It’s well past time that wild assertions like Jeffrey Wiesenfeld’s be treated as actionable slander. Blithely asserting that members of a certain group, like the Muslim Students’ Association or BDS, can be (and is intended to be) both intimidating but also career-destroying. An academic career for Norman Finkelstein was destroyed by such claims. The Israel fanatics attempted to destroy the careers of Juan Cole, but he was already tenured at the University of Michigan when the fanatics torpedoed Yale’s offer to him.
Wiesenfeld’s charges leveled at someone just completing a degree could easily derail an entire life of work. The victims of these charges need to see some victories in court against such slander.
The problem, of course, would be the difficulty in bringing such a case. Courts are not the a-political, neutral environments America’s hagiographers like to pretend. Judges needn’t be biased (though certainly can be) to be susceptible to pressure exerted through the media.
One way or another, the Alan Dershowitzes and Jeffrey Wiesenfelds need to learn that idly, maliciously trying to tar and feather critics of Israel as anti-Semitic or worse (e.g., advocating “another Holocaust”) has consequences.