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Prof Under Attack for Criticisizing Israel
by ADC
Sunday Feb 29th, 2004 10:33 AM
Adjunct Political Science Professor Leighton Armitage
of Foothill College is being targeted by the
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other pro-Israel
groups for comments he made in an interview in the
student newspaper The Sentinel. According to the San
Jose Mercury News article below, Armitage said the
following:
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
522 Valencia St San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 861-7444 adcsf [at] hotmail.com
http://www.adcsf.org


Please Act and Forward:

Professor Under Attack at Foothill College!

Take action to defend free speech!

Adjunct Political Science Professor Leighton Armitage
of Foothill College is being targeted by the
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other pro-Israel
groups for comments he made in an interview in the
student newspaper The Sentinel. According to the San
Jose Mercury News article below, Armitage said the
following:

"Armitage said, of Israeli treatment of Palestinians:
'And what are they doing with Palestinians, every day?
They're killing them. They're
walling them in, they're essentially doing the same
thing that was done to them. . . . It's exactly what
Hitler did to the Jews.'"

This valid critique of Israeli government policy is
being labeled by the ADL as "anti-Semitic" and
Armitage could be subject to disciplinary action, or
possibly termination.

Foothill College and Professor Armitage have been
receiving hundreds of phone calls and emails
condemning Armitage and demanding Foothill to take
action against him. They are under tremendous
pressure and need to be urged to uphold the values of
the freedom of speech and the right of academics, and
everyone else, to present criticism of any
government's policies. This is just one instance in a
string of attacks on college professors by groups such
as the ADL and Daniel Pipes' CampusWatch.

Please contact the President and Vice President of
Foothill College, supporting Armitage's right to
freedom of speech and urging them not to cave in to
those who wish to silence academic debate about the
Israel/Palestine conflict.

President Bernadine Fong:
fongbernadine [at] foothill.edu
650-949-7425

Vice President of Technology and Instruction Penny
Patz:
patzpenny [at] foothill.edu
650-949-7070

Please also send letters to the editor of the Mercury
News regarding
this issue:

letters [at] mercurynews.com

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/7917724.htm

Posted on Tue, Feb. 10, 2004
Remarks spur college probe
ANTI-ISRAEL: FOOTHILL INVESTIGATES PUBLICATION OF
PROFESSOR'S
COMMENTS
By S.L. Wykes
Mercury News

Two weeks after a newspaper interview with a professor
prompted a furor over what some on campus believed
were anti-Semitic comments, Foothill
College administrators are investigating how the story
came to be published and are scheduling a meeting with
the Anti-Defamation League.

In a letter about the situation, college President
Bernadine Chuck Fong called the interview with adjunct
political science Professor Leighton
Armitage "regrettable." Neither she nor other
administration officials could be reached for comment
beyond her letter, and it was unclear whether Armitage
would be subject to disciplinary action.

In the question-and-answer style interview, published
Jan. 28 in the student-funded paper The Sentinel,
Armitage said, of Israeli treatment of Palestinians:
"And what are they doing with Palestinians, every day?
They're killing them. They're walling them in, they're
essentially
doing the same thing that was done to them. . . . It's
exactly what Hitler did to the Jews."

Fong's letter apologized to those offended by the
article and said it "includes various allegations
regarding the Israeli people and the state of Israel
that are of serious concern to me and many members of
the Foothill community."

She continues, "Our goal as a higher education
institution is to ensure proper dialogue takes place."

Faculty newspaper adviser Paul Starer could not be
reached for comment.

Fong has agreed to meet with the Anti-Defamation
League's Central Pacific regional director Jonathan
Bernstein in about two weeks, something she would not
do in October 2002 when the ADL wrote her a letter
with another complaint. A student had dropped out of a
class after the teacher opened the semester with
remarks that Israel was engaging in ethnic cleansing,
adding, something it had probably learned from the
Nazis.

After the first incident, Fong sent an e-mail to the
ADL saying Foothill had "policies in place that
protect everyone, not just students, of their First
Amendment rights."

Bernstein said the ADL had recently conducted a
workshop on hate speech for students and faculty
members at De Anza College in Cupertino. "We were
asked to do that because there'd been a problem," he
said. But, he added, "these same issues exist at most
schools, and what ends up happening is that generally
administrators don't want to acknowledge the problems.
. . . As a result the problem festers and you have
this."

Foothill student Tatyana Povolotsky, president of
Foothill's Jewish Student Union, was very upset by the
Sentinel piece. "It wasn't just him attacking the
political issue of the Israeli government. Instead he
was attacking the Jewish people in general," she said.
"I think this is a hate thing."

Armitage would not comment beyond saying, "I'm so
disgusted with the whole thing." He also said that
none of the people "giving me flack" have been his
students.

He teaches an introductory political science course at
Foothill and also teaches at the College of San Mateo.

Bernstein said that the ADL was very concerned about
the atmosphere Armitage might be creating in his
classes. "Every instructor has opinions, and we all
have our own biases," he said. "The key is to be
open to differing viewpoints in the classroom so you
don't shut people down."

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mercury News Staff Writer Thaai Walker contributed to
this report.
Contact S.L. Wykes at swykes [at] mercurynews.com or
(650) 688-7599. Fax
(650) 688-7555.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Please...Please...Monday Mar 1st, 2004 7:59 AM
Arabs alwyas shoot themselves in the footIntifada sucksSunday Feb 29th, 2004 4:38 PM
US & Israel Attacking Palestine for 56+ YearsSocialistSunday Feb 29th, 2004 3:51 PM
That's the real problemNot a valid critiqueSunday Feb 29th, 2004 3:22 PM
When will ADL Protest Latest Anti-Semitic, Pro Death Penalty Movie?SocialistSunday Feb 29th, 2004 3:16 PM

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