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Freedom to Hate: Academic Freedom

Reader comment on item: Profs Who Hate America

Submitted by Aviva Beinhauer (United States), Nov 13, 2002 at 11:27

As an Israeli at an American College , I can honestly say that most professors I have come in contact with are anti-Israeli or worse... My husband who is also Israeli and a critic of Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza even agrees with me that anti-Semitism is on the rise.

Criticism of Israel's policies is one thing, and as an Israeli I am entitled to disagree with my government, and others who are not Israeli are also entitled to criticize the government of Israel's policies. However, academia has become a polite hiding place for well-educated anti-Semites. It is understandable to hold a different opinion than someone else, but it is not okay to attack that person's personhood.

Recently, I had a professor of Political Science state: "What did they do with all those ashes at the concentration camps? Count them!!!" In essence, he was trying to deny the Holocaust and its victims. This statement was made during a Political Science class on the Middle East, and was made during a dialogue between students and this professor. He was fully aware that I am Israeli and that out of a class of thirty there were five American Jewish students in the class, not counting myself. I responded by shouting out to this professor by saying that he had crossed the line from academic free speech into the realm of "Hate Speech", to which he replied that I was a "racist". Needless to say I filed a complaint with the Dean of Faculty and as of today have not received a reply.
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