Is the Left’s New Motto “Free Sacco and F—k Vanzetti”?

I don’t want to leave any doubt about where this piece is heading so I will begin at the end:

Norman Finkelstein dishonors himself and his elegant reputation by leaving Mehrene Larudee behind to fend for herself. I don’t know how Larudee feels about it but if I went out on a limb to defend someone and he made a deal that left me hanging, I might regret that I had supported him in the first place.

We dishonor ourselves and everything we believe in if we leave Larudee behind to fend for herself. DePaul can abuse Mehrene Larudee indefinitely because she is not protected by a big reputation. Sooner or later, the best of us—the ones who have the courage to stand up for what is right—will end up in Larudee’s position. If we abandon her, we say to anyone dumb enough to defend us. “Don’t expect us to have your back when the scat hits the fan.” Mehrene Larudee deserves the support of all of us, including Norman Finkelstein. If we abandon her, we abandon ourselves.

A Refresher Course on Mehrene Larudee’s role in the travesty at DePaul

Like thousands of other people who followed Norman Finkelstein’s battle with DePaul, I circulated petitions, offered help and spread the word in any way I could. Several weeks into the DePaul saga, I learned that a DePaul economics professor had been denied tenure for defending Norman Finkelstein. DePaul fabricated legitimate-sounding reasons for denying her tenure just as they had for Finkelstein. The professor who stood up for Finkelstein was Mehrene Larudee. I had great respect for her courage but I had no idea who she was. As far as I know, she was the only DePaul faculty member who publicly defended Finkelstein, yet most of the articles I read didn’t even mention her. When they did mention her, she was little more than a footnote.

We knew from the beginning that Norman Finkelstein was innocent of the charges against him. DePaul confirmed it when they settled with him. Mehrene Larudee is even more innocent of wrongdoing than Finkelstein. Her only crime was standing up for Finkelstein and saying what DePaul later confirmed. Dr. Larudee is so good at her job that she was promoted to director of International Studies. The promotion was to take effect on July 1.

23 days before her scheduled promotion, Larudee received a letter denying her tenure. Everyone in her department, including the Dean who promoted her, was shocked.

Most of us knew from the start that no matter what happened at DePaul, Norman Finkelstein would emerge a winner. Finkelstein is, and deserves to be, one of Rock Stars of the Left. If DePaul was stupid enough to make him a martyr, he would be more famous than ever.

Mehrene Larudee is not famous, she is merely very honorable. The fact that she risked her career and reputation to stand up for Norman Finkelstein says more about her courage than any words. Defending yourself against your attackers as Professor Finkelstein did, no matter how well you fight, is not entirely heroic. You are fighting to save your own ass. You almost have no choice. Mehrene Larudee was not fighting to save herself. She had a choice. She chose to defend Dr. Finkelstein. Her choice was selfless, not in a self-negating way, but heroically: If you brutalize my brother, know that he will not be alone.

To me, Larudee seemed to be the most heroic person in the DePaul cartoon travesty, but I must be the only person who felt that way because most articles barely mentioned her.

Even more disturbing, after Norman Finkelstein settled with DePaul, all of the righteous indignation that saved Finkelstein disappeared. I don’t mean “lost a bit of its intensity”—I mean disappeared! For a few days I had a “Google alert” for Mehrene Larudee. Whenever any news item with her name appeared, Google would zap me. Nothing appeared. Not in CounterPunch or WRMEA (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs) or Dissident Voice or Nation.

DePaul settles with Finkelstein, keeps Larudee in a cage and the Left, absolutely certain the battle is finished, sits on its own face. Larudee isn’t a Rock Star, so DePaul can do as they like with her.

If we abandon her, we give our tacit approval to every group of bullies and thugs who will stop at nothing to silence critics of Israel (unless they’re famous). (Am I the only one who noticed that a Catholic University had morphed into part of the Israel Lobby?)

For our own good, we must resurrect the energy and commitment that convinced DePaul to undo the harm they had done to Norman Finkelstein and focus that energy to support Mehrene Larudee. What can those of us who are not students at DePaul do?

1. Begin by asking the students at DePaul for their advice. They provided the energy to make their university rethink its terrible, bullying decision(s) re Finkelstein. They know better than any of us how to deal with their oxymoronic (“Vincentian” and “Dershowitzian”!!!) university.

2. Circulate petitions in support of Larudee as we did for Norman Finkelstein. (To this day I have never seen a petition to save Mehrene Larudee, have you?)

3. Ask the finest magazines in the U.S. (CounterPunch, WRMEA, Dissident Voice, etc) to work together to defend Larudee. (It might set a precedent that gave the Left back its testicles.)

4. Ask Norman Finkelstein to use his Rock Star status to publicly and loudly defend Larudee. Finkelstein was right in saying that Larudee’s mistreatment “will remain an open wound” at DePaul. What he didn’t say is that his failure to support her will leave a larger wound in his reputation as a person who fights injustice without giving up. I am sure that he had good reasons for fleeing the scene when he settled with DePaul. He may have been ravaged emotionally by his public battle with DePaul and the difficult year preceding it. But does Finkelstein, a relentless fighter, want to use that as a reason to abandon the only faculty member who stood up for him?

5. If Professor Larudee is not reinstated, tenured and given the promotion she deserves by September 27, Saint Vincent DePaul’s feast day, those of us who are able to go to Chicago should go to DePaul University and raise as much hell as we can.

“Vincentian Values”

DePaul University is fond of talking about its “Vincentian” values. I spent ten years in Catholic Schools. Vincent DePaul was, is, one of the least ambiguous saints in the history of the Church. His name evokes the spirit of being of service to humanity, of helping whoever needs help, of charity. A university that claims to be Vincentian but uses its power to bully and intimidate is an insult to Saint Vincent DePaul and everything he stood for.
DePaul University’s mission statement includes among its Vincentian values, “commitment to academic freedom” and “intellectual excellence.” Either live up to it or drop the bull.

A Note to Professor Finkelstein

As far as I know, no one on our side has been honest enough (and bad-mannered enough) to ask if, by dismissing the Mearsheimer and Walt paper and downplaying the influence of the Israel Lobby (“It’s Not Either / Or”; CounterPunch, May 1, 2006) Professor Finkelstein may have contributed to the abusive treatment he and Larudee got from DePaul? Do you think the university would have been as likely to blindside the two professors if the Left, led by Chomsky and Finkelstein and all of the our most formidable brainiacs, had echoed M & W and said “YES! The Israel Lobby controls or disproportionately influences every decision in America that relates in any way to Israel!” Would the sycophants at DePaul have acted in such brutal haste if they knew we were united in our determination to oppose the Lobby’s control over our universities? I don’t think so.

