Yet Another Pro-Israel Organization Targets Robinson

The pro-Israel and Orwellian named Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), asks, “Was Professor Robinson’s email an attempt at political indoctrination of his students?” Answer: No. Robinson shared information from the world journalistic community with his global sociology class. This is the method of class.

Question: “Did he invite student discussion and critical evaluation of other information and alternative views?” Answer: Yes, he asks students to discuss and critically evaluate everything in his classes. That’s his teaching method. He covers this the first day and emphasizes it throughout.

Question: “Does Professor Robinson have academic expertise regarding the issues in the email, specifically, the conflict in the Middle East and the life and beliefs of Martin Luther King?” Answer: Definitely. He is an expect on conflicts throughout the world, including in the Middle East, and he is, and anybody who studies the history of social justice, qualified to speak on the life and beliefs of Martin Luther King. If Martin Luther King Jr. would have said the same things about Israel, would SPME would have labeled King an anti-Semite, too.

Question: “Did Professor Robinson’s email meet standards of scholarly competence in that the text was factually accurate?” Answer: The e-mail comprised of interpretations of current events within a historical-comparative sociological framework. Academics are allowed to present sociological interpretations of current and historical events. So, yes, the email met standards of scholarly competence.

Question: “Was Professor Robinson’s email anti-Semitic?” Answer: Of course not. He was criticizing the state of Israel. He neither said nor implied anything prejudicial about or discriminatory towards Jews. As if it were relevant, SPME went on to quote the US Department of State in its Report on Global anti-Semitism and the US Commission on Civil Rights in its Public Education Campaign to End Campus Anti-Semitism: 

An important issue is the distinction between legitimate criticism of policies and practices of the State of Israel, and commentary that assumes an anti-Semitic character. The demonization of Israel, or vilification of Israeli leaders, sometimes through comparisons with Nazi leaders, and through the use of Nazi symbols to caricature them, indicates an anti-Semitic bias rather than a valid criticism of policy concerning a controversial issue.

Unfortunately for SPME, neither the State Department nor the US Commission of Civil Rights owns the definition of antisemitism, which is here rationalized specifically to level the charge of antisemitism against critics of Israel.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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