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Monday, 5 November 2012

How the Zionists Suppress Free Speech at Michigan State University

Far-right Israeli Education Minister involved in sex scandal with under age girls

Yocheve Menashe - minor bureaucrat in Israeli Education Ministry is allowed to censor Michigan University Discussion List

Michigan State University Allows Israeli Government Official to Censor Discussion of anti-Semitism

This is another example of how 'freedom of speech' in American universities is under constant attack by Zionists.  Not content with trying to abolish the Politics Department at Ben Gurion University, who having suppressed, a minor bureaucrat in Israel's Ministry of Education. Yocheve Menashe, is allowed to censor a discussion thread at Michigan State University.  This is one of a number of similar attempts to close down discussion on Zionism and anti-Semitism at US universities, so that only one perspective - that of Zionism - is allowed to be discussed.

You might have thought that Yocheved might have more important things to occupy herself with, especially since her far-Right Education Minister, Gideon Saar, is embroiled in a sex scandal involving sex with under-age girls.  You may want to write to Yocheved to remind her that Israel is supposed to be the 'only democracy in the Middle East'.  But then again maybe not, since it is determined to be the only democracy in the West too!

Below is a message from Terri Ginsburg about her experiences with censorship c/o Yocheved and Michigan University.

Dear Heather Hawley:

I am writing you in your capacity as Associate Director of the H-Net international listserv consortium to lodge a complaint against unfounded censorship and improper moderation practices by the editor of H-ANTISEMITISM, Yocheve ("Yo") Menashe (

Recently a discussion thread entitled "Islamophobia is Rational, Judeophobia is not!" has been circulating over H-ANTISEMITISM (see: This thread has more or less presented a series of anti-Muslim posts articulated within an entirely prejudicial, subjective and pro-Israel framework.  No perspectives representing Islam or Arabs, contemporary Middle East scholarship, or substantive critiques of western Middle East policy have yet been visible within the thread.

Indeed my own, perfectly reasonable contribution to the thread (see below) has been denied circulation by Ms. Menashe--who, as you may be aware, works for the Israel Minister of Education, a decidedly, unabashedly Zionist agency with a documented record of animosity toward Palestinian, Arab and Muslim perspectives.  My post contains a link to an article I published recently in a special double-issue of the prestigious academic journal, Arab Studies Quarterly.  The article focuses specifically on the topics of antisemitism and Islamophobia in the contemporary U.S. academy.  Among other things it argues that criticism of Israel does not equate with antisemitism and that antisemitism and Islamophobia are politically overdetermined, historically interrelated phenomena, neither of which is rational.  In short, my post is entirely relevant and pertinent to the discussion thread in question and should by all right be permitted circulation to the listserv.

This is not the first time Ms. Menashe, who has been moderating H-ANTISEMITISM for nearly a decade, has refused to approve my posts, or posts professing views similar to mine, to that listserv (or in fact to H-HOLOCAUST, which she has also been moderating for the same period of time).  In past instances, moreover, when I and others have asked her to explain her negative actions, she has either failed to reply or offered perfunctory excuses.  Hence I am now contacting you directly.

As a person of Jewish background very much concerned about free and open inquiry, dialogue, and debate over the problems facing Palestine/Israel, the Middle East, and the larger Arab and Muslim world, I am disturbed that an individual representing a particular government--especially one that has been condemned globally for persistent and pervasive human rights and international law violations--has been permitted to edit an open scholarly discussion forum such as H-ANTISEMITISM, an academic listserv hosted by a U.S. university (Michigan State) and therefore subject to U.S. laws and regulations.  It is clear that Ms. Menashe's position within an Israeli government agency is preventing her from performing her moderator duties with the requisite objectivity.  Such a situation not only contradicts the First Amendment and numerous Federal court decisions which decry improper (not to mention foreign) government interference in academia, but travesties the collegial mission and ethos of academic freedom ostensibly upheld by the highly regarded H-Net, and should not be allowed.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.


