By MICHAEL ANBAR, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Un. of Buffalo —
The Muslim Student Association (MSA) at the University at Buffalo (UB) is sponsoring a talk by Norman Finkelstein, the notorious Jewish-born, anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli Holocaust denier, who was denied a tenured academic appointment at DePaul University in 2007, after having been fired by NYU and Hunter College because of his misojudaic (aka anti-Semitic; misojudaism = Gr. “hatred of Judaism”; “anti-Semitism” has little meaning) writings did not meet minimal academic standards.
Finkelstein has been invited by the MSA because of his well known misojudaic rhetoric, which is effective being expressed by a Jewish born person. That talk is scheduled to be held on the UB campus on April 6th 2011, allegedly supported by UB funds. There have been official and unofficial protests by numerous Jewish organizations and individuals to different levels of the UB administration. This far the university has refused to take any action to prevent this “event” from taking place on its campus, in spite of possible violations of certain legal aspects of the use of university fund, presumably because UB is trying to defend “freedom of speech”.
Even if the scheduled talk by Dr. Finkelstein will be completely benign and apolitical, contrary to all expectations, the track record of his extreme misojudaic views, expressed in his books, articles and lectures, should have been sufficient for the UB academic administration to deny this outspoken Holocaust denier a university funded forum on its campus.
His books and past lectures can and have been classified as hate speech, a criminal activity under US law. (Dr. Finkelstein would have been incarcerated in Germany, under current German law.) Even if this lecture would have used no university funds, it would still use university’s facilities and services and the appearance of a UB sponsored event.
I know that unlike many Muslims and American ultra-leftists, who savor Dr. Finkelstein’s misojudaic ideology, the UB administration is not misojudaic. However, Islamist activists have used and will be using Dr. Finkelstein to further their own misojudaic goals.
It is up to UB, as it is up to any academic institution in this country, to uphold the values of Western Civilization and reject the misojudaic values of Dr. Finkelstein, has expressed in his writings and talks, for which he has been barred from the entire US academic world. It has been shown, time and again, that Dr. Finkelstein “historic” or political claims have no academic merit, so why give this speaker a platform on UB’s campus? No academic institution can declare neutrality on this issue.
For those not fully familiar with the issue at hand, let me explain the motive of Holocaust denial. There is a myth in the Muslim world that the State of Israel is a neocolonial ploy to colonize the Middle East with European settlers under the false excuse of the Nazi Holocaust, which, according to this myth, has never happened. According to the Islamists, the Jews are European liars and cheaters who “stole” Arab land under the banner of a newly invented Zionism. This “theory” of Dr. Finkelstein is in line with the Koranic tradition of Jew-hatred, regarding Jews as sub-human beings that ought to be exterminated. Consequently, if the State of Israel in based on lies, the “world” must abolish it and exterminate its people. In brief, Holocaust denial de-legitimizes the Jewish state, the Jewish nation and its Zionist supporters.
To the chagrin of Holocaust deniers, including Iranian Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “Palestinian” Mahmoud Abbas, (aka Abu Mazen, the current president of the PLO and of the PA, who presented “evidence” for Holocaust denial in his doctoral thesis), Dr. Norman Finkelstein, and their Islamist minions, there are no doubts about the historicity of the Holocaust.
The brutal extermination of more than 6 million Jews by the Nazis has been documented by thousands of photos, German documents, testimonials of German officers and soldiers, of non-Jewish witnesses, of American Servicemen who liberated Nazi death camps in Germany (including General Dwight Eisenhower), as well as of many thousands of Jewish survivors. Moreover, Zionism – the desire of establishing a sovereign Jewish state in the ancient Jewish homeland, is more than 2,500 years old (preceding Islam by 1000 years), as documented in the Bible. In fact, Christian messianic ideology is a continuation of that Jewish Zionist tradition.
In my opinion, the UB administration is not trying to protect academic freedom (though one ideologically-related faculty member co-sponsores Finkelstein’s talk), or the freedom of speech (that legally excludes hate speech), but is intimidated by the Muslim student organization and its affiliated Islamistic institutions. That concern seems to have outweighed all the protests by Jewish organizations and individuals, who have been trying in vain to avoid another confrontation with their genocidal adversaries, evading a confrontation that is very likely to be pursued by the notorious invited speaker.
I consider this case as another manifestation of anti-Jewish activities taking place recently in academic institutions all over the US. These are part of a well- organized and well-funded Islamist campaign aimed to demonize and delegitimize the State of Israel and consequently the very physical existence of the Jewish nation.
This unwarranted misojudaic activity on US campuses is just a first step in the Islamists’ desire to eliminate Western Civilization, which is based on Judeo-Christian ideals. This is the end-goal of Islamism. Jihadist terrorism, the indiscriminate murder of people, like what occurred on 9/11, was anther strategy aimed at intimidating non-Muslims. This is just one of many Islamist strategies, as is the murder of Jewish babies in their sleep or the relentless shelling of Jewish cities, towns and villages. The intimidation of university administrators, as currently exemplified in Buffalo, is just another.
As a senior faculty member of UB for more than 25 years, I am sorry to see this academic institution engulfed in this sad situation and not taking an unequivocal position on the issue of the Holocaust. It indicates to me an unwarranted state of affairs in American academia, which is expected to uphold the standards of objectivity and values of our culture.
Intimidation and demoralization of an enemy before a deadly assault has been a war tactic from the dawn of history and before. It also exists in the animal kingdom. We must be well-aware of this, and defang our enemies from this tactical weapon by not being intimidated under any circumstances.
Michael Anbar PhD
Professor Emeritus at UB and ASU
Formerly, Professor of Biophysics and Chairman of the Dept of Biophysical Science, School of Medicine and Medical Science at Buffalo.