Two years ago Yale closed down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism because its purpose was too frankly political: to support Israel. Ehud Barak was on the outfit’s board. And at a conference, it hosted settler leader Itamar Marcus, Elliott Abrams, Islam-basher Steve Emerson, and a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Back then, Charles Small, the former executive director of the initiative, blamed the closure on political correctness:
Small blamed radical Islamic and extreme left wing bloggers for the bad publicity the conference got.
Well apparently Small was biting his tongue. Now he’s blaming anti-Semitism.
Speaking at the Israeli government’s fourth Global Forum on Combating Anti-semitism last month in Jerusalem, Small was asked whether anti-Semitism played a role in Yale’s decision. He responds at 14:00 above:
“I would say unequivocally yes. Our basic focus was on contemporary issues. And I was basically called into the adminstrative office and told that if I do not deal in the Middle East, that I would be able to stay at Yale and run the center. So I stood up and shook this person’s hand and I said, it’s not possible to run a research center on the Middle East ignoring an important part of the world. So I think if contemporary anti-Semtism deals with the demonization and dehumanization of Israel and, as a result, of Jewish communities in the Diaspora with a strong connection to Israel, if this is the new contemporary anti-Semitism, and there’s a taboo… in the universities… in elite institutions, in the media, the elite media, in some western governments, of dealing with anti-semitism in this post-colonial moment– It’s almost a taboo, to deal with those who were once colonized. If we criticize parts of the world that were once colonized, some people on the left, on the so called left, put us in a box as being right-wing or fascist or making excuses for the Zionist enterprise and the like. So I think there’s definitely at an intellectual level, we are trying to break through an intellectual taboo and it is I would say, to me, anti-Semitism.
Small continued that a Yale vice president framed the discussion about his institute by stating that “I as its director was an advocate and not a scholar,” and that this administrator was named Charles Hogan, who was the vice president of Yale and a former roommate of “Rashid Khalili.” Hogan, he went on, has worked for organizations that get money from Arab governments. That puts people like Small on the outs.
We’re all sort of fighting this marginalization. Some of us are on the left, some are on the right. But we’re all being demonized as this sort of reactionary force. This is an important struggle against anti-Semitism… Our enemies are literally trying to push us off the battlefield.
Interesting that Small regards harsh criticism of the lobby– “Jewish communities in the Diaspora with a strong connection to Israel”– as anti-Semitism. Dershowitz and Elliott Abrams have made the same contention.