Terri Ginsberg, Ph.D.
(International Council for Middle East Studies)
H-ANTISEMITISM subscriber since 14 June 1999

From: Terri Ginsberg
Subject: Re: H-AS KAMINS (DAVIDIY): Islamophobia is Rational. Judeophobia is not!
Date: November 2, 2012, 9:32 AM EST

Dear Colleagues,

Kindly peruse a recent article of mine that discusses this issue while offering some corrective to the definitions supplied thus far on H-ANTISEMITISM: .

Thanks in advance for your comments and critique,

Terri Ginsberg


Terri Ginsberg

This article considers the way in which North Carolina State University (NCSU) deployed the concepts, “anti-Semitism,” “controversy,” and “neutrality” against me in the negative employment decision it made for me during academic year 2007-08. Most readers of this journal are probably well-aware that “anti-Semitism” has become the favored charge against many academic scholars and others who have publicly criticized Israel, US Middle East policy, and Zionism. Under this rubric, all but the mildest admonitions have been met with recrimination by Zionist organizations and from academic institutions that compel answerability to them, on grounds that such criticisms constitute “anti-Semitism.” Criticism of Israel has come at this juncture to be conflated almost completely with “anti-Semitism,” and scholars who engage in it—Joseph Massad, Hamid Dabashi, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Rashid Khalidi, Norman Finkelstein, John Mearsheimer, among others—are consistently in danger of losing, or already have lost, their academic jobs and/or professional reputations (see: Klug, 2004).
At NCSU, where I was employed as a renewable, non-tenure-track TeachingAssistant Professor, and where I had been encouraged repeatedly to apply for a tenure-track position, I was severely admonished and effectively fired for my criticisms of Zionism and Israel and support for the airing of Arab and Muslim views. I am a Jewish anti-Zionist, and unlike Zionist and many non-Zionist academics, I do not exclude anti-Zionist discourse from my classroom or scholarship and public speech. The University’s negative actions occurred after I provided a favorable introduction to Ticket to Jerusalem (2002), a Palestinian film directed by Gazan refugee Rashid Masharawi, at a campus screening series which NCSU faculty had invited me to co-curate and to which I had in turn invited guest presenters of Arab and Muslim backgrounds. The actions continued as a senior colleague soon after issued me a teaching evaluation, which, although favorable, nonetheless suggestedthat I remove from my Holocaust and Film syllabus some course content involving

Dr. Terri Ginsberg received her PhD in Cinema Studies from New York University, is a member of the Board of Directors and Public Programmer at the International Council for Middle East Studies and a Lecturer in Cinema Studies at Rutgers University.
ASQ33_3&4 01 text 22822/09/2011 08:50

“ANTI-SEMITISM,” “CONTROVERSY,” AND “NEUTRALITY” IN GINSBERG v. NCSU 229ASQ 33.3/33.4 Produced and distributed by Pluto Journals
anti-Zionist discourse, namely, an excerpt from an interview with Joel Kovel, then a professor at Bard College and author of Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine (2007), that had recently been conducted by Amy Goodman on her award-winning daily news show,  Democracy Now!

Perhaps taking a cue from earlier concerns expressed to us by a colleague that such discourse would likely incite antisemitism amongst students enrolled in the course, my evaluator described Kovel’s work as “radical” and “controversial” and “ancillary”to the course (see Kovel’s article in this special issue). In the immediate wake of these events, I was corralled into a closed faculty meeting with the directors of the Film Studies and the interdisciplinary Middle East Studies Programs. There I was asked to resign from the screening series; the director of the Film Studies Program
subsequently refused to purchase films directed by Palestinians for my Spring2008 course on cinema of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and my application for the tenure-track position was quickly bumped from number one on the interviewee list to  persona non grata.  In what follows, I shall explain how NCSU used “anti-Semitism” against me ina particularly ironical fashion that resonates with prior academic cases, for example those involving Finkelstein, William I. Robinson, and Douglas Giles, the flrst two of whom are also Jewish anti-Zionist professors, and the last of whom was also acontingent, untenured instructor at the time. Like Finkelstein and Robinson, theviews I expressed in my scholarly writing and campus speech, both in the classroom and in public, concerning Israel and, in relation, the Holocaust, prompted NCSU faculty to position me as uncollegial and non-objective, ideologically “biased”and value non-neutral—in effect, as both an “anti-Semite” and a “pro-Palestinian” propagandist, and therefore as an undesirable member of the University community.

