Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Political correctness at Claremont McKenna College - Israeli professor the victim

29 April '13..

Here is a little story: Claremont McKenna College is a private institution near Los Angeles. On March 4, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) held a “West Bank checkpoint simulation,” for which they had written permission from the Dean of Students, Mary Spellman.

The simulation consisted of blocking the entrance to the college dining hall and rudely demanding that students show their IDs in order to enter. One wonders what went through the mind of the dean — did she see educational value in this activity?

In any event, a student was distressed by the event and called an Israeli Economics professor, Yaron Raviv, who went to the dining hall.

(Strong language)

He reported he arrived to find students blocking the entrance, so he asked the dining hall manager to move them away from the door.

Soon after, the verbal altercation took place, as reports indicate [SJP member Najib] Hamideh – upset [that] Raviv aimed to move them – said, “Oh, you are faculty? I will hunt you down!” The professor responded: “What? You will hunt me down? You’re a fucking little cockroach.”

Exactly what was said remains unclear, but campus officials’ probe into the incident – during which nearly a dozen witnesses were interviewed – indicates that’s roughly the exchange between the two.

Raviv told administrators the “hunt you down” comment was particularly offensive because of his Jewish heritage, according to the review. Hamideh, for his part, denies saying it.

Students for Justice in Palestine also filed a bias complaint against the professor, stating “the term ‘cockroach’ must be taken in its specific historical context as hateful, racist, enemy imagery.”

The first thing that I want to say about this is that when I went to college in the early 1960′s, such a demonstration would not have been permitted, because the administrators would quite correctly assume that it would have turned into a brawl. Jewish students would have found it offensive enough to push back physically, right away.

The second thing is that it is interesting how the incident immediately became a contest about who made the most ethnically offensive remark. Is it worse to tell a Jew that you will ‘hunt him down’ or to call a Palestinian a ‘cockroach’? In his defense, Raviv argued that Israelis don’t call Palestinians ‘cockroaches’, and anyway he had no way of knowing Hamideh was Palestinian (he had grown up in the US and had no accent). On the other hand, said Raviv, it was obvious that he was Israeli and likely Jewish.

Everyone involved knew that there is no greater sin in their world than making an ethnic/racial slur. Even a physical threat.

Hamideh filed an ‘informal written grievance’ against Raviv, and the administration performed a ‘review’ of the incident, which involved the dean, the president of the college, etc. I’m sure that quite a bit of very expensive administrative time was consumed.

Note that nobody seems to have objected to the fact that the ‘street theater’ was essentially mendacious, since it portrayed an Israeli ‘checkpoint’ without including the Arab terrorism that makes such checkpoints necessary. There is also the unspoken fact that this kind of ‘theater’ is intended to intimidate the other side. Neither the ‘actors’ nor pro-Israel students will admit it (for different reasons) but the objective is that the ‘audience’ will become afraid of confronting the ‘actors’ in other contexts.

Raviv may or may not have escaped from the confrontation unscathed, at least from the standpoint of disciplinary action. From the college’s review:

The faculty member’s statements to the student were not in compliance with the expectations set forth in the College’s Statement on Professional Ethics, but these statements, when viewed in context, were not sufficiently severe or pervasive as to constitute a violation of the College’s Harassment Policy. The faculty member has acknowledged that his statements were inappropriate and unprofessional, and has apologized for his statements. Any additional personnel-related actions that may be appropriate will be confidentially addressed by the Dean of the Faculty’s Office.

Although Hamideh denied threatening Raviv, another student reported that Hamideh later used the expression again, saying that he would ‘hunt down’ the faculty member. The review of the incident does not mention that any action is contemplated against Hamideh, but it seems to me that he may have committed the crime of “making a criminal threat” (CA Penal Code 422 – 422.4). One hopes that a police report was made.

Raviv gave an interview to the Claremont Independent, which is worth reading. It describes the incident from his point of view, including mentioning that Hamideh said “now I’ve got you” after the professor’s intemperate remark! Compare this to Arab/leftist demonstrations at Israel’s security barrier, where they deliberately try to provoke IDF soldiers.

It also includes some examples of hate mail he received afterwards:

Raviv: So, this is an email, for example, from “Juice2”: “Hitler had the right idea, he was just an underachiever. I thought you might enjoy that since you seem to be such a huge supporter of genocide. Cheers.”

I got several like this: “I am one of your students. What right do you have to call one of my colleagues a ‘cockroach,’ you filthy Israeli cunt? Please, could I ask you to leave the U.S. and return to the land of Zion-Nazis where you can slaughter innocent cockroaches at whim? See you in class you wasted inbred.”

Raviv’s account is apologetic, and he is clearly hurt and worried:

Raviv: I poorly chose my words. I regret using bad language. We should all aspire to higher standards and not chaos. That’s not appropriate, so I’m sorry for that. But we need to understand what provoked this kind of language. What the student did to me, there’s no equivalence. Worst case scenario, I curse at somebody. But he has caused me real damage. …

[Student newspapers that published his name] really damaged my reputation. I have some Arab students in the class, I have some Palestinian students in the class, and they accused me of being a racist.

This has never happened in the college, this kind of persecution just because of political views. And you try to ask yourself, if I was an Irish-American, would they accuse me of being a racist? Or are they accusing me only because I’m an Israeli-Jew? So now, I ask you, where is the bias-related behavior? If I was an American and I said, “Fucking little cockroach,” would they accuse me of being racist?

Link: http://fresnozionism.org/2013/04/israeli-professor-a-victim-of-political-correctness/

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