Do I think this note might tick off the volatile Mr. Finkelstein? Maybe, but if his annoyance with me makes him prove how wrong I am by leading the fight to defend Mehrene Larudee, nothing would please me more.

Whatever it takes to give Mehrene Larudee back what was stolen from her, let’s do it.

Matthew Abraham, the untenured professor of English who wrote perceptively and honestly throughout the situation, knows that DePaul may wage a campaign to harm others who supported Finkelstein. If that is the case, John Abraham will be near the top of the hit list.

We must make it clear that we will defend people who have the courage to speak the truth.

I went back and forth about whether to include this or not. The longer I vacillated the more important it became: Mehrene Larudee is a woman, a Palestinian woman. If she had been not only a man, but a Jewish man, we would be erecting statues in her honor. The woman is a hero and she should be treated like one.

PS: Dear DePaul—You can save us a lot of trouble and spare yourselves some shame by apologizing to Dr. Larudee and restoring everything you took from her, including her reputation.

Ron David is former Editor-in-Chief of Writers & Readers “for Beginners” series and the author of four books, including “Arabs & Israel for Beginners” and “Toni Morrison Explained: A Reader’s Road Map to the Novels.” Read other articles by Ron, or visit Ron's website.

33 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. catherine said on September 21st, 2007 at 8:44am #

    Great piece. I’m ashamed that I, too, didn’t take into consideration what would happen to Professor Larudee.

    Presumably there not, at this time, a website for support for Professor Larudee, or you would have mentioned it. Keep us posted.

  2. catherine said on September 21st, 2007 at 8:45am #

    That’s “presumably there IS not”. Sorry.

  3. Michael Kenny said on September 21st, 2007 at 8:45am #

    “Am I the only one who noticed that a Catholic University had morphed into part of the Israel Lobby?” asks Mr David. I would imagine he is, since that is not what happened! Nor did it use “its power to bully and intimidate”. Quite the contrary. DePaul was attacked by the Israel Lobby, in the person of Dershowitz, and defended itself as best it could. It did not bully or initmidate anyone, it was the victim of bullying and intimidation on Dershowitz’s part.

    The role of a Catholic university is to dispense Catholic education and getting involved in a fight between Jews diverts it from that core mission. What the university actually did, namely pointing the finger squarely at Dershowitz, was the best thing it could possibly have done. The Lobby wanted DePaul to “knife” Finkelstein without Dershowitz’s name being mentioned. Quite the contrary has happened. Finkelstein has been made into a “hero” and everyone knows that the Lobby “did it”. I would guess that it will be a long time before the Lobby again tries to pull a stunt like that on a Catholic university!

    I would also guess that the settlement with Finkelstein involves an obligation on his part to stay out of any dispute involving DePaul. Essentially, he took the money and ran, which is what I would have done in his place.

    On a broader plane, the US Catholic universities may well need to look at their sources of finance. If they have let themselves become dependant on Jewish money, they might well need to think about diversifying their sources. The cannot really fulfil their mission if non-Catholic groups can hold a knife to their throat. The Jews, of course, are prefectly to their own agenda and to use their money to advance it, but Jewish groups seem to be increasingly in conflict with the Catholic Church and its institutions.

  4. Nathan said on September 21st, 2007 at 10:12am #

    Interesting story which I never even was aware about. I guess that’s kind of the point huh?

  5. FranksJo said on September 21st, 2007 at 3:16pm #

    Finkelstein made a statement about Larudee following his deal with DePaul. I don’t think he is under any gag order to talk about Larudee’s case.

    What was her research record like? It might be useful to know in order to wage arguments for her promotion.

  6. Deadbeat said on September 21st, 2007 at 4:49pm #

    Great point about Chomsky and Finkelstein’s dismissiveness regarding The Lobby. In fact James Petras recently debated Finkelstein on this very point and the forces leading to the war in Iraq.

    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12607

  7. Carol White said on September 21st, 2007 at 10:16pm #

    It is my understanding that Finkelstein read a statement that mentioned the Professor in question. Lawyers worked out the statement. Usually, when Lawyers work out a statement, they are very precise about what can be said, so I doubt that Finkelstein had the freedom to speak extemporaneously. Just from a practical standpoint.

    The real fault is with DePaul and its caving to Dershowitz and his fanaticism.

  8. Ken Levy said on September 21st, 2007 at 11:57pm #

    Ron David attacks Norman Finkelstein’s honor by repeatedly claiming Mehrene Larudee has been left hanging, left to fend for herself, with no one to back her up, that Finkelstein failed to support her, etc. Ron David expects Finkelstein to lead a fight to defend Larudee.

    Ron David writes: “I don’t know how Larudee feels about it…” That’s correct – he doesn’t know. For all Ron David knows, Finkelstein offered and continues to offer assistance to Larudee in any way she would like. Or Ms. Larudee may have chosen not to take up this fight and would like not to do battle this way. Maybe she feels it would be counterproductive in her life. That would certainly be her prerogative. One may still take up the cause of academic freedom in general even if not directly on her behalf.

    By all means Mr. David, seek advice (start with Ms. Larudee), circulate that petition, lobby CounterPunch and Mr. Finkelstein to consider the question, and go take a stand at DePaul. Just don’t presume that it’s only you who has considered her fate.

    As for Finkelstein’s view of the Israeli lobby, the following is from a Q&A after a talk given by him at Berekely. It’s from a CD called “An Issue of Justice, Origins of the Israel-Palestine Conflict”:

    “Look, American Jews are powerful, American Jews are well off financially. They’re by far the most successful ethnic group in the United States today, far outstripping WASPS. That’s a fact. And, with economic power comes political clout and I think it’s foolish to deny it… And in my opinion American Jewish elites have carried on in an extremely ruthless and reckless and in my opinion a very shortsighted way…

    What they did with the so-called holocaust compensation throughout Europe was just sheer blackmail. It was simple as that. It was flat out blackmail. That doesn’t just come from me. The world’s leading authority on the Nazi holocaust, Raul Hilberg, who’s a conservative Republican, he himself said, for the first time in the history of the Jews, they’ve made use of the blackmail weapon with what they carried on with the Swiss banks, with the German companies, with Austria and everywhere else. That’s not smart. You know, the answer of these Jewish hoodlums, they say: Jews don’t cause antisemitism, antisemites cause antisemitism. I beg to differ. I think they’re causing antisemitism. And they’re creating it everywhere they go due to their ruthless and reckless tactics…

    As to the conclusion, do I believe American Jews now control US policy, you know, in the Middle East, no I don’t. I don’t think the factual record will bear that out. But, is it a legitimate question? Sure it is and no one should be afraid of raising it. But I happen not to agree with the conclusion of those who think that, you know, even the war in Iraq was an Israeli inspired initiative. No, non-Jewish American elites had very good motives for wanting to control Iraq. There was a confluence of interests – certainly the Israelis wanted it but the idea that the American elites were resisting and the Israelis were pushing, no, I don’t think the record supports that.”

