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Posted on May 6 at 5:28 a.m.
1Preston has done a truly horrible job of reporting on this story. In his opening paragraph, he says "charges of anti-Semitism . . . have been levied by the Academic Senate". And that is just not true. The University is primarily concerned with Robinson's violation of the faculty code of conduct, which prohibits a professor from sending students unsolicited emails that are unrelated to the course work. Such an action would be an abuse of power and that is what the University is (in my view, appropriately) investigating.
I think that the University may also be investigating whether the professor was honest in his response to the allegations. One of the students said that the professor told him (or her) that the email was personal and unrelated to the course work. Of course, now he and his supporters are taking a contrary position - that the email was related to the course and that the university, the students and the public should not be interfering with the professor's academic freedom to teach whatever he likes.
In any event, it seems almost as if Preston simply cut and paste his article from Robinson's supporters' website, or let them write most of the article for him.
2Robinson was the person that put the charges of "anti-Semitism" in play and he did that in the SPAM email that he sent to his students. Before giving any of his students an opportunity to respond to his email or debate its content, he made it clear that he would view any criticism of his ideology as an allegation of anti-Semitism. That is not "academic inquiry", it is academic blackmail.
3I commend these two students for taking a stand that they knew would be incredibly unpopular with their peers. The UCSB community has been hijacked by the pro-Palestinian lobby that refuses to recognize the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If most UCSB students are to be believed, Israel alone caused the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel alone has the power to make peace with the Palestinians. If any student that has "studied" the issue believes that (in any small degree), then the university is simply failing them. This conflict is incredibly complex and the Palestinians, though not blameless, are pawns in a greater struggle that involves Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, the United States, Israel, many European nations and a host of non-state actors - some of whom are extremely powerful.
4The professor's original email was entirely devoid of academic merit. It was propaganda and nothing more. Whether the professor violated the faculty code of conduct or not, the suggestion that something can be learned from the juxtaposition of graphic photographic images is academically and intellectually absurd.
The Holocaust was a singular event in history. The Nakba was a singular event in history. It is time for academia to recognize that it is not necessary to destroy all evidence of the Holocaust to understand the significance of the Nakba.
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