Like Giles, my untenured employment status made it easier for the University to take  punitive action against me by refusing either to interview me for the tenure-track  position or to renew my contract, or subsequently to permit me a campus hearing after I timely flled a grievance with the NCSU Faculty Senate.
I shall contend in this article that accusations of value non-neutrality and “anti-Semitism” against me and other anti-Zionist scholars, regardless of their religious and political (non-) affiliations, are specious because the accusations themselves are “uncollegial” and non-objective, and that negative employment actions taken againstus are unethical and morally suspect—in fact, antisemitic and expressive of particular  political-economic interests. Most criticism of Israel is founded in legitimate—if regularly marginalized—scholarship that is far from antisemitic. In fact, to purport the opposite betrays less of an interest in protecting Jews, much less in fostering critical inquiry, than in perpetuating a prevailing anti- Arab racism, for which it isat the same time acceptable, or at least expected, that persons of Arab or Muslim  background (the latter often becoming conated with the former) should naturally ASQ33_3&4 01 text 22922/09/2011 08:50

criticize Israel, and their speech to that effect tolerated (as long as it doesn’t challenge the basic tenets of Zionism), whereas it is not acceptable—in fact it is intolerable— for Jews to do the same (or more). Even convinced Zionists such as Rabbi Michael Lerner and Justice Richard Goldstone, neither of whom is an academic, have been lambasted and publicly discredited for citing Israel on its irrefutably severe and deadly oppression of Palestinians. I will argue in this article that Jewish criticism of Israel, often smeared as “self-hating” and irrational, is in truth the target of far more dangerous, because profoundly ideological, accusations levied by the very proponents of Zionism who are the real antisemites in this case.

In order to prove this point, we must flrst define “anti-Semitism,” which I shall do  by drawing upon the work of Ora Wise (2005), a Jewish educator whose writing on antisemitism innovatively collocates traditional scholarship on the topic, some of it common knowledge, with important challenges drawn from Wise’s conversations and encounters with the writings of critical scholars such as Finkelstein (2005), Mazin Qumsiyeh (2004), Ilan Halevi (1987), and Joseph Levine (2008), and from her own experiences as an anti-Zionist activist and public intellectual.
According toWise, the term anti-Semitic is traceable to Moritz Steinschneider, a Jewish scholar who, in 1869, used it to describe French academic Ernest Renan’s pseudo-scientific theorization of racial hierarchy in the latter’s 1862 Etudes d’histoire réligeuse.

At the bottom of Renan’s hierarchy is found the “Semitic race,” and at its top, the Aryan race.” For his designation of these categories, Renan himself drew upon the writings of Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau, whose infamous 1853-55 screed, An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races, is the credited progenitor of the very concept,“race.”

In the subsequent writings of Russian nationalist Heinrich von Treitschke,this usage of the term “anti-Semitism” was promoted to the point that “Semitic” and “Jewish” became nearly synonymous. The related German term antisemitismus was coined by German reactionary Wilhelm Marr in his 1879 book, The Way to Victory of Germanism over Judaism, Considered from a Non-religious Point of View. By now, the term explicitly signified Jew-hatred, perceived as a rational and scientific means of justifying colonial Europe’s racist practices at home and abroad.

Wise continues that, despite the hyphenated prefix, “anti-Semitic” and “Semitic”are not antonyms. As she notes, renowned Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer, a Zionist, advocates in his book,  A History of the Holocaust, for a non-hyphenated spelling of the word: “‘anti-Semitism,’” he says, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, “because there is no ‘Semitism’ one can be ‘anti’ to” (Bauer, 2001: 38). Although the term has referred historically to prejudice against Jews, in recent decades, arguments have emerged in favor of its applicability to anti-Arab racism and to prejudice against other people(s) who speak “Semitic” languages (Ethiopians, Assyrians). European linguists did identify a sub-group of “Afro-Asiatic” languages they named “Semitic.” The term refers to a family ASQ33_3&4 01 text 23022/09/2011 08:50.


