Tuesday, June 03, 2003
University professors and administrators frequently throw the term "McCarthyism" around as a term of abuse under inappropriate circumstances, but when the phenomenon actually appears, as in Professor Qumsiyeh�s message, they are tongue-tied. Professor Qumsiyeh�s message contains all the hallmarks of the phenomenon usually described as McCarthyism. It makes unfounded accusations from a person in a position of authority against students who possess no recourse against him. The accusations are intended to damage the reputations of the students he listed by smearing them as members of a sinister "pro-war cabal," as "Straussians," "neo-cons," "Israeli apologists" and "racists."Or "extremist". During the attempt to gloss over the Israeli flag incident, the Jewish Faculty Association made an issue of a Jews for the Preservation of Firearms' poster (which Dave put up on this blog) and referred to it, in the words of its president in an email to me, as "For many Jews, especially those with family members who were exterminated during the Holocaust, this poster raises issues of simplification, exploitation, sensationalism, and the provocative appropriation of a key Jewish image for an extreme domestic political position." This was enough for the JFA to state that "While the majority of Israelis are Jews, not all Jews are Israelis. To confuse the two is not only ignorant, it is very much part of contemporary variants of anti-Semitism that are on the rise in Europe and the United States." Another faculty member said, "When students make shameful choices, what is the other option? ... The students seem to have misunderestimated the offense they caused--OR they intended to be offensive and belligerent."
As I replied to them, "Besides, if extremism weren�t protected on college campuses, where exactly would it be? Senator McCarthy, call your office!"