    No, Mr. David, neither Finkelstein nor Chomsky downplay the power of the Israeli lobby. They just don’t agree that Israel controls US foreign policy in the region. Israel is a stable base for the projection of US power in the region, a goal shared by Western elites in both Washington and Jerusalem. American Jewish elites do, however, very effectively suppress critical discussion of Israeli expansionism, a subject written about at significant cost to Finkelstein in “Beyond Chutzpah”.

    I really do appreciate your complaint, Mr. David, about the treatment of Ms. Larudee. But I think it’s DePaul that cowers, not Finkelstein nor Chomsky. I don’t think they can rightly be faulted from afar for any alleged deficit of honor.

    Finkelstein’s email address: moc.liamtohnull@fgnamron

  9. Maren Hackmann said on September 22nd, 2007 at 11:44am #

    So, Finkelstein’s fight was “not entirely heroic”? The “elegant” “Rock Star” was just “fighting to save his own ass”? Indeed, the “volatile” professor may well have “contributed to the abusive treatment he and Larudee got from DePaul” by “dismissing the Mearsheimer and Walt paper and downplaying the influence of the Israel Lobby”?

    Truly, one of the most bizarre — and most disgusting — attacks on Finkelstein yet, and that’s no mean achievement, especially coming from someone supposedly in his camp.

    In the light of his decades-long commitments and the price he has been paying for them, the charge that Finkelstein had “no choice” and was really just “fighting to save his own ass” is priceless. To quote from Understanding Power, pp. 245-6, where Noam Chomsky talks about the beginnings of Finkelstein’s troubles in academia more than 20 years ago: “I warned him, if you follow this [i.e., expose "pro"-Israel bestsellers as propaganda], you’re going to get in trouble — because you’re going to expose the American intellctual community as a gang of frauds, and they are not going to like it, and they’re going to destroy you.” Well, he went right ahead from there, for the benefit of us all.

    Not only does DePaul owe plenty of apologies, including to Mehrene Larudee, but you, Mr. David, owe one to Finkelstein too.

  10. gerald spezio said on September 22nd, 2007 at 1:31pm #

    Ron, if we can’t count on Finkelstein, we may have to turn on the freakin gas.
    I am already whacked good about Chomsky’s brains going south on the power of the Lobby.

    If ever there was a human with brains and character, Finkelstein has to make the list.
    Your position is unassailable, but if Finkelstein continues to breathe, I believe that he will not abandon Larudee. I think that he took the settlement, to fight another day. Hasn’t he always battled the forces of darkness?

    The perversion of Vincentian values and the mystical body of Christ by the cringing Papists at DePaul shows how easily power and money trumps professed morality and ethics.

    Let’s remember Rosa Luxemburg.

  11. hp said on September 22nd, 2007 at 1:39pm #

    Dershowitz should be arrested for impersonating a Semite.

  12. gerald spezio said on September 22nd, 2007 at 1:50pm #

    hp, if push comes to whack, it is more probable that Dershowitz , being an officer of the court, will have you and I arrested and tortured with due process as frosting.
    Don’t rule this out. All our lives may soon be on the line. This is it.

  13. Kathryn Weber said on September 22nd, 2007 at 5:58pm #

    Yes, actually, Prof. Finkelstein has supported Prof. Larudee throughout both of their ordeal. His speech announcing his settlement with DePaul featured prominently an exhortation to support Dr. Larudee. Which, incidentally, the students had already been doing and continue to do. Please visit our website to keep updated. And Mr. David would do better to stick to criticising the media for ignoring her case than Dr. Finkelstein, who has been made more miserable by her loss than his own.

  14. Kathryn Weber said on September 22nd, 2007 at 6:00pm #

    The website, in case it didn’t show up, is http://www.academicfreedomchicago.org.

  15. Ron David - the author said on September 22nd, 2007 at 8:03pm #

    I am Ron David, the author of the article–
    Please forgive this broad attempt to cover (to some extent at least) most of the issues raised. I do not know any of the parties involved. Like most of you, I know only what I have read. I do ask you to take my word for anything. So I will begin by giving you the web URLs of what I considered the best articles on the subject:
    1. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/08/urgent-need-to-right-wrongs-at-depaul-university/ – Dissident Voice – “Urgent Need to Right the Wrongs at DePaul” – by Bill Martin (senior faculty member & Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University) Aug. 9, 2007

    2. http://www.finkelgate.com/ – DePaul pulls plug on controversial professor – August 27, 2007 – By Ron Grossman – Tribune staff reporter

    3. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/06/choosing-one%e2%80%99s-poison-holtschneider-decides-to-face-the-wrath-of-the-progressive-left-rather-than-the-monied-pro-israel-right/ – “Choosing One’s Poison: Holtschneider Decides to Face the Wrath of the Progressive Left Rather than the Monied, Pro-Israel Right” – by Bill Williams – Dissident Voice, June 30, 2007

    4. http://www.rwor.org/a/093/finkelstein-en.html – Revolution #93, June 24, 2007 – Escalation in the Attacks on Dissent and Critical Thinking: DePaul University Denies Tenure to Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee

    5. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article7055.shtml – Finkelstein case: Academic freedom loses to Israeli lobby – by Matthew Abraham, The Electronic Intifada, 25 June 200

    6. http://www.muzzlewatch.com/?cat=31 – “Our jaws just dropped, hit the floor, when we saw the decision went the other way.” -–Michael A. McIntyre, director, DePaul’s program of international studies, in response to denial of tenure to Dr. Mehrene Larudee.

    7. http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1081 – DePaul Professor Who Supported Finkelstein Also Was Denied Tenure – 06.12.2007 – The Chronicle of Higher Education – By Sierra Millman

    8. http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/07/the-commissar-two-step-at-depaul-defamation-zionist-style/ – “The Commissar Two-Step at DePaul: Defamation, Zionist-Style at DePaul” – by Bill Williams – Dissident Voice, July 2, 2007

    Some of you have questions about Ms. Larudee’s qualifications and her research record. I think that article #1 Bill Martin (“Urgent Need to Right the Wrong at DePaul”) clearly and irrefutably makes the point Dr. Larudee’s academic and research record is beyond reproach. He says, as we would expect, that any criticism of her scholarship or character is spurious–phony excuses to justify the unjustifiable treatment she, like Professor Finkelstein, was given by DePaul. The author of the article, Bill Martin, is a senior faculty member and Professor of Philosophy at DePaul, so it is very likely that he knows and speaks the truth.

