Former Yale official accuses Yale ‘unequivocally’ of anti-Semitism

on 25 Comments

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.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

25 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    June 12, 2013, 12:32 pm

    this is from the ” blamed the closure on political correctness:” page:

    “It appears that Yale, unlike YIISA, is not willing to engage in a comprehensive examination of the current crisis facing living Jews, but instead is comfortable with reexamining the plight of Jews who perished at the hands of antisemites,” Small said. “The role of a true scholar and intellectual is to shed light where there is darkness, which is why we at YIISA are committed to critical engaged scholarship with a broader approach to the complex, and at times controversial context of contemporary global antisemitism.”

    he’s not being completely honest. his likely intent with the center, and certainly the intent of this israel foreign ministry conference which is clear from the beginning of the video, is to adopt the european union definition of anti semitism which conflates it with anti zionism. so when he says “contemporary” anti semitism this is what he’s talking about , the “new” anti semitism.

    and in that same 2011 link this is spelled out as such:

    Sociology Professor Jeffrey Alexander, a member of the YIISA faculty governance committee, said that Small’s use of the phrase “engaged scholarship” revealed YIISA’s focus on politics over scholarship. YIISA was “definitely” too political, in his view, which reduced its appeal to the broader Yale population, causing it to fail the review of its academic standards.

    “The reason [for YIISA’s lack of success] was that it was political, had a strong political orientation,” Alexander said. “[This orientation] was to defend the policies of the current conservative government [of Israel], and the whole post ‘67 tendency of Israel’s foreign policy, which is to occupy conquered territories, to continue the settlement movement.”

    • Annie Robbins
      June 12, 2013, 12:41 pm

      i thought i would add that personally i think the biggest red flag about this conference being held in israel by the foreign ministry is the focus “action plan-antisemitism on campus”. iow, this should leave no doubt the “agenda” for US campuses (think UCberkeley and UCSC and all that crap involving the new ‘antisemitism’ office at the WH to deal w/it) is being directed out of israel by the israeli government.

      • Philip Weiss
        June 12, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Thanks Annie, I forgot to thank you in the post for directing me to that video! Thanks a lot. Nose for news! Phil

      • Annie Robbins
        June 12, 2013, 7:55 pm

        as always my pleasure phil. ;)

        for the curious i found this video mining the youtube page of Rimon’s Masha Merkulova ( ) while i was snooping around for this post:

        it’s got everything “blame and shame” a price…muslim brotherhood..etc..”faculty run the risk of ‘professional humiliation'”

    • marc b.
      June 12, 2013, 5:30 pm

      “clear from the beginning of the video, is to adopt the european union definition of anti semitism which conflates it with anti Zionism”

      great point annie. and the Europeans are having all sorts of problems with that definition and its implementation. so in effect he is trying to import a floundering regime into the states. JSF has had a series of good articles on this subject over the past months.

      • piotr
        June 13, 2013, 12:17 am

        I think the “EU definition” was produced as a proposal and it was never adopted for official purposes.

      • German Lefty
        June 13, 2013, 6:38 am

        I think the “EU definition” was produced as a proposal and it was never adopted for official purposes.

        The working definition has been adopted, used, or recommended by a number of European and other organisations which monitor and combat hate crimes, including the OSCE, the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, and the National Union of Students in the UK.

      • marc b.
        June 13, 2013, 8:34 am

        I believe you’re right, piotr, but it is a definition applied elsewhere. see for example below:

      • Eva Smagacz
        June 13, 2013, 9:38 am

        “EU definition” was not even proposed by EU, but by private outfit that chose EU – like sounding name. It was designed on purpose to be used as a stick to shut people up. EU had to officially distance itself from this “definition”. I come across this “definition” much more in conversations outside EU than inside.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 13, 2013, 12:22 pm

        I was going to say the same thing. I read an article on it a while back (sorry, can’t remember where so can’t link to it) which said that this ”EU definition” is not in fact a definition at all, but has been presented as such by the hasbarists.

      • Talkback
        June 13, 2013, 4:20 pm
  2. Siegfried al-Haq
    June 12, 2013, 1:02 pm

    I’ve written about this before here – I’ve seen Small in action, and he is positively small-of-mind. The gossip at Yale is not so much that what he was doing was “too political” but that he was embarrassingly unsophisticated. I think Yale would have gone along with his agenda if he had been a bit more slick and polished in how he went about it. I’ve seen him speak a few times and it was pretty consistent: his presentations were amateurish, childlike and insulting. He would then get worked up that his cartoonish powerpoints were not rousing the audience to tears for his claim of an impending New Holocaust of world Jewry (to be perpetrated by venomous Muslims who have always in history wished to massacre the Jews). After realizing his failure to convince, he would resort to snide comments directed at the audience, and further alienate everyone. Perhaps his shtick would work in very limited ideologically homogenous settings, but in general public/academic settings he was a disaster. I can give more detailed examples of Small’s embarrassments, but the best summary would be to say that he’s a real lightweight in terms of his thinking, and plus, he does very poorly at cocktail parties and receptions. Sweat on his brow, awkward banter. So again, I don’t think Yale was so much antithetical to his politics as to his style.

    And just a word on Jeffrey Alexander and some of the others who are involved in the new Antisemitism initiative: these guys are real scholars. Alexander’s work on cultural trauma is groundbreaking, and while he like many other trauma-studies scholars depends on the Holocaust as paradigmatic, he affords Israel no special dispensation and is (gently) critical of its abuse of Holocaust memory, as well as acknowledging Palestinians a legitimate place in the discussion on cultural trauma.

