Jewish Journal

UCSB professor talks about ‘parallel images of Nazis and Israelis’

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 30, 2009 | 12:17 pm

The Los Angeles Times today picked up on the controversy surrounding a professor at UC Santa Barbara who in January sent his students an e-mail with 42 “parallel images of Nazis and Israelis.” I blogged about this Monday.

What I didn’t know then but what the Times reports is that the sociology professor, William I. Robinson, is Jewish. This means his supporters will find his actions brave and his opponents will identify Robinson as a self-loathing Jew instead of an anti-Semite.

Robinson didn’t respond to the e-mail I sent him, but he did speak with Doug Henwood of the liberal Counterpunch. Here is an excerpt of that interview in which Robinson seems to be claiming—and I don’t know how he can do this considering the subject of his email was “parallel images of Nazis and Israels”—that he didn’t actually make such a comparison:

DH: Now, I think some people found offensive that you had likened Israeli behavior to the Nazis. Is that an issue?

WR: Well I didn’t do that. What I did was I forwarded several items from the world media, from the internet media. One item was an article written by a Jewish journalist in a Jewish newspaper here in the United States, and it was criticizing the invasion of Gaza…

DH: So you didn’t endorse this position?

WR: I didn’t endorse it but I did include, I said, in presenting this material, I said that Gaza is Israel’s Warsaw and I explained the context. That’s because in Warsaw the Nazi’s surrounded Warsaw, concentrated Jews in Warsaw, wouldn’t let anyone in, wouldn’t let anyone out, wouldn’t let supplies in, wouldn’t let supplies out; as a result there was famine and disease and so forth…

DH: Which is exactly what’s…

WR: ...exactly and precisely what the Israeli’s are doing in Gaza. And that’s been denounced by the Red Cross, the United Nations, the international human rights organizations, and moreover, academic freedom totally allows me to present such controversial material and that’s part of what the university is all about.

You can read the rest here.

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