By Jeff Gates
July 2nd, 2009
At the University of California Santa Barbara, proceedings against sociology Professor William Robinson dragged on until 100 professors and 20 department heads demanded they end. The intimidation campaign spanned the time from the Israeli attack on Gaza to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the White House. Not until June 24th did university administrators terminate all proceedings. By then, the damage was done—not just to the reputation of Robinson and the University of California but also to national security.
The ADL and the Simon Wiesenthal Center attacked Robinson after he posted on his website a photo essay critical of Israeli policy that had circulated for weeks on the Internet. In this case, Aaron Ettenberg, a member of the Faculty Senate Charges Committee, collaborated with Santa Barbara rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer who reviled Robinson locally and urged—along with the ADL—that he be disciplined for this “anti-Semitic” conduct.
With the exception of Chancellor Henry Yang, everyone involved was Jewish, including Robinson. At the urging of the rabbi, ADL President Abe Foxman and ADL’s nationwide network, Dr. Yang was intimidated with threats to withhold university funding. Ettenberg had served the previous two years as president of the local chapter of B’nai B’rith, an ADL affiliate. Gross-Schaefer was director of the local chapter of Hillel, another ADL affiliate.
Mark Yudof, president of the University of California, opted not to intervene. His wife, Judith, is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism representing 760 synagogues. She is also a director of Hillel, the Jewish youth organization. As with the dominance of pro-Israelis among war-planners, the bias does not stop there. The chairman of the Board of Regents is Richard Blum whose wife, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, serves as the pro-Israeli, pro-war chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The relevant question is this: Would a faculty member and a rabbi have risked their careers and their reputations absent their confidence that—based on the shared background and bias of senior university administrators—they could operate with impunity? Absent such support, would this ADL-directed operation have dragged on for five months?
Those genuinely concerned about anti-Semitism must explain how this intimidation campaign was allowed to succeed. In the same way that facts were denied a deceived American public in the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, this silencing campaign sought to deny students the facts required to understand the role of Israel in world affairs. Absent access to facts, how can an informed populace preserve a system of self-governance? There is no greater threat to a free people.
Attempts to suppress debate where U.S. policies toward Israel are at stake cut to the core of how national security has been compromised by this entangled alliance. All Americans, including Jewish-Americans, must ensure that those complicit in such conduct are held accountable. And that those targeted are celebrated when, as here, they demonstrate the courage and fortitude to defend academic freedom under pressure from such multi-faceted, well-coordinated assaults.
Intimidation campaigns have long been critical to those whose operations can succeed only when protected from public scrutiny. Where, as here, pro-Israeli operatives seek to silence on-campus critics of a foreign nation, defenders of this nation’s security must fight back by making this behavior transparent and its motives apparent.
Duplicity remains a weapon routinely deployed by those instructed by Tel Aviv to “wage war by way of deception” (the motto of the Israeli Mossad). In the Information Age, why would anyone expect war to be waged in any other way? To prevail in such warfare, a shift in focus is required to make treason transparent before it works its intended impact on public opinion.