Yale Loses Interest In Antisemitism

The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) was founded in 2006. Last week the university announced that the Institute will be closed down on the ground that it fails to satisfy the university’s standards: it has “not attracted a critical mass of relevant faculty or stimulated sufficient new research.”
If you go to YIISA’s web site and check out the seminars the institute has sponsored in recent months and the scholarly papers it has sponsored or disseminated, it seems clear that the institute has been active, productive, and to some degree hard-hitting. In a commendably measured analysis, Caroline Glick questions whether the demise of YIISA really reflects an objective, non-political application of the university’s academic standards. You really should read her whole column; here are some excerpts:

While not clear-cut, an analysis of the story lends to the conclusion that politics were in all likelihood the decisive factor in the decision. And the implications of Yale’s move for the scholarly inquiry into anti-Semitism are deeply troubling. …
Senior Yale lecturers like Yale’s diplomat-in-residence and eminent international security studies scholar Charles Hill, and Yale’s Sterling Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature and Holocaust survivor Geoffrey Hartman, served on YIISA’s faculty advisory committees and participated in its activities. According to YIISA’s website, several dozen Yale professors and lecturers from throughout the university community were associated with YIISA. Their participation in its activities contributed to the institute’s comprehensive study of anti-Semitism. As the only center of its kind throughout North America, YIISA’s activities were widely covered by the media. Small and other YIISA personnel have been regularly interviewed in the US and global media on subjects related to the world’s oldest and most resilient form of bigotry. …
[Yale’s] criteria are reasonable for politically neutral or popular subjects like agrarianism or American politics. But sadly today, at Yale and throughout the world, the subject of anti-Semitism is steeped in controversy and an objective analysis of its various aspects is considered politically incorrect. Consequently, a decision to use routine standards of assessment for a non-routine subject is not a fair decision. …
From several perspectives, YIISA’s conference on anti-Semitism last August was a stellar success. The conference, which was held over three days, attracted more than a hundred top tier scholars and policymakers from around the world. It was heavily covered by the American and global media. In its willingness to address head-on the genocidal nature of Islamic anti-Semitism generally and Iranian anti-Semitism in particular, it was a path-breaking event in academia. The same can be said of its willingness to host open discussions of the prevalence and policy implications of Palestinian anti-Semitism.
But as far as campus politics were concerned, YIISA’s conference was a failure. Like nearly all university campuses in the US, Yale is dominated by the political Left. YIISA’s conference was denounced by the leftist blogosphere which alleged that it was discriminatory against Muslims.
The Left’s rage at the conference was further incited by the PLO’s decision to condemn the proceedings. In a letter to Yale’s President Richard Levin, the PLO representative in Washington, DC Maen Rashid Areikat, demanded that the university disassociate itself from the conference. …
Then there is Iran. In January 2010, Iran announced that it was instituting a boycott of 60 institutions. Yale was among them. Although the regime did not explain the reason for the boycott, university officials attributed Tehran’s decision to YIISA’s activities in spotlighting the regime’s role in promoting genocidal anti-Semitism.
Due to the boycott, Yale professors involved in research in Iran were forced to end their activities. These professors reportedly blamed YIISA rather than Iran for the cancellation of their research projects.
Deputy Provost and Political Science Professor Frances Rosenbluth served on the faculty committee that reviewed YIISA’s performance and concluded that the university should close the center. In recent years Rosenbluth appointed Judge Richard Goldstone and Iran-regime apologists Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett to serve as senior fellows at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Last September the Leveretts brought their students to New York to hold a seminar for them with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Unlike the YIISA conference, the move did not stimulate any significant controversy at the university.
Sources involved with YIISA allege a senior university official privately complained that “YIISA’s activities harm the Yale Corporation.” The clear insinuation was that due to YIISA’s activities, Yale has had difficulty raising money from Arab sources. …

Given Yale’s history of craven cowardice, the supposition that the university knuckled under to the prevailing currents of left-wing sentiment is by no means incredible. The world appears to be clearing the decks for a climactic sacrifice of Israelis (well, to be specific, Israeli Jews), and the last people we would expect to stand against such currents are academics.

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