will continue to strengthen its status, importance and significance in combating global anti-Semitism.”

“We hope that the decision to close the Yale Interdisciplinary Initiative was only a blip, and that in the long run this reconfigured approach will help to stabilize and strengthen the study of anti- Semitism at Yale,” Foxman’s statement read.
What could go wrong?

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At 8:38 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Islamic anti-Semitism is important and if that has to be avoided out of fear of offending Islam, we're not going to make a great deal of headway in tackling one of the most serious issues of the present and the future.

Yale took the easy way out on the subject. It doesn't speak well of the institution's academic integrity.

What could go wrong indeed

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honest. Refreshing.

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

Typical of the Left - particularly Jewish Left, to concentrate on dead Jews, the Holocaust and building more memorials rather than focus on the threat to us right now by our cousins.


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