A follow-up to yesterday’s post about the war on William Robinson. Robinson said on my radio show yesterday that the ADL’s Abe Foxman came to Santa Barbara to organize a meeting of sympathetic profs to encourage the university to go after Robinson. This is clearly an attempt by a very well-financed organization (the ADL’s budget is some $50 million a year) to restrict political speech and academic freedom.
Some of the comments here and on Facebook suggest that somehow Robinson “crossed a line” by likening Israeli behavior in Gaza to the Nazis. On the show, Robinson said that he drew a comparison between the siege of Warsaw and the siege of Gaza—sealing off both areas created a desperate situation of disease and famine. This is undeniably true, though it might make some people uncomfortable to hear this.
I shouldn’t have to say this, because it does involve a ritual of deference to imperial power, but such is hegemony. I’ve always been very careful to draw a distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. I’ve been very critical of some of the awful stuff that goes out over WBAI’s airwaves, and did a long interview with my friend Joel Schalit on the anti-Semitism behind many left critiques of Israel). I have some cred in this area. Robinson’s critique has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, and everything to do with a critique of brutality.
I’ll be posting the show to my radio archive later today.