    Articles #6 and #7 give the same “rave reviews” to Larudee and add specific details about her qualifications and the shock of everyone in her department when DePaul, in a complete reversal their previous position (and everyone’s expectations) denied tenure to Professor Larudee.
    Every article that mentions Larudee (and most of them do not) makes the point that her only crime was defending Norman Finkelstein. I have the greatest respect for Norman Finkelstein. My first several attempts at writing an article on the DePaul travest were written at before Dr. Finkelstein settled with DePaul. I always speak the truth in plain blunt language. My first attempts at this article began like this:

    “A SIMPLE QUESTION
    Is any reader of this magazine dumb enough to believe that the hatchet job done on Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee has anything to do with the quality of their work?
    I didn’t think so.”

    “SCREWING PIGS
    What exactly are the slimeballs at DePaul trying to accomplish by blatantly lying about two of the most honorable and competent academics in America? I don’t know if it’s true or apocryphal, but they used to tell a story about Lyndon Johnson’s campaign strategy back in his old Texas days. Johnson told his campaign manager to publicly accuse his opponent of screwing pigs. The campaign manager said, “Why? He doesn’t screw pigs.” Lyndon Johnson said, “I know that, but if we accuse him of it he’ll have to spend his whole campaign denying it.”
    DePaul University is accusing Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee of screwing pigs.
    And everyone on the Left has fallen for it.
    I have read at least two dozen microscopically researched explanations that proved beyond a doubt that those two elegant people did not screw pigs…which we all knew in the first place.”

    I was and am a passionate supporter of Norman Finkelstein. But as I have tried to make clear, no matter how much I respect him, I passionately believe that he and the massive machinery that supported him WON a victory for Finkelstein–then acted like the job was finished.

    I do not blame the media for abandoning Dr. Larudee because, frankly, I do not expect a damned thing from the media. When it comes to anything remotely connected to Israel, the media is a Right-Wing pro-Israel propaganda army.

    WHY DO I ACCUSE DePAUL OF BEING PART OF THE ISRAEL LOBBY?
    Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee were not denied tenure because of the quality of their work, they were denied tenure because they were intelligently and persuasively critical of Israel.
    Any individual or organization that judges a person on the basis of their position on Israel, is by definition, part of the Israel Lobby.

    Article #8 (“Anatomy of a Smear” by Bill Williams) begins by…not so much making the point, but offering the possibility that DePaul denied tenure to Finkelstein as a personal favor to Dershowitz. Mr. Williams floats that possibility humorously, with tongue-in-cheek, so we miss the point if we take his article too literally.
    But the evidence that Williams offers reveals DePaul University as virtually a “recipe” for how to turn the university of your choice into an agent of the Israel Lobby:
    “In May 2004, a mere one month before fifty Jenner and Block attorneys attended a Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Lawyer’s Division dinner in Chicago, where Alan Dershowitz delivered the keynote address on ‘The Case for Israel,’ John Simon, a Jenner and Block partner, was elected Chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. In October 2004, he assumed the position of chair of the Board of Trustees after having served as a Trustee since 1990.”
    “You read that correctly: one month before Dershowitz made the case for Israel in front of the Chicago JUF and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago Lawyer’s Division, with fifty Jenner and Block attorneys in attendance, John Simon became chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. Three months after Dershowitz makes the case for Israel before fifty Jenner and Block attorneys and 2500 die-hard supporters of Israel at a JUF fundraiser, John Simon officially began his stint as chair of DePaul’s Board of Trustees. (See p. 28 and this video). Simon received the ORT Jurisprudence Award in 1999. A little digging allowed me to learn that: ORT (was created in 1880 by Russian Jews who established new colonies and agricultural schools and model farms to help newly displaced Russian Jews adapt to an agricultural existence….etc.”

    Any corporation, university or other, presided over by an active, openly Zionist Board of Trustees closely associated with Alan Dershowitz who is an avid fund-raiser for Israel and promotes speeches by Dershowitz, etc etc etc–is very likely (the understatement of the year) a part of the Israel Lobby. I say “very likely” instead of “IS part of the Lobby” because a necessary condition for accusing someone of being part of the Lobby is that they actively work and make judgements that favor Israel in situations when one’s position on Israel should not be a factor. (Mearsheimer & Walt’s “loose coalition of individuals and institutions…”)

    Re Norman Finkelstein’s post-settlement activity:
    According to everything I have read on the situation, Professor Finkelstein settlement speech included one sentence on how DePaul’s treatment of Mehrene Larudee “would remain an open wound at DePaul” — and that was pretty much it.
    Also from what I have read, his settlement with DePaul does not prohibit Finkelstein in any way of being critical of DePaul.

    Believe me, this one of those bizarre situations where I would love to be WRONG! Somebody, either Norman Finkelstein or the huge vocal group that supported him–and WON–show me what a moron I am by vocally defending Larudee until she gets the settlement she deserves!

    I apologize for this one-answer-fits-all approach I have taken here. I promise that I will try to address each of you.
    I answer only one individual here. Ken Levy says (rightly) that I should ask Mehrene Larudee how she feels.
    I did ask her how she feels (by e-mail). Out of respect for her privacy, I will answer that question broadly and say only that she is disappointed in DePaul but she is not critical of Norman Finkelstein.

    More Full-Disclosure
    1. I mistakenly referred to Mehrene Larudee as “Palestinian.” She is not Palestinian. I took that from a source that turned out to be wrong, but I don’t blame the source, I blame myself. It is my responsibility to confirm any information I use.
    2. I referred to Dr. Larudee’s being made director of International Studies as a “promotion.” She that it was not really a promotion, more like a change in responsibility.
    3. I smile at the thought of this, but does “full disclosure” mean that I should “admit” that I am an Arab? Grandparents on both sides from Lebanon. Unapologetically, trashtalkingly an Arab.

    For what it’s worth, Norman Finkelstein is a person every Arab, including me, respects very very much.
    But you do not abandon one of your comrades in a fight. It’s wrong.
    Thank you, every one of you, for caring enough to “talk” with me.
    Ron David

  16. Ron David - the author said on September 23rd, 2007 at 2:01pm #

    I recognized Kathryn Weber’s name as one of the people who wrote good articles in the process of this case, so I went to the web site she suggested to see if I had missed the articles defending Larudee after Finkelstein won his settlement.
    I saw only three articles on the AcedemicFreedomChicago website that were written after Norman Finkelstein settled with DePaul.
    One by Ron Grossman – Chicago Tribune.
    One by Scott Jaschik – Inside Higher Ed
    One by Don Babwin – Associated Press
    Unless I missed something, NONE of them even mentioned Mehrene Larudee’s name.

