A wonderful new blog has been born –The Unabashed Zionist:
Remember Professor Andrew Pessin?
Anyone who follows the Long Arab War against the Jews of the Middle East knows about the harassment of vocal pro-Israel professors on western university campuses, including in the United States.
As I wrote in a piece last summer:
Professor Andew Pessin is a Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College. He studied at Yale and earned a PhD at Columbia University. He is the author of five books, including most recently Uncommon Sense: The Strangest Ideas From The Smartest Philosophers. He is also friendly to the Jewish State of Israel and in opposition to political Islam for reasons having to do with social justice and human rights.
Pessin, as you will recall, took a beating on his home campus for daring to disparage Hamas. Meanwhile, at San Francisco State University, professors Rabab Abdulhadi and Trevor R. Getz have partnered with what is perhaps the most racist university in the entire world, An-Najah National University, in the Palestinian Authority controlled town of Nablus. and nobody even blinks.
Well, I am pleased to see that Professor Pessin, is well-liked by most of his students, one of whom wrote this:
actually the best professor at conn. intensely passionate about the subject matter and works exceptionally hard to make sure his wording is precise and his arguments are clear. will go out of his way to help, he read 8 drafts of one of my essays. take pessin’s classes if you want to learn rigorous (real) philosophy.
Yet mob rule is precisely what happened this past semester at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, along the Thames River. Over the course of the past spring semester, philosophy professor Andrew Pessin was driven from campus based on a malevolent reading of a Facebook post in which he depicted “the situation” in Gaza as one in which the Israelis had confined a “rabid pit bull” to a cage, while animal rights activists protested for the poor beast’s release. Although Pessin didn’t specify in the text, he and a commenter did make clear that this metaphor referred to Hamas terrorists, not to the population generally.
But in an attack spearheaded by a Muslim student who in high school had begun a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, and a Muslim professor, recently appointed head of the new Global Islamic Studies Program, a small group of activists, given the run of the school paper by its editors, accused Pessin of comparing all Palestinians to rabid dogs and calling for them to be “put down.” Pessin, they claimed, “directly condoned the extermination of a people. A member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people.” The editor who arranged for the publication of all three letters did not ask Pessin for a response in the same issue.
Shock and horror spread through the community, triggering among many traumatic memories of verbal, racial, dehumanizing abuse, and arousing heretofore silenced “marginal voices.” A great cry went up against racists and hate-speakers of all kinds. Racist graffiti, probably written by an outsider, found in the Student Center bathroom, added to the cries of hurt and indignation. […]
While the invigorated community found new meaning, Professor Pessin found himself amid a waking nightmare. He and his family were the ones who became unsafe. A previous explosion had made his house uninhabitable; his ailing wife and three kids had to find new accommodations as Pessin found himself the subject of a relentless campaign of vilification. Thanks to an accusatory petition sponsored by the news editor, the episode became an object of worldwide reproof online, reaching even places from which have issued fanatics who have threatened to assassinate those who insult Islam.
At the same time, Pessin’s colleagues abandoned him. Indeed both administrators and colleagues urged him not to defend himself, lest he anger the accusing students further. One colleague asked him to stop making life difficult for other Jews still on campus by fighting back. The chair of his department threw him under the busin deference to student crying because Pessin had tried to defend himself.
Overwhelmed by the hostility and the lack of support, on March 23 Pessin took a medical leave of absence. The next day, the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) issued a formal condemnation of hate speech, citing “the Facebook post of a certain faculty member.” In rapid succession virtually every department, program, and institution on campus issued a similar pronouncement, marked primarily by mimetic and superficial piety about opposing hate-speech. Dissenters were pressured so that near total unanimity prevailed. During the entire episode, only one out of 200+ colleagues emailed Pessin to ask his side of the story.
Said one dissident faculty member to his colleagues: “Some of us will feel the emotion shame: shame at the way the faculty treated Andy. And I will be one of them.”
As Prof. Andrew Pessin argues in an important op-ed published in the American Thinker last weekend, anti-Zionism—or Zionophobia—is inherently anti-Semitic not because all Jews are hated but because some Jews are, namely those who are Zionists and “stand up for the rights of Jews…Those Jews who believe that Jews have the right of self-determination in that one sliver of earth that is their ancient homeland”.
As Pessin notes, Zionophobia is the rejection “for Jews qua Jews [of] the same basic dignity and rights that all other peoples enjoy. And that just is antisemitism”.
Well, academia and the university’s loss is our gain as Prof. Andrew Pessin has now started up his own blog which he calls The Unabashed Zionist – named for the very simple and clear reason:
“Because an unabashed Zionist is better than a bashed one.”
Never have truer words been spoken. Or typed.
What a refreshing change to meet a staunchly pro-Israel and proudly Jewish and Zionist Western academic. Prof. Pessin should be proud of himself and we should be proud of him and his courage in standing up for his – and our – convictions, even at the very great risk of personal attack, not to mention the detriment to his career.
Go and read his articles and enjoy the wealth of information therein, all delivered with a delightful dose of snark and humour.
The Unabashed Zionist is going to be a huge asset to the Jewish and Zionist blogging world, another voice to add to our growing choir in the fight against the delegitimization of Israel and the ultimate delegitimization of the Jews.