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Eric Zarahn, Ph.D. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

In a message dated May 09, 2005 12:55 AM Eastern Standard Time, Eric Zarahn writes:

Dear colleague of Bar-Ilan University,

I write to lend my full intellectual and fraternal support to your institution. I stand with you in defense of academic freedom and against anti-Semitism, whatever forms it might take. The idea ostensibly agreed to by the English AUT that Israel is a state that deserves sanction is a perversion of the truth. The English AUT boycott is a blight on their organization as it is clearly an expression of anti-Semitism, the beast that will not die, which the civilized world can not tolerate.

Israel has always pursued a policy that aims at cultivating peace with her neighbors while safeguarding the lives of her people. This is unfortunately not so of her neighbors, in particular the Palestinians who, since choosing to wage a war of annihilation against Israel in 1948 over founding a peaceful Palestinian state, have continued to work feverishly towards that annihilation. This hatred of Israel by large segments of the Arab world manifests the worst of human nature, and draws its demonic energy from pan Arabo-fascist nationalism and biologico-racial ideologies that share historical roots with those of Nazi Germany. Israel has thus always been thrust into a life-or-death struggle for existence. This is a sadly ironic fate for a nation that would give almost anything for true peace; that is true peace, as opposed to escalating ransoms. But she has always fought vigorously and with valor for her survival against the implacable enemy, because to do otherwise would mean her sure destruction.

I ponder on how similar Israel's struggle has been to that of Britain in 1941, the only democracy left in Europe capable of defeating the fiendish forces of Nazism and liberating occupied Europe. It would have been all too easy for Britain, seemingly alone and friendless, to lie down and give up, to succumb to the relentless bombings of her people, bombs which shredded English mothers and children to bits and burnt fathers alive. How real were the threats of an invasion from across the channel if she continued to fight. And did not Hitler promise to "safeguard" the borders of Britain if she allowed Germany free reign on the continent? With the military and political odds so against her, why did the British under Churchill not accept the peace bargain? Firstly, it was not in the prevailing British character to yield to dictators. But secondly, by that time they and the rest of the world knew from dismaying experience that Hitler was the world's most profound and dangerous liar. To make a devil's bargain a la Munich with Hitler would surely spell the end of Britain and in time the remaining free world. Who amongst the AUT would dare blaspheme their parents and grandparents and Britain's dead by saying the British should have surrendered to false messages of peace from a force bent on destroying them?

The parallels between the darkest days of modern Britain and Israel's defensive struggle against the Palestinians and the pan-Arab hordes is striking to me, which makes the AUT boycott even more dismaying. As the Nazis did, the Palestinians have made solemn promises of peace and broken them by spilling blood, Israeli blood, over and over and over again; they have thus shown themselves to have no honor, and so their future word cannot be trusted. The Palestinians alone may not have the military might of the Wermacht and Luftwaffe; they and their pan-Arab confederates have never able to destroy the valiant and formidable Israeli military. Instead they kill through lying, through terrorism, and they incite hatred of the Jewish state of Israel through racist propaganda world-wide. This latter means of attack is the most insidious. It portrays besieged Israel as aggressor; it masquerades the murderous eliminationist anti-Semitism of the Palestinians as calls for peace. Pan-Arab protesters, media experts, and opinion-shapers have invaded Western campuses and faculty, in a well-orchestrated plot to spin the unrelenting aggression of the revanchist Palestinians and their real goal (genocide of the Jewish people, the rhetoric for which is on proud display in important elements of the Arab and Palestinian media and culture, but is deliberately hidden from non-Arabic speaking audiences), into a politically correct, anti-colonial ad hominem against Israel. The efficacy of this message in the West relies on an ignorance of material historical facts and current events, and is not at all hurt by latent anti-Semitism in any of its multifarious forms. Again, I am dismayed and gravely disappointed that the English AUT gave any credence to this risibly disguised hate-propaganda, which is equal measures devious legerdemain which paints the defense efforts of Israel as aggression while conveniently ignoring why she needs to defend herself in the first place and unadulterated lies that any academic worth his or her salt should be able to falsify with the research tools available on his or her desktop.

The only rational explanation of the English AUT boycott of your institution and Haifa University is that it was deemed by the yea-sayers as a socially acceptable expression of anti-Semitism. Here they have made a mistake, as those of us in academia for whom humanism, decency, and truth trump prejudice and hatred have bore witness to what they have done. We morally and ethically condemn them and their heinous affront to what is right and good. And, if even possible, their move is made doubly reprehensible by their failure to formally boycott complicit institutions of other countries who are indeed engaged in horrific human rights violations, like Iran.

I look forward to fruitful and edifying collegial relationships with your faculty, even after this crisis is over.


Eric Zarahn, Ph.D.
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

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