    It is certainly possible that I do not know how to navigate my way through the AcademicFreedomChicago website, but as far as I could tell the articles were listed in reverse-chronological order — and as of September 24, some two and a half weeks after Finkelstein and DePaul agreed on a settlement, NOTHING had been posted that mentioned Larudee’s name.

    Dear DePaul students:
    You managed to achieve what many people thought was impossible.
    All I’m asking is that you finish the job you started. You already won the most difficult part of the battle.
    If I am missing the articles that have defended Larudee after Finkelstein’s settlement, please direct me to them–because, as I said, this is a situation in which I would love to be wrong.

  17. Maren Hackmann said on September 23rd, 2007 at 5:53pm #

    Mr David: How do you reconcile your self-image as “a passionate supporter of Norman Finkelstein” with spewing filth and nonsense about him? You didn’t even bother to watch his farewell speech.

  18. Angie Tibbs said on September 25th, 2007 at 12:00am #

    There is an article on NF’s web site entitled:

    “Tenure Dispute at DePaul Ends With a Settlement and Professor’s Resignation” by Paula Wasley, taken from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Two paragraphs of interest are as follows:

    “”Although the terms of the agreement with DePaul were bound by confidentiality restrictions, Mr. Finkelstein said he would continue to speak out about the unfairness of the tenure process and in support of a colleague, Mehrene E. Larudee, who was also denied tenure this spring. Ms. Larudee, an assistant professor of international studies, had advocated on his behalf (The Chronicle, June 12).

    Ms. Larudee’s case was a “piece of unfinished business that will haunt DePaul until it is corrected,” Mr. Finkelstein said, and he urged his supporters to apply their zeal to appealing her tenure decision.”

    http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1225

  19. Ron David - the author said on September 25th, 2007 at 6:15pm #

    Ms. Tibbs
    Thank you for your sane constructive response. I did go to the web site you suggested. I had seen the article. Other articles I had read say that Norman Finkelstein was under no speech restrictions. The article you referred to is nearly 3 weeks old, so obviously there is no public work being done on Ms. Larudee’s behalf.
    I decided to go back to the AcademicFreedomChicago website and simply query them to see I would go about starting a petition if there was nothing in-progress. My query was answered by a gracious young man, Victor Lang, who explaind that Finkelstein’s resignation was quite sudden and had taken the movement by surprise. He assured me that his group was in the process of making some noise on Larudee’s behalf, and I offered him my help in any capacity he chose.

    I am also involved in trying to help Pluto Press, one of the finest publishers in the world, resist the attempt by freedom-of-speech haters at the University of Michigan to ban all Pluto Press books. I spoke (by e-mail) briefly with Victor Lang about the possibility of the DePaul activists joining forces with would-be activists trying to defend Pluto Press, and ideally, set up a kind of network of resistance where we could all work together to defend academic freedom and freedom of the press wherever it raises its ugly head.
    I also asked Mr. Lang for his advice because the DePaul student activists are now the model group for effectively resisting self-appointed censors and bullies like Campus Watch. A New York group, “Stop Suppression,” has recently been formed to defend Pluto Press.
    Any of the DePaul activists who have suggestions or would like to help are certainly welcome.
    I would like to thank some of supportive “write-ins” I have received in response to my perhaps over-confrontational article:
    CATHERINE – Thank you for your completely open-minded response.
    NATHAN – Yes, thank you for noticing that the point of the article was that so few people were aware of Professor Larudee’s dilemma.
    FRANKSJO – Every article that commented on Dr. Larudee’s qualifications and research record gave remarkably positive reports on her work.
    DEADBEAT – You seem to be the only responder who was aware of the fact (not opinion, FACT) that both Chomsky and Finkelstein ultimately let the Israel Lobby off the hook. That was the Kiss of Death for the Left’s momentum on trying to stop the self-appointed Campus Watchers.
    GERALD SPEZIO – You are right on every count! If we can’t count on people like Chomsky and Finkelstein to defend us, our situation seems hopeless…but we can’t give up. The need for absolute freedom seems to be in our genes. Thank you!
    HP – Dershowitz should be arrested for impersonating a human being. I suspect that there’s no such person as Dershowitz, he’s reincarnation of Groucho Marx having fun at the expense of all of us. Dershowitz is such a whore that we should hire him to defend our side!
    KATHRYN WEBER – Although you bad-mouthed me, from your articles (none of which are current) you are one of the people I am sure supports Dr. Larudee. We need you more than ever now.
    ANGIE TIBBS – Again, thank you for your sane, constructive response.

    TO THE REST OF YOU, ESPECIALLY THE ONES WHO DESPISE ME WITH GREAT ENERGY -
    We are in the same battle against the people who oppose academic freedom and in effect try to “burn” the books they disagree with. Let’s work together against the people who try to silence all of us.
    Ron David

  20. LanceThruster said on September 26th, 2007 at 11:28am #

    Thank you Mr. David, not only for a thought provoking piece but to the commentors who also provided useful information, corrections and insight. You all exemplify the desire to add to the sum total of human knowledge and understanding. By this I mean that in taking a position and defending it, or modifying it when you feel it’s warranted, you show the true power of the free exchange of ideas. One can be passionate without being denigrating to others for their passion. It is one of the things I most admire about the supporters of Dr. Finkelstein is that rather than a cult of personality, they are capable of making their own interpretations based on the information available to them, and putting forth their own arguments whether in agreement entirely with Dr. Finkelstein or not.

    I too felt the need to include Prof. Larudee in my letters of protest or support though I’ll have to admit that I have not yet written her directly in thanks for her commitment academic freedom and Dr. Finkelstein. My knowledge of her prior to reading this was only as the supporter who was also denied tenure. The assumption that her qualifications were not the issue seems to have been established so I will continue to be active in movements that seek justice or restitution for her too. I am concerned that Mathew Abraham, also of DePaul, may have put himself in harm’s way as well.

    It is a deplorable state of affairs, both academically and politically, when issues are not decided by who makes the strongest argument, but rather by who has the power to declare their argument the strongest.

  21. jaime said on September 26th, 2007 at 11:43am #

    hmmmm…

    “…You seem to be the only responder who was aware of the fact (not opinion, FACT) that both Chomsky and Finkelstein ultimately let the Israel Lobby off the hook. That was the Kiss of Death for the Left’s momentum on trying to stop the self-appointed Campus Watchers…”

    O.K., I’ll bite. How did Finkelstein “let the Isarel lobby off the hook”….
    Chomsky we’ve heard about on another thread.

