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Monday, July 25, 2011

Never again!

Walter Reich explains why we are not likely to see another academic institution (at least in the US) like the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism.
Some of Yale’s critics have claimed that the university’s administrators shut down its first anti-Semitism institute for venal reasons – that it’s seeking large donations from Arab sources. I don’t believe that for a minute. I think it’s simply very hard for Yale, or any other university, to focus honestly and responsibly on contemporary anti-Semitism, because doing so invites accusations of “Islamophobia,” and universities simply cannot tolerate such accusations.

Besides, examining the explosion of anti-Semitism in the Arab/Muslim world, much of it aimed also at Israel, leaves some faculty members (themselves uncomfortable with Israel) uncomfortable with the study of the anti-Semitism aimed at Israel.

It seems likely that the new institute will support the study of historical anti-Semitism – about which an endless number of books and articles have already been written – or contemporary anti-Semitism, that touches on the phenomenon in the Arab/Muslim world but holds back from sponsoring research that includes the kinds of value judgments that logically flow from such study.

And it seems likely that administrators at other universities, learning from Yale’s painful experience, will vow, if they’re asked to start such an institute: “Never again!”
Read the whole thing.

What could go wrong?

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