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Leading Radical Scholar Under Right Wing Attack at University of California Santa Barbara
by Defend Academic Freedom Everywhere
Tuesday May 5th, 2009 12:48 AM
William Robinson, a leading radical scholar whose work is often used in movements in the global South, is under attack from the right at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Academic Freedom Controversy at the University of California Santa Barbara

Leading Scholar Radical Accused of Anti-Semitism

Professor William Robinson, a world renowned Jewish scholar, is facing charges of Anti-Semitism at the University of California Santa Barbara. A list of his publication and other information about his work can be found at: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/robinson/

The charges are the result of an email sent by Robinson to a post-graduate class in January this year titled "parallel images of Nazis and Israelis." The email contained images of Jewish victims of the Nazis alongside nearly identical images from the Gaza Strip. It also included an article critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians and a note from Robinson which said that: "Gaza is Israel's Warsaw -- a vast concentration camp that confined and blockaded Palestinians," the professor wrote. "We are witness to a slow-motion process of genocide."

Robinson has rejected charges of anti-Semitism arguing that:

"That's like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I'm anti-American," he said. "It's the most absurd, baseless argument."

The Anti Defamation League have argued that:

"You can criticize Israel; you can criticize the war in Gaza," Foxman said. "But to compare what the Israelis are doing in defense of their citizens to what the Nazis did to the Jews is clearly anti-Semitism."

There is currently an international campaign in defence of Professor Robinson which has received the backing of many individuals and organisations including Noam Chomsky. Chomsky’s letter is here: http://sb4af.wordpress.com/letters-of-support/letters-from-professors/

Some people who support the claim endorse Robinson’s analogy between Gaza and the Warsaw ghetto and others see that analogy as inappropriate. But all supporters of the campaign take the view that academics have the right to take and defend their own views on these matters and to circulate a range of material to their students for their consideration.

There is an article from the Los Angeles Times on this case at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-professor30-2009apr30,0,7753995.story

There is an article from the Christian Science Monitor on this case at: http://groups.google.com/group/misc.education.home-school.christian/browse_thread/thread/5088d018e35894cb?pli=1

The Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at the University of California Santa Barbara have a website (which details the case and breaking developments) at: http://sb4af.wordpress.com/

There is a petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/cdafsb/petition.html

There is a YouTube video of a statement of one of the complainants at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj0dWOOgOeQ

The Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at the University of California Santa Barbara are asking people to sign an online petition and to right letters of support for Robinson. Full details as to who to write to etc are at: http://sb4af.wordpress.com/
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Intalluctual freedommark JacobsWednesday May 6th, 2009 3:40 AM
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