  22. Ron David - the author said on September 26th, 2007 at 9:51pm #

    JAIME
    Finkelstein wrote a widely-read, very influential article in CounterPunch, titled “It’s Not Either / Or – The Israel Lobby” (May 1, 2006 – http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein05012006.html ).
    Finkelstein’s position in the article, like Chomsky’s, took many of us on the Left completely by surprise. They were at the top of list of the most brilliant and effective critics of Israel in the U.S., so most of the Left expected them to argue that the Israel Lobby was responsible for or enormously influential in determining U.S. Foreign Policy.
    But Chomsky and Finkelstein argued that the Israel Lobby was not especially powerful, but that U.S. Foreign Policy was set by the “elites,” was the same as it had always been, and Israel had little or no impact on it.
    Surprise, verging on shock, at their position was expressed by many writers. The most surprising response to the Israel Lobby was that of the brilliant Leftists (like Chomsky & Finkelstein) who let the Lobby off the hook.
    Your question is asked in good faith, so if you like I will search out some of those responses so you can see them. I would have to look up the URLs to lead you directly to them, but the articles that expressed great surprise included a long article in the NY Review of Books, two or three articles in WRMEA (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs – one of which if I remember correctly was written by Paul Larudee); a long article in CounterPunch by Bill and Kathleen Christison…and several others.
    Ron David

  23. jaime said on September 27th, 2007 at 7:09am #

    Oh yes, please do.
    I just had a look at the linked article and F’s principle point is that

    “Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict, fundamental U.S. policy in the Middle East hasn’t been affected by THE LOBBY…”

    So even though he later makes the point that THE LOBBY suppresses discussion of middle eastern issues, this doesn’t exonerate him from the horrible faux pas of not accusing THE LOBBY of in fact doing much much more.

    For instance 9/11. Global warming. Hurricane Katrina.

  24. Ron David - the author said on September 27th, 2007 at 1:37pm #

    JAIME -
    Virtually everyone has some negative things to say about the Israel Lobby, but in the end there is an enormous difference between actually taking a stand–for or against. Here are a few of the best articles that say in no uncertain terms, For or Againt–

    “The Power of the Israel Lobby – Its Origins and Growth”
    by Bill and Kathleen Christison
    CounterPunch, June 16/18, 2006
    http://www.counterpunch.org/christison06162006.html

    Here are the first few paragraphs of the article:
    John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the University of Chicago and Harvard political scientists who published in March of this years a lengthy, well documented study on the pro-Israel lobby and its influence on U.S. Middle East policy in March , have already accomplished what they intended. They have successfully called attention to the often pernicious influence of the lobby on policymaking. But, unfortunately, the study has aroused more criticism than debate ­ not only the kind of criticism one would anticipate from the usual suspects among the very lobby groups Mearsheimer and Walt described, but also from a group on the left that might have been expected to support the study’s conclusions.

    The criticism has been partly silly, often malicious, and almost entirely off-point. The silly, insubstantial criticisms ­ such as former presidential adviser David Gergen’s earnest comment that through four administrations he never observed an Oval Office decision that tilted policy in favor of Israel at the expense of U.S. interests ­ can easily be dismissed as nonsensical . Most of the extensive malicious criticism, coming largely from the hard core of Israeli supporters who make up the very lobby under discussion and led by a hysterical Alan Dershowitz, has been so specious and sophomoric, that it too could be dismissed were it not for precisely the pervasive atmosphere of reflexive support for Israel and silenced debate that Mearsheimer and Walt describe.

    Most disturbing and harder to dismiss is the criticism of the study from the left, coming chiefly from Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, and abetted less cogently by Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus and Joseph Massad of Columbia University. These critics on the left argue from a assumption that U.S. foreign policy has been monolithic since World War II, a coherent progression of decision-making directed unerringly at the advancement of U.S. imperial interests. All U.S. actions, these critics contend, are part of a clearly laid-out strategy that has rarely deviated no matter what the party in power. They believe that Israel has served throughout as a loyal agent of the U.S., carrying out the U.S. design faithfully and serving as a base from which the U.S. projects its power around the Middle East. Zunes says it most clearly, affirming that Israel “still is very much the junior partner in the relationship.” These critics do not dispute the existence of a lobby, but they minimize its importance, claiming that rather than leading the U.S. into policies and foreign adventures that stand against true U.S. national interests, as Mearsheimer and Walt assert, the U.S. is actually the controlling power in the relationship with Israel and carries out a consistent policy, using Israel as its agent where possible.

    Finkelstein summarized the critics’ position in a recent CounterPunch article (“The Israel Lobby,” May 1, http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein05012006.html), emphasizing that the issue is not whether U.S. interests or those of the lobby take precedence but rather that there has been such coincidence of U.S. and Israeli interests over the decades that for the most part basic U.S. Middle East policy has not been affected by the lobby. Chomsky maintains that Israel does the U.S. bidding in the Middle East in pursuit of imperial goals that Washington would pursue even without Israel and that it has always pursued in areas outside the Middle East without benefit of any lobby. Those goals have always included advancement of U.S. corporate-military interests and political domination through the suppression of radical nationalisms and the maintenance of stability in resource-rich countries, particularly oil producers, everywhere. In the Middle East, this was accomplished primarily through Israel’s 1967 defeat of Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser and his radical Arab nationalism, which had threatened U.S. access to the region’s oil resources. Both Chomsky and Finkelstein trace the strong U.S.-Israeli tie to the June 1967 war, which they believe established the close alliance and marked the point at which the U.S. began to regard Israel as a strategic asset and a stable base from which U.S. power could be projected throughout the Middle East.

    —————————————
    THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS – June 8, 2006
    “The Storm over the Israel Lobby” by Michael Massing
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=19062
    (This URL shows only the beginning of the article; you apparently have to buy something or join something to see the entire article.)
    I am almost certain that I have the article. I you e-mail me I will send it as an attachment. (moc.oohaynull@cazlabnor)

    ——————————————–
    WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS, Sep/Oct 2005
    “The Blind Spot in Criticism of U.S. Policy Toward Israel
    by Paul Larudee, Ph.D.
    http://www.wrmea.com/archives/Sept_Oct_2005/0509017.html
    This is a great article; it helps clarify the arguments about the Lobby.

    This is one of my favorite articles, but Larudee concludes that Uri Avnery takes a stand against the Lobby; I disagree. Avnery’s article frames the question as Is the dog wagging its tail, or is the tail wagging the dog?
    He concludes that it is a combination.
    ———————————————————–
    …by the way, Norman Finkelstein writes that the ONLY way the Israel Lobby controls US Foreign Policy is in the Israel/Palestine conflict.
    I say “That is a huge ONLY. Slow genocide deserves more that an ‘only.’”

