Several months ago, Professor William I. Robinson, a self described “scholar -activist” and professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara forwarded an email to his students condemning Israel. The email contained images of Nazi atrocities along with images from Israel’s defensive campaign against Hamas’s terror. This comparison is considered by both the US State Dept and the European Union, in their working paper on Anti-Semitism to cross the line into anti-Semitism, and was so disturbing to at least two students that they felt compelled to drop his class. Because of the nature of the emails, the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the UCSB Academic Senate’s Charges Committee have become involved.
The summary of allegations against Robinson include:
* As professor of an academic course, he sent each student enrolled in his course a highly partisan email accompanied by lurid photographs.
* The email was unexpected and without educational context and was unrelated to the course
* No avenue to discuss or respond to the opinions and photographs was included in the email.
* As a result, two enrolled students felt too uncomfortable to continue with the course.
Robinson’s behavior is considered to be in violation of the UC Santa Barbara Faculty Code of Conduct.
In an effort to mobilize support for Robinson and his agenda, the ironically named Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UC Santa Barbara has spammed an appeal for “solidarity”across the state in Marxist chatrooms and anti-Israel sites. Caesar "El Che" Rodriguez, claims that the basis of the complaints against Robinson are that 1) critique of Israel is evidence of anti-Semitism and 2) the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be discussed in a class on Globalization.
Of course- that isn’t what the ADL letter to Robinson said at all.
“While your writings are protected by the First amendment and academic freedom, we rely on our own rights to say that your comparisons of Nazis and Israelis are offensive... and have crossed the line well beyond legitimate criticism of Israel.... the tone and the extreme views presented in your email were intimidating to students and likely chilled thoughtful discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian issue”
Caesar, William- do you need help distinguishing between legitimate criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism?
We want to help. Try Natan Sharansky’s test, the 3' D’s
The first D is the test of demonization. Is the world’s only Jewish state being demonized by having its actions blown out of proportion?
The second D is the test of double standards. Is criticism of Israel being applied selectively?
The third D is the test of deligitimization. We know that all nations have flaws- but does Israel alone have fatal flaws that invalidate its existence and justify its destruction?