My Letter to Clark University President and Hillel Head on the Finkelstein Cancellation

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Dear Sirs:

Once again, a university has bowed to pressure to limit free speech and academic freedom. Once again, in so doing, it has made itself a laughing-stock and has amplified the message of the person disinvited. The excuses are transparently false. From Freud to Fraud in just under a century; you must be so proud. Well done!

I understand that a college president’s main job is to ensure the flow of funding, but one would hope that some vague notion of the educational purpose of the university would still occasionally penetrate the miasma of corporate decision-making.

As for Hillel’s position, take it from this American Jew whose family lost members during the Nazi holocaust: by using that historical event to undermine, Nazi-like, the free speech and academic freedom of a nonviolent scholar, you have committed one of the worst moral atrocities I can imagine that doesn’t entail physical violence. Well done!

This is surely the triumph of ethnocentrism over ethics, and it pretty much solidifies in the public’s mind that Dr. Finkelstein’s work on Israeli crimes in the occupied territories, and the ideological use of the Holocaust to silence those crimes, is pretty much on the ball.

I’m of two minds on this — on the one hand, I’d like to see you stop your hysterical jihad against Finkelstein; on the other hand, said hysteria is the best imaginable publicity for his utterly crucial message. Given my experience with Hillel and other supposedly representative Jewish organizations, there is little chance that any of you will stop acting like little Dershowitzes, so my desires are probably beside the point.

So, keep up the good work: your hysterical reactions only serve to widen the cracks in American Zionism.


Doug Tarnopol


  1. Doug,

    You do know this blog entry is the 17th hit on google for "ClarkU Hillel", right?

    That certainly says something.

    I'm glad we got them to let Norman speak.

  2. I had no idea; thanks for letting me know! :)


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