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Friday, February 23, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Response to David Horowitz ad

As faculty at UC Davis, we were appalled to read a half-page paid advertisement by right-wing activist David Horowitz in The Aggie on Thursday. The ad was full of the most blatantly racist and anti-Arab language, wildly inaccurate statements and hysterical accusations. The title, accusing Palestinians’ opposition to Israel as based on “a genocidal lie,” was in itself incendiary and shocking.

Denying that Palestine and the Palestinian people do exist in effect justifies policies of annihilation and dispossession. It is rabid statements like this that are, in fact, based on lies and distortions of historical facts, and that provide racist justification for ethnic cleansing and genocidal violence. In the post-9/11 era, Arab, Palestinian and Muslim American students are consistently profiled and targeted by racial constructions of “terrorists” in the U.S. In Israel, illegal settlements, home demolitions, road closures, checkpoints and the illegal wall continue to displace Palestinians and violate their basic human rights. Given this climate, this ad only serves to make Palestinian and Arab students feel more unsafe.

We are also deeply troubled that this ad was placed during Palestine Awareness Week and do not think this timing is coincidental. While off-campus groups may be able to buy space to publish hateful rhetoric targeting a particular group based on their race, under the cover of freedom of speech, this does not make it any less offensive to the campus community. We find it disturbing that anti-Arab racism and Islam-phobia is implicitly sanctioned by such hateful speech.

Furthermore, we have been very disturbed to note a pattern of problematic and often racist articles and op-eds about Arab and Muslim students appearing in The Aggie over the past several weeks and months. For example, in this very issue, The Aggie also published a lengthy op-ed by Matan Shelomi of Aggies for Israel calling the Law Student Association’s decision not to condemn the criminalization of the Irvine 11’s protest “a victory for free speech.”

This is deeply ironic, given that the UC students who engaged in that protest at UC Irvine were, in fact, exercising their rights to free speech and yet were met with exceptional demonization and harsh punishment from the university and, later, unprecedented criminal charges from the Orange County District Attorney’s office. In fact, 17 UCD Law School faculty have opposed the prosecution of the Irvine 11 (http://www.irvine11.com/supporters-and-allies/#UCDF).

We also note that while The Aggie did include a large photograph in this issue of the mock wall erected by Students for Justice in Palestine, the writer of the brief article accompanying the image chose not to report on any of the facts that SJP was trying to share with the campus (that the wall is deemed illegal by international law and is actually built inside Palestinian territory, or that 63 years refers to the founding of the state of Israel in Palestine in 1948). When is it that students at UC Davis will be allowed to know historical facts and details about Israel-Palestine?

We hope that this is the last of such racist and biased publishing and writing in The Aggie.

Marisol de la Cadena, Anthropology

Caren Kaplan, American Studies

Sunaina Maira, Asian American Studies

Susette Min, Asian American Studies

Eric Smoodin, American Studies

10 COMMENTS

  1. The professors write, “The ad was full of the most blatantly racist and anti-Arab language, wildly inaccurate statements and hysterical accusations. The title, accusing Palestinians’ opposition to Israel as based on “a genocidal lie,” was in itself incendiary and shocking.”

    I thought universities hired professors to teach, not to inculcate students with half-truths and lies. I also thought university professors were supposed to back their “opinions” with factual evidence. Or are liberal art professors above that sort of onerous task? These five professors write the above statement without providing any evidence to its veracity. In fact their statement and opinions cannot be substantiated by any evidence and the opposite of their opinions is what is, in fact true and what can be substantiated by the reality on the ground and the words of the players in this sickening anti-Semitic drama.. Not that this will affect their thinking, their job performance, or their tenure at a university where truth is secondary to being popular, trendy and cool. No doubt all these professors are all that, and more.

    They write, “Denying that Palestine and the Palestinian people do exist in effect justifies policies of annihilation and dispossession.” As if. In fact it is the Palestinians who deny the Jews in Israel their right to exist. What Horowitz is saying is that there never was an acknowledged Palestinian people or state, and he is right about this. Horowitz has never supported the annihilation of the Palestinians as so many Palestinians and Muslims, more generally, have wished on the Jews of Israel. But let’s not reality get in the way of teaching. After all, this is UC/Davis, a university that gave these professors their positions.

    Our eminent professors then write, “It is rabid statements like this that are, in fact, based on lies and distortions of historical facts, and that provide racist justification for ethnic cleansing and genocidal violence.” And, of course, they again turn reality on its head, ignore all realities on the ground while continuing on their merry way to their Alice in Wonderland, make-believe world. It takes approximately two minutes to goggle Palestinian demographics to discover that their populations have soared over the last decades, and this includes their population in Israel. It also takes about two minutes to find out that obesity is a very real problem in Gaza. It also takes about two minutes to discover that Palestinians in Israel live far better lives than many Jews do in Israel, or that Palestinians in Israel have far more rights in Israel than they do in any other country in that region. But if we do the same exercise in any Middle Eastern Muslim country we discover that the Jewish population in every one of these countries has been “ethnically cleansed” or that there are barely remnants of what once were thriving Jewish communities. Once again these professors have chosen propaganda over truth. Why would they do this? Is this not the exact same thing that professors did prior to the Holocaust? I’d suggest these professors would do better with their time studying why and what it is about their personalities that makes them follow this path. Now that would make for fascinating reading if done objectively, openly, honestly and with real vigor.