Gert said...

Dear G-d, the opening post of that "Islamophobia is Rational, Judeophobia is not!"thread by ‘Yair Davidiy’ is an eye-opener. Quote:

"Islamophobia is Hatred and/or Fear of Islam."

The Difference between Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism in a Nutshell.

Antisemitism means Judeophobia i.e. Hatred and/or Fear of the Jews.
This is rationalized by claims that the Jews act in certain ways,
have certain beliefs, and aim at specific goals. The Jews deny these
claims against them. The question therefore becomes who is to be believed?
The Jews or their Detractors?

When we examine reality it becomes clear that the adversaries of the
Jews do not really care who is correct or what the facts are. No matter
what the truth is, they still want to harm Judah. They may seek a
rationale but only to justify their primary primeval motivation. This
makes Antisemitism at its base, irrational.

Islamophobia i.e. Hatred and/or Fear of Islam. This is rationalized by
claims that Muslims act in certain ways, have certain beliefs, and aim at
specific goals. The Muslims do not deny the claims against them. They only
say that they are justified because their Prophet was inspired by God and
therefore must be obeyed. The question therefore becomes was their Prophet
inspired by God or was he not?

For all those who DO NOT BELIEVE in the Prophet of Islam and do not
want they or their loved ones to be killed or enslaved or made
Muslims there is reason to fear. Human beings naturally fear and hate
whatever is inimical to themselves and their families. This makes
Islamophobia rational.

Just because Islam has many adherents, much power itself, and the
sympathy of the powerful amongst non-Muslims, does not make it any
more palatable.

Yair Davidiy
(author, historian, commentator)
POB Jerusalem
Israel 91004

This kind of racist drivel passes as polite discourse in those circles?

Tony Greenstein said...

Yes it's pretty frightening. It wasn't that they sought to scapegoat Jews or attribute to them certain stereotypes, it was just they got it wrong. Judaism wasn't like that unlike the Moslem religion.

Only trouble is that Jews were indeed traders, lent money, had a Talmud which spoke about only saving life on the sabbath if it was a Jewish life. So there was a basis to what was alleged.

But of course most Jews no more lived according to the Talmud than Moslems live according to particular interpretations of the Quoran. What was the social function of anti-Semitism and how does it differ from Islamaphobia?

What goes around comes around.

Unknown said...

I subscribe the H-Antisemitism list. Ginsberg's post was circulated to all members of the list on the morning of 6 November.

David Lieberman
Boston, Massachusetts

Anonymous said...

Publication to the Internet of this discussion on the morning of 6 November does not make it available worldwide on that date. Local technical problems may, and often do, delay messages and web site access. There are also time and date differences meaning not everyone has it on November 6.

Unknown said...

How can possible (and in this case wholly hypothetical) technical problems with the posting of a listserv message justify the incendiary claim that is the header of Greenstein's post?

David Lieberman
Boston, Massachusetts

Tony Greenstein said...

Because Zionists have a habit of suppressing and censoring their opponents. It don't therefore buy the 'technical problems' and suspect that it was political embarrassment that caused the appearance of the article. Camera, Campus Watch, NGO Watch (in fact the very name 'watch' is a sign that Zionist McCarthuyites are at work) are the real problem.

One only has to see the efforts of the hideous Tammi Ross Benjamin and her Republican/Democrat friends to stifle free speech at California State University, the dismissal of Norman Finkelstine, the threat to Joseph Massad's tenture at Colombia to understand that this is not a question of a technical hitch or glitch.

Why is an Israeli Education Ministry official in a position to censor anyway? These people should be boycotted not given positions of power in academia.

Unknown said...

Yocheved Menashe is not "an Education Ministry official." She is an English teacher in the public school system.

You give no evidence that she has been in the habit of suppressing messages distributed to the H-Antisemitism list on the basis of their political bent. The logs of the list's activity going back eighteen years are freely available to the public ( In those logs you will find a wide range of political views expressed, including views unfriendly to Israel.

Lastly, the H-Net academic discussion network is not "at Michigan State University." MSU hosts the hardware and software; the discussion network is self-governed.