Letter to Chronicle on 'Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein'

Letter to Editor Chronicle of Higher Education
on 'Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein'

To: Jeanne Ferris
Senior Editor
The Chronicle of Higher Education

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your notification letter. Please find my revised Letter to the Editor in response to the referenced matter. I hope you are able to publish this one. The matter is unfortunately too serious to not receive considered input from the public, or to not be debated among the public themselves who are directly impacted by it, and too complex to be dealt fairly within the very few words that are generally permitted for 'letters to editor'. I hope that the Chronicle can publish this response despite it being a bit long, and despite Chronicle's understandably limited space, given the national and international importance of this matter and the sanity of America's Higher Education system and the society it serves.

Kind Regards
Zahir Ebrahim.

(resubmitted April 13, 2007)

---begin Letter to the Chronicle Editor ---

The case of "Harvard Law Professor Seeks to Block Tenure for Adversary at DePaul U." is of significant public concern even beyond what is disclosed in Chronicle's article of April 13, 2007. Indeed, the article is significant for what was not addressed by its author Jennifer Howard, namely, the overarching social and political context that underlie this attempt to deny one of the few remaining gadflies in this nation a permanent perch that might enable him to continue freely doing his work of seeding 'radically independent' thoughts into the consciousness of a peoples who are dexterously being primed with "United we Stand", and any opposition to which is offered the binary god-fatherly choice "either you are with us or with the terrorists". That is indeed the primary context - the trumpeting elephant on the newlyweds' bed and unfortunately missing in the afore titled report - in the backdrop of which, this public hullabaloo is being raised.

As your reporter quoted Mr. Dershowitz astutely noting ' "For me, it's not personal. It's institutional." ' This space is too limited to do justice to this topic except to briefly note that the approximately 2000 American Universities in this superpower "populist democracy" serve a manifest constituency, its peoples. They also however serve another crucial constituency, its institutional ruling elite that run this nation. The topic is further expounded in the essay "Responsibility of Intellectuals - Redux" available on http://www.humanbeingsfirst.org. In that context, the empirically observed de facto modus operandi of many prominent academic institutions in this nation has come to exclusively serve the intellectual interests of the latter. Who will serve the interests of the former, if not the gadflies? Hence in recognition of this fact alone, all the red herrings of this case must be stripped aside, including charges and counter charges of "incompetency" and "plagiarism" noted by your reporter, and the real reasons for this opposition to tenure of a gadfly be brought into prominence. Namely, "Its institutional", whereby, it serves the interests of the 'institutions of the state' and its 'institutional scholars' - who are often the progenitors of the policies of the state - to not have any opposition voiced to them, especially from moralist academic like Finkelstein who also has a very special and unique heritage that sometimes lends his views even further legitimacy in the eyes of the plebeian peoples thirsting for genuine analysis in a reign of obfuscation and "false pretexts" by 'institutional scholarship' as witnessed for the drumbeat for the war on Iraq that has seen at least 3000 sons and daughters of America dead [1]. One such prominent governing political philosophy of this superpower nation was seeded by Professors Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington from the august halls of Ivy of Princeton and Harvard universities respectively, when they planted the "clash of civilizations" that has now become the all permeating mantra du jour and the distorted prism through which all foreign policy calculus, including the "war on terrorism" confronting the peoples of this nation, is informed. It is also the calculus that is being used to craft foreign policy alliances, such as the one with Israel, of which Mr. Dershowitz is among its many ardent and manifest institutional exponents, and Mr. Finkelstein, the most visible among its handful of gadfly critics. [2]

Thus the President of Depaul U must be allowed to freely identify his own intellectual position on which constituency he intends to serve by allowing him to make this tenure decision without prejudice or interference from any quarters. [3] Let the world witness how the "Zion that will light up all the world" [4] is being deftly constructed in the hallways of Higher Education in the United States of America in a disturbing and systematic trend of muzzling even the rare dissenting speech using similar transparent pretexts [5] [6], and who among its courageous peoples stood up to it, to defend the most valuable contribution of America's Higher Education system to modernity du jour - its academic freedom of thought.

With respect,

Zahir Ebrahim
Founder Project Humanbeingsfirst (http://www.humanbeingsfirst.org)
United States of America


[1] Bernard Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern and Ottoman Studies, Princeton Univ., Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf, co-author of CPSG Letter to then incumbent President Clinton, February 19, 1998, advocating war on Iraq on the pretext of 'weapons of mass destruction' from the hallowed corridors of the Ivy League, originally available on the CPSG website, and now from: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Committee_for_Peace_and_Security_in_the_Gulf

[2] And what does this minor gadfly advocate? The overthrow of United States of America or treachery against its good peoples or invasion of another nation? Should the plebeians be allowed to judge for themselves? Witness his 'moral crimes' in the curriculum description of the two Winter 2007 courses that he offered this year at DePaul: PSC 233.201 (http://condor.depaul.edu/~psc/syllabi/200-levl/233Finkel07w.pdf) and PSC 339.201 (http://condor.depaul.edu/~psc/syllabi/300-levl/339Finkel07w.pdf). And what does he advocate in his 5 books, if anything other than the essential simple moral truth that every fair American would be immensely interested to learn in order to avoid inadvertently becoming complicit in the "banality of evil" by only hearing one view point and then supporting it "United We Stand": 'Please don't abuse the unforgettable memory of the Holocaust and the hideous anti-Semitism that even my own parents were a manifest victims of, to construct other new innocent victims of Israel in the name of the Jewish peoples and their genuine suffering throughout the past two millenniums'? (in the words of this scribe)

[3] Project Humanbeingsfirst, "Open Letter to President of Depaul University - On the merit of Dershowitz vs. Finkelstein", April 10, 2007, http://humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2007/04/open-letter-to-president-of-depaul.html

[4] Interview with Shadia Drury, Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, Director of the Masters Program in Social and Political Thought and Professor in the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy, University of Regina, Canada, "Noble lies and perpetual war: Leo Strauss, the neocons, and Iraq", October 16, 2003, http://www.opendemocracy.net/debates/article-2-95-1542.jsp

[5] Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History, Columbia University, "Response to the Ad Hoc Grievance Committee Report", April 04, 2005, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/mealac/faculty/massad/

[6] Baruch Kimmerling, Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 'Can a “Patriotic” Mob Take Over the Universities?', March 29, 2005, http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Mar05/Kimmerling0329.htm

---end letter ---

The author, a minor justice activist, grew up in Pakistan, studied EECS at MIT, engineered for a while in high-tech Silicon Valley (patents here), and retired early to pursue other responsible interests. He may be reached via humanbeingsfirst on gmail com.

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