    The professors then write, “In the post-9/11 era, Arab, Palestinian and Muslim American students are consistently profiled and targeted by racial constructions of “terrorists” in the U.S. In Israel, illegal settlements, home demolitions, road closures, checkpoints and the illegal wall continue to displace Palestinians and violate their basic human rights. Given this climate, this ad only serves to make Palestinian and Arab students feel more unsafe.” They conveniently ignore the fact that since 9/11 there have been over 17,000 verifiable acts of Islamic terrorism. Meanwhile it is rare event for American Muslims to condemn any of these acts. In fact, when one hears the words of CAIR, or the MSA or the SJP one gets the impression these acts – be they carried out by al Qaeda or Hamas or whomever – are not Muslim’s fault, but the fault of our imperialistic activities. That Nidal Hasan was driven to murder by American policies not by what he learned from the Qur’an. That even though Hamas is a devoutly religious Muslim organization it is NOT following the words of the Qur’an nor the example set by Mohammed. If these teachers actually cared one iota about the truth they would study Mohammed’s life and the Qur’an, Hadiths and Sira. But instead they choose to voice their opinions without doing the bare-bones research that most good high school students would do before turning in a paper.

    The professors then write, “We find it disturbing that anti-Arab racism and Islam-phobia is implicitly sanctioned by such hateful speech.” But nobody seems to be able to define Islamophobia other than by using the party line. A phobia is an irrational fear. Being fearful of people whose holy books demand non-Muslims be forcefully converted is anything but irrational. The fact that Richard Dawkins, Winston Churchill, John Quincy Adams, John Wesley, Hilaire Belloc, Patriarch Cyrus of Alexandria, Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica, William Eaton, Lord Tebbit, Vernon Ricahrds, Andre Servier, Theodore Roosevelt, David Selbourne, Marco Polo, Bertrand Russell, Alexis De Tocqville, Will Durant, Konreraad Elst, Khushwant Singh, William Gladstone etc…all wrote about how Islam is a violent, supremacist religion does not make them phobic it makes them honest observers and true students of the facts.

    I could go on, but will leave it as is. The professors – no doubt very hip and popular among the left-wingers and “revolutionaries” on campus – are not teaching, they are voicing opinions that contradict reality and factual information. If being popular is their goal then I’m sure they’re successful at that. They should probably run for political office instead of pretending to be teachers.

  2. Begs the question: Do Davis’ eminent professors ever say a word, just one word, about the following supremacist, hate-filled, enemies of our country?

    While Davis’ genius professors take the time to write a letter of protest against a man who speaks out against those who would harm us, they say not one word about those who would see our country destroyed and replace by a clone of repressive, misogynistic, Jew-hating, gay-hating Saudi Arabia.

    Amazing thinking these genuis professors illustrate. It’s little wonder they’re employed by the UC school system. California’s tax dollars at work.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/06/d-c-watson-letter-to-congress-islamic-radicals-or-fundamentalists.html

  3. Sorry, there is no way to reinstate them with our system. If you want to post them again you may. I don’t care what you have to say and it had nothing to do with the points you were making, just try not to post five comments in a row. It’s really obnoxious, especially when they’re links you’ve repeatedly posted elsewhere on the site.

  4. Oh, and I almost forgot.

    I would appreciate if you were to reinstate my comments. Yes, some of what are in them are redundant, but each one contains valuable information relevant to this opinion piece.

  5. I see.

    And why does this special privilege apply only to me? There are many comments posted on the opinion pieces written by the same person, and many that are childish and that offer nothing whatsoever. Are these other multiple posters not afforded the same special rules? Or do they only apply to controversial and provocative posters like me? Posters who force others to look at issues from a different perspective instead of from the UC/Davis “party line”? Let’s all take a bow to Chairman Mao, eh?

    What you are really saying, IMO, is that I have the temerity to show these hypocritical professors for what they really are, and apparently that is not a “kosher” thing to do at UC/Davis. Evidently the professors here – whether or not their opinions have any application to reality get a free pass – they are afforded a special status wherein whatever they say, or write, is not to be questioned, or ridiculed, even if their thoughts hurt those who deserve no pain. That’s the UC/Davis way. Professors, evidently are beyond questioning. Their opinions are the gospel according to Dean What’s-his-name.

    So let’s quit dancing around the issue and get real. Let’s quit playing word games and say what you have to say without all the editorial mumbo-jumbo. Freedom of speech applies differently to professors than it does to anonymous posters who challenge the status quo at UC/Davis. That’s brilliant! Way to go UC/Davis, you should be very proud of your bastardization of our cherished First Amendment.

  6. Arafat, I have deleted all but one of your comments for spam. If you have something to say, please try to fit it in one post next time.

  7. The recreational compassion displayed by our genius professors is appalling: Two decades ago, Arab Morocco built an Apartheid Wall in occupied Western Sahara to subdue the native non-Arabs. Since then, Morocco has exterminated or expelled the natives. Only a few hundred thousand remain, walled off in ghettos. Three decades ago, Muslim Turkey built an Apartheid Wall across Occupied Cyprus, to bar native Cypriots from returning to their homes. Since then, Turkey has moved tens of thousands of settlers into Cypriot homes. And for five decades, the Chinese occupiers of Tibet has expelled hundreds of thousands of natives and settled that sad land with Chinese.

    Surely, Saharans, Cypriots, and Tibetans are suffering greatly. But our genius professors have never mentioned one word of comfort for them. One can hardly blame them. It’s easier to pick on Jews than take a stand against evil men – particularly when the evil men have oil and grant money.

    Still, Jesus said, “You must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the study halls and at the street corners, so they may be seen by people.” As genius professors they must know this.

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