    Please Understand: I think that for the most part Norman Finkelstein is one of the best, bravest and most interesting writers in the universe. But I disagree with him on a couple matters … and I truly wish that he would publicly, loudly, passionately, relentlessly defend Mehrene Larudee until she has settled with DePaul to her complete satisfaction.
    If you live your life with passion, there are times when you need other people to help you or defend you. If someone cares enough about you to defend you at risk to herself, you cannot abandon her when she needs your help.
    Ron David

  25. jaime said on September 27th, 2007 at 3:06pm #

    But you missed my point entirely.

    THE LOBBY is in fact, responsible for much more than the manipulation of Jewish policy. Doesn’t THE LOBBY manipulate oil prices, immigration policy and which highways get better road maintenance?

  26. Ron David - the author said on September 27th, 2007 at 8:24pm #

    JAIME
    I missed YOUR point?
    I have been ridiculously patient. I am sure that, conned by your pretense of good faith, I have spent more time collecting information for you than you have spent reading it.
    If I were you I would sue DePaul for giving you such a poor education. Not only don’t you know when you are clueless, you don’t even have the intellectual curiousity to question what you think is true. I have done everything but read the articles FOR you.
    Sue DePaul. I’ll be happy to testify on your behalf.

  27. jaime said on September 28th, 2007 at 7:41am #

    Ron,

    YOU WOULD TESTIFY FOR ME? I ‘ve never had an offer like that before. Never. Well let’s start talking about the ’cause of action’ (as we legal types call it).

    I think we should go forward with the premise that even DePaul is outwardly a Catholic university..the real management decisions, aside from the day-to-day workings, are in fact dictated by (are you ready) The JEWISH LOBBY!

    All we have to do is subpoena the management for all of their communication records (emails, faxes, hardcopy correspondance) for the time frame leading up to the Finkelstein/Larudee affair and make this the biggest thing since Al Gore’s Global Warming.

    Who’s with me?

  28. Bill Williams said on September 28th, 2007 at 10:40am #

    Dear Mr. David:

    Are you aware that the Paul Larudee, whose article you reference above, is Mehrene Larudee’s brother? Paul is one of the leading activists in the International Solidarity Movement. He was jailed in Israel a few years ago for nearly a month for his activities on behalf of ISM. I’m surprised you did not focus on this connection in your original article. Is it possible that Larudee’s tenure denial at DePaul had more to do with who her brother is, than with her support of Norman Finkelstein? I have always thought so.

    WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS, Sep/Oct 2005
    “The Blind Spot in Criticism of U.S. Policy Toward Israel
    by Paul Larudee, Ph.D.
    http://www.wrmea.com/archives/Sept_Oct_2005/0509017.html

    BW

  29. Ron David - the author said on September 28th, 2007 at 11:27am #

    A NOTE TO ALL OF THE STUDENTS OF DePAUL
    I am not sure how aware you are of this, or whether you can imagine what it means to people like me, but your defense of Norman Finkelstein has made you one of the most effective student groups that has ever existed in this country.
    I have been part of the Civil Rights movement, the Anti-Vietnam War movement and just about every Humanist, Life-Affirming movement that has existed in US in the last 40 or so years. (I’m in my 60s.)
    I can assure you that NONE of those wonderful movements were anywhere near as successful as the DePaul student activist movement to defend Norman Finkelstein.
    (I will put aside for now the issue of your defense of Dr. Larudee.)
    There was an influential “Free Speech” movement at Berkeley in the 1960s. There was a beautiful movement in Paris in the late 1960s or early 70s in which students in Paris manned “barricades” with French workers.
    And there are the student activists at DePaul.
    So if bitch you out a bit and hold you to impossibly high standards, it’s in the same spirit in which I hold people like Chomsky and Finkelstein to impossibly high standards. (I don’t waste time bitching about people like Dershowitz because you would have to be idiot with amnesia to expect anything from creeps like him.
    I expect something wonderful from DePaul activist students because you have proven by your actions that you can do something wonderful.

    I honestly think that the DePaul student activists should write a kind of “Handbook of Student Resistance.” Show the rest of us how you did it so that we can learn from you. Lance Thruster (I will resist the impulse to ask if that is your real name), you are right in noting that the real meaning and beauty of this exchange between me and all of you is the passionate dialogue that we are all involved in.

    As I have said so many times that you are sick of hearing it, I would love to see you re-double your efforts on behalf of Mehrene Larudee. And I think that on a purely human (non-political) level you understand and agree with the idea that it is shameful to abandon your friends in a fight of any kind—-but I am going to switch subjects completely…

    I am involved in a struggle not too different from your struggle with DePaul to save Finkelstein and Larudee. The struggle I am now involved in is to save a BOOK (“Overcoming Zionism”) written by a man I’ve never met (Joel Kovel) and the PUBLISHER of that book (Pluto Press) from being banned by the University of Michigan Press (because one of the fanatical Israel Lobby groups is pressuring Univ. of Mich. just like the Israel Lobby goons pressured DePaul).

    HERE IS WHAT I AM ASKING OF YOU
    I am writing a long impassioned letter to the University of Michigan Press on behalf of Joel Kovel’s book and its publisher Pluto Press.
    I would LOVE to include with my letter a petition or a list of signatures by the Activist Students at DePaul (or whatever name you choose for yourselves). You are such a formidable “force” (I’m smiling when I think of this) that I think a petition or some signatures from you might very well “strike terror” in the administrators at University of Michigan Press –or at least make them understand that “we” are as capable of exerting pressure as the Israel Lobby thugs.
    I would never ask you to defend something you didn’t believe was worth defending, so by all means look at the web site of Pluto Press and the books they publish. (www.plutobooks.com)
    If you think they are worth saving and you would like to help us, please send whatever kind of support you like –a petition, signatures, letters– whatever you like to me at either – ten.divadnornull@gnosbara – or moc.oohaynull@cazlabnor- .
    If you want to know more about who and what I am, you can go to my web site at http://www.rondavid.net .
    If I ask you for help (to me) that means that I must be available to help you if you need it. So if I can help you in any way please let me know.

    JAIME – You and I perhaps got a bit overheated at times. You are young and full of energy and I am not so young and full of energy. I agree with you, many of DePaul’s decisions are made by (or because of pressure from) the Israel Lobby. Many of us try to avoid using the term JEWISH Lobby because it implies that it works on behalf of Jews (and includes and incriminates all Jews); most of us use the term ISRAEL Lobby or ZIONIST Lobby because it aims at “political group,” not a religion.

    …make no mistake.
    WE WANT YOUR ENERGY ON OUR SIDE.
    Ron David

  30. jaime said on September 28th, 2007 at 12:22pm #

    Ron, I respect what you have to say, but I’ve got to disagree with you on two small points.

    The ISRAEL LOBBY cannot be separated from the JEWISH LOBBY, they are indeed one and the same, Israel being a “collectivity” of Jews.

