At the end of January, my post Hate by name, hate by nature pointed to Amira Hass‘ hate speech at Kent University. There were complaints. As the Campaign against Antisemitism reports:
“Asked to clarify the University’s position and what action will now be taken to prevent the use of further antisemitic rhetoric at the University under the guise of political discourse about Israel, David Powell, Head of the Office of the Vice Chancellor told us to confirm that no action would be taken…”
What did Mr Powell write in his response to the complaints, explaining why no action would be taken?
Are you ready?
Here comes that excuse:
“A debate may doubtless be had about the precise point that Ms Hass may have been making in her own presentation but we would note that she is a bona fide (and award winning) journalist working for a respected Israeli newspaper.”
It’s OK, because she’s a journalist? Have you ever heard such garbage?
As a separate issue, I would argue that Haaretz is respected in the same way that the Guardian is respected: not very much.
As the Campaign site says:
“Claiming that the “Elders of Zion” plotted the subjugation of Arabs is not free speech; it is hate speech.
Using that phrase is inexcusable, especially when the person using it is doing so advisedly to an audience of students, knowing the full connotations of her words, both as a Jew and as an “award-winning” journalist.
It is a disgrace that the University of Kent has decided that no action will be taken against the organisers, and that no change in policy is required to prevent antisemitic rhetoric disguised as political discourse in the future.”
If you are Jewish, the message is clear: stay away from the University of Kent, unless you want to be exposed to unfettered antisemitism, with no right of recourse.
The Elder of Ziyon, where I first saw this follow up, comments:
There you go! If you are a “bona fide” and award wining journalist, you cannot be possibly say anything that is too offensive for college audiences!
It’s a get out of jail card for antisemites!
Antisemitic conspiracy theories are not to be shunned, as long as they are promulgated by someone who is famous. Hass’ fame allows antisemitism to rise from something that is reprehensible into something that can be legitimately debated.
That is exactly what Kent University is saying.
The Elder goes on to make this pertinent point:
As far as this new guidance that being an award winning journalist may say whatever he or she wants on campus without consequence, I wonder if that rule applies to all forms of bigotry, or only one specific kind?
I think I know the answer.