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Monday, November 27, 2023

Once Again, the AAUP Ignores Antisemitism

My new essay in The Hill explains how a recent statement from the American Association of University Professors discounts antisemitism on U.S. campuses.

Here is the gist (I did not write the headline):

Hypocritical definitions of ‘academic freedom’ empower extremists 

by Steven Lubet, opinion contributor - 11/27/23

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) quite rightly calls itself the “most prominent guardian of academic freedom” for faculty and students in the U.S. In a recent statement on the Israel-Hamas war, however, titled “Polarizing Times Demand Robust Academic Freedom” the AAUP displayed a distressing anti-Israel bias that sadly undermines its commitment to even-handed protection of free expression. 

The AAUP, however, addresses only one rhetorical excess, even though it is almost entirely non-existent, declaring that it “rejects the characterization of pro-Palestinian speech or critiques of the Israeli state as invariably antisemitic.” That is a classic straw person. Apart from an occasional crank or zealot, nobody has ever charged that pro-Palestinian advocacy or criticism of Israel is “invariably” antisemitic.  

Meanwhile, the AAUP statement says not a word about the threats to the academic freedom of Jewish students, who have been insulted and marginalized on many campuses.

It is deeply objectionable, as the AAUP statement points out, that pro-Palestinian faculty have been “investigated, suspended, or fired.” But the same is true of the Jewish professors who have been suspended — as at Johns HopkinsSouthern California, and NYU — for anti-Hamas statements, and others who have been isolated or threatened, never mentioned by the AAUP. 

You can read the full essay in The Hill.

Posted by Steve Lubet on November 27, 2023 at 12:15 PM | Permalink


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