    • eGuard
      June 13, 2013, 8:48 am

      After I saw the whole video, and before I read your comment, I got a similar impression. His report on the results of his workgroup wrt anti-Semitism on campuses is chaotic, incoherent and quite not academic. All the regular rantings thrown together (and I mean to say: really all of them), not even a grouping or ordering.

      If this shows his ways of going in Academia, as you illustrate it does, there was a very good reason to get him out of Yale from whichever field he was “studying”.

  3. seafoid
    June 12, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Elite media presumably is code for lossmaking. It sounds like a classic antisemitic term to go with ‘cosmopolitan’. The bots can turn everything around. They know that if they lose control of the narrative in the US then Israel is toast. Maybe they should be let have as much leeway with the new antisemitism – the use of the term to buttress human rights abuses in Palestine is a total fraud and the more people see it, the better.

    • Nevada Ned
      June 12, 2013, 11:30 pm


      you say “if they lose control of the narrative in the US then Israel is toast”.

      It would be better to say, “…then Israel will have to change its policy”.

      • seafoid
        June 15, 2013, 9:11 am

        Settling the West Bank is not reversible.
        Israel can’t change its policy without a civil war.

  4. Gryfin
    June 12, 2013, 1:58 pm

    There is no “new” antisemitism, just new uses for the charge of antisemitism.

    • piotr
      June 13, 2013, 12:23 am

      Actually, the connection between “new antisemitism” and old antisemitism is very weak. In the same time, the notion of a worldwide conspiracy of the Left and Islamists is very reminiscent of the sinister forces of Masonry and Jews that paleo-antisemites were fighting against (this nefarious amalgam included Communism as their joint prodigy). Protocols of the Elders of the Left.

  5. Les
    June 12, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Calling Jewish opponents, such as Richard Falk, of Israel’s ethnic cleansing, anti-Semites demonstrates how zionists have stripped the word of meaningful content.

    • Talkback
      June 13, 2013, 4:29 pm

      Hands up who cares any longer about this accusation? I know, I don’t.

  6. bilal a
    June 12, 2013, 9:31 pm

    I noticed that Congressman King R-Islamphobia is calling for Glenn Greenwald to prosecuted for conspiracy of espionage. Why would the Federalist society -Lobby enthusiast be gunning for Greenwald ‘s revelations about the Obama NSA? Perhaps because start up nation Israel control major niches of surveillance technology, and therefore had (has) the same access to US emails, gmails, Skype, paltalk etc. ?

    Glenn Beck is suggesting this might explain the Generals Allen and Petraeus email takedowns.

    When Greenwald makes the final Israeli intell penetration of the US shoe drop, expect charges of anti Semitism…

  7. John Douglas
    June 13, 2013, 4:55 am

    Rhetorically, trying to smear anti-zionism as a new form of anti-semitism is a two-edged sword.
    It could lead people to think as planned:
    1. Anti-semitism in any form is a horrible thing
    2. Anti-zionism is a form of anti-semitism
    3. So, anti-zionism is a horrible thing
    Or not as planned:
    1. Anti-zionism, based as it is upon principles of equal rights, is not a horrible thing
    2. Anti-zionism is a form of anti-semitism
    3. So, there is at least one form of antisemitism that is not a horrible thing

    If I were in the hasbara business I’d avoid the tactic as dangerous.

  8. SimoHurtta
    June 13, 2013, 6:58 am

    What is the antisemitism data actually collected by Israeli universities? Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry (Tel Aviv University) collects a database of antisemitism and racism. Adding racism to this database was a clever thing to do in order to get some mass to this otherwise very “thin” database what actual today’s antisemitist incidents would else produce.

    For example with the Nordic countries as keywords produce following amounts of hits:
    Finland 107 hits
    Sweden 851 hits
    Denmark 354 hits
    Norway 397 hits.

    If there would be such amounts of real antisemitist incidents during past years, we should have some reasons to worry. But when we watch closer these records of these hits, it is clear, that most of the records have nothing to do with antisemitism, Israel or Jews. What are the remaining actual antisemitism records? Mostly they are rather harmless incidents and the most “dangerous violent incidents” are putting or drawing a swastika on or in front of Jewish buildings. In Finland one “violent incident” was when a man pissed on the fence of a Jewish Center and when in the middle of night a lonely passer-by made a Nazi salute which was shot by a security camera. In Sweden a newspaper story where the header warned of a possibility of world war and told that US soldier were transported to Israel had a own record (System Number 000234027) and it was categorized as defamation. The story was based on RT’s story based on the military drills in Israel and tense relations in the area. ETC. It is extremely difficult to find records of actual concrete violence against a Jew which could be seen as dangerous in normal sense.

    Watching, what on university level is collected as records of antisemitist incidents, the only conclusion is, that this data is artificially exaggerated and used in making propaganda. The data is like a diary of a insecure school girl suffering of extreme low self confidence, where all kind of relative insignificant events are collected to prove how everybody is against her. If Palestinians in Israel and Muslims around the world would collect equal databases with so low level “anti-us” classification criterion, the databases would be massive and adding extra racism records to overstate the problem would not be needed.

  9. lysias
    June 13, 2013, 10:20 am

    They even call Norman Finkelstein, who has never hidden the fact that he is the son of former extermination camp inmates, a Holocaust denier.

  10. traintosiberia
    June 15, 2013, 12:24 pm

    By his logic, one day US could be called antisemite for refusing to have settler supporters and organizer or disallowing any peddlers of untruth (Steve Emerson ) on any US governmental organization .

Leave a Reply