In Solidarity with Columbia Faculty Protecting Students’ Rights
Dr Lee, you found out that confronting APA corruption & Goldwater rule was not good for your esteemed academic career. The corrupted institutions (on their faces they seem to be prestigious) have created certain invisible walls that must be adhered to.
Same thing applies to criticism of Israel. If you criticize Israel, you will be declared anti-semite and your academic career will be in jeopardy. I can give a long lecture on Israel, how it's an artificial state created out of Palestine and how Israel has destabilized the middle east since so many decades. But that's a different matter.
The main point that matters is that Bibi Netanyahu & his regime is of the same ilk as of Putin, Trump and Modi. A Pathocratic authoritarian regime (masquerading as a Democracy) that is destructive to society. Bibi is in same boat as Trump. Charged with corruption scandals, bribery etc , despised by Israeli population who have been protesting against him since many years and his political career sinking fast. To escape jail and maintain power, only thing that can save him is WAR. Hamas is a strategic asset of Israel - originally created to neutralize secular political PLO govt of Palestine. Hamas is funded by Israel and by Bibi, even openly.
I undoubtedly believe that Bibi was fully aware of Intel reports that Hamas is preparing for Terror attacks. Bibi saw it as an ultimate opportunity to save his sunk political career & escape prosecution from his long corruption tenures. Bibi allowed Hamas terror attack to happen so that he can utilize the crisis to salvage his power - as simple as it is. Bibi is a Genocidal maniac (see his rhetoric about Palestine civilians & children - no psychologically healthy person can think of such words). Bibi will kill as many people to maintain his power, even if it means starting a big war in middle east and dragging US into it.
Unfortunately, many American academicians & intellectuals are cowards. They're not ready to risk their academic/professional careers by speaking truth about Israel.
This is Israel's war, not ours. We need to be ostentatiously neutral because we have valuable diplomatic, economic and political relationships with Israel's Arab neighbors. It is a tough neighborhood. And there is no reason for us to intervene - Israel's military is superior to that of its foes.
I understand free yet not violent speech. Racism is violence.
I totally agree with the intent of the letter, believing that people should speak up and be heard.
However, I'm very discouraged about the situation in the Middle East conflict where it is only one symptom of a broader and deeper psychological/anthropological dilemma. Everyone normally needs to have some sense of personal control, while people go about having it in different ways. Some who are regarded as "primitive" seek control through domination and live for conflict between "winners" and "losers." Others, whom I regard as among the advancement of human civilization, seek control through compromise and live for consensus among people. Religious belief in itself is terribly vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by demagogues who are the types in that first group. Those types form and maintain radical religious believers who then use violence to dominate and control. Here also can be seen the hope for people in the second group, however, especially through secular law and having religious belief be separated from it. It's the purpose of the U.S. First Amendment, as it is properly interpreted and administered. It's intended to put religious beliefs in a safe place, thereby having strife supposedly about religious beliefs put behind and away from all of us. I state "supposedly" because I believe that those demagogues who dangerously radicalize religious beliefs and contribute to the strife are actually abusing the piety of others in order to control through domination. It's how people can see such a difference between the scriptures and some people's behavior. Any solution to the Mid-East conflict would require U.S. First Amendment law (secular) everywhere and not have "Jewish," "Islamist," et al., states at all. It's Ironic about the Jewish people themselves who have been among immigrants to the U.S. and who've made a very good living in a country that has protected them (while still facing some bigotry) by secular law. Some now have enough to make donations or withhold them in the name of religion. Such donations would best be in support of ideas, policies, laws that are reflected in the Columbia/Bard letter.