    There was a time when saying: “I don’t hate Jews, I hate Zionists and Israel,” bought you some leeway when being accused of antisemitism.

    So it’s disingenuous to pussy-foot around any more. If you hate Jews/Israel, then say so. Everybody knows what you mean anyway.

    Secondly, on your website you state : “…The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not a clash of civilizations, it is a clash between an indigenous people and the well-spoken thugs who want to steal their country and colonize them…”

    We know you mean well. But Jews ARE indigenous to that part of the world too. And today’s Israel reflects a RETURN of Jews to the Middle East.

    For instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate a documented presence of Jews in the Middle East some 2 thousand years ago.

    http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/intro.html

    The Tel Dan Stele is a black basalt stele erected by an Aramaean king in northernmost Israel containing an Aramaic inscription to commemorate his victory over the ancient Hebrews. Certifiably dated to the 9th or 8th centuries BCE.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Dan_Stele

  31. Ron David - the author said on September 28th, 2007 at 9:09pm #

    Jaime–
    You have persistence, guts, this is good piece.
    I disagree with parts of it. The term “Jewish Lobby” is currently one that’s not in use. “Israel Lobby,” especially since the Mearsheimer and Walt paper that attracted so much attention is term that’s used.
    I don’t hate Jews or Zionists or Israel. I grew up in the aftermath of World War Two. The Holocaust had a deep and lasting impact on my and the way I live my life.
    My opposition to Israel is not different than my opposition to any bunch of people who presume they have the right to overrun others. I can’t change things that happened 200 or 2000 years ago, but I might be able to have some impact on what is happening now.
    When most people use the term “indigenous people” they mean (and I mean) the people who live there now or when their country was taken from them, not people who lived there 1,800 years ago–which is roughly the time when most Jews who lived in the Middle East left.
    Ashkenazi Jews (those of European descent) often are red-haired, freckled and have skin so white it’s almost transparent, so I wouldn’t be too sure they had ancestors from the Middle East. Sephardic Jews are darker and are usually indistinguishable from Arabs, but in Israel they are often treated like second-class citizens.
    You’re right, Jews have been in the Middle East for at least 2,500 years.
    That’s a long time; but the Palestinian city of Jericho (usually considered the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth) is 10,000 years old!
    Egypt and Iraq, “cradles of civilization” are between 5,000-10,000 years old. When I was doing research for my book (“Arabs & Israel for Beginners”), I did it without any preconceptions, with as open a mind as I could keep.
    My impression, much to my surprise, was that ancient Iran (Persia) was by far the most civilized of all the ancient countries.
    A two-book set, “Black Athena” (by Martin Bernal) is so surprising it comes as a real shock–but it is so well-documented it’s difficult to challenge it. Its central thesis is that virtually everything we credit to the ancient Greeks, from Democracy to Classical Drama, was “borrowed” from ancient Egypt and Phoenicia.
    Everything, including history, is full of surprises if you’re curious and energetic. And you are.

    But Jaime, I am trying to focus all of my passion and energy on keeping “Campus Watch” (and its little brother “Stand With Us”) from pressuring the University of Michigan into censoring the book “Overcoming Zionism” and the publisher Pluto Press. It’s very much like the Lobby’s pressuring DePaul into “censoring” Norman Finkelstein and Mehrene Larudee.
    I have to stay focused.
    Ron David

  32. jaime said on September 29th, 2007 at 8:45am #

    Well you can save your breath.

    “Overcoming Zionism” can be distributed freely. There’s no restriction on its publishing or distribution.

    HOWEVER the continued relationship with Pluto Books and the U of M is under reconsideration. And this was because after a series of radical and polemic screeds were published that contained undignified language “more suited to the barricades then the classroom.”

    “Overcoming Zionism” has been condemned not so much for its “replace Israel and Palestine with one country” theme but for its perjorative language and hysterical tone.

    In either case, Jovel’s concept is no more than a toy train because the Hamas portion of the Palestinian population still is hellbent on genocide of the Jews. You can’t cobble together disparate populations who are actively seeking to kill their neighbours.

  33. Ron David - the author said on September 29th, 2007 at 10:49am #

    BILL WILLIAMS!–
    So good to hear from you, Bill Williams! I presume that you are the same Bill Williams who wrote at least two of the best articles on the DePaul battles (“The Poisoning of Academic Freedom -Strange Calculus at DePaul” and “The Commissar Two-Step at DePaul”).
    Thank you for your articles; I learned a lot from them.
    (…be funny if you weren’t THAT Bill Williams!)

    Yes, I did know that Ms. Larudee was Paul’s sister. Or I should say I was pretty sure she was Paul’s sister. I did something I had never done before while writing the Finkelstein/Larudee/DePaul article — I forced myself to STOP doing research, primarily on Mehrene Larudee. I passionately believe that a person’s ethnicity should NOT be a consideration, so when I reached a point where the next click of the mouse would reveal her ethnicity–I stopped!
    (…and later when I thought I knew the answer in spite of myself, I was wrong!)

    Anyhow, yes, I knew (or presumed) Mehrene was Paul’s sister. And at first I wondered if Mehrene was being screwed by DePaul because she was Paul’s sister; then I learned a little bit of what she had done (Paul was not the only one in the family who was a courageous hell-raiser!) and I actually wondered if it was ridiculously, ironically possible that Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at DePaul because of his association with Dr. Larudee!!!
    But I have not mentioned things like that because I wanted to leave this case as it appeared to be–a dedicated, conscientious, soft-spoken acedemic/activist who acted on her conscience to defend a Rock Star of the Left … then was ignored. PERIOD.
    If the story was left unimbellished, Mehrene Larudee’s story was (and is) a parable about how NOT to treat your fellow fighters in a conflict.

    But back to question: I did know (or think) she was Paul’s sister. And I decided at some point that referring to her (or thinking of her) as “Paul’s sister” was what men in our country usually do to women.
    When I e-mailed her, it was obvious that Mehrene Larudee was an interesting, formidable young woman but I backed way off because I didn’t want to be writing about someone I knew.

    I’m rambling.
    1. If you contact me in a more private setting I will tell you one thing I was quite proud of that I will not say here. – moc.oohaynull@cazlabnor
    2. Many of the DePaul students, heroic as they have been, don’t seem to get it when I admonish them for abandoning a friend (Larudee). If you are in the mood to add a drop to my old guy lecture, please do.
    3. I am presently helping Pluto Press defend itself and Joel Kovel’s book “Overcoming Zionism” against the University of Michigan Press. U of M Press is being pressured by an offshoot of Campus Watch and they don’t seem to have any balls.
    Thank you for your articles,
    I learned a lot from them–
    Ron David