Jewish Journal


July 25, 2007

End of the line for ‘Little Eichmanns’ professor


Ward Churchill met his maker—I’m sorry, salary payer—yesterday, and he was told to take a hike.

Churchill, if you don’t remember, was the University of Colorado professor who put some of the blame for 9/11 on ... the victims. Selfish capitalists he referred to in an essay as “Little Eichmanns.”

His case, which later included allegations of plagiarism and falsification of facts, became a cause celebre for the freedom of speech and the lunacy of faculty tenure. Churchill now plans to sue to university for breach of contract.

“We’re out of kangaroo court and going into real court,” his attorney told the Associated Press.

Heeb magazine’s blog was additionally cheery because Tuesday was the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’Av, the day when the First and Second Temples were destroyed.

First of all, the Wards Churchill of the world think that anything which is offensive is automatically valuable, original and thought provoking. If Churchill’s idea was to convey the message that US policy engenders anger, there were innumerable innumerably more effective ways to do it. His way wasn’t clever, or thought provoking, or interesting. It was simply mean-spirited, thoughtless, hyperbolic and ultimately hypocritical.

Which brings me to the the second of all. If working for a financial firm in the WTC makes you a “little Eichmann,” what about working for the University of Colorada? Not only does the university host ROTC, but it is run by the state, which also runs the National Guard. It seems to me that, according to Churchill’s logic, he is, if anything , just as much as much a cog in the wheels of American imperialism as anyone who died on 9/11.

Churchill is a fraud who rather pathetically (and falsely) claims to be an Indian and to have served as a combat veteran in an elite unit in Vietnam. There’s no question that Churchill is a mean-spirited schmuck, hypocrite, and liar; but given our own propensity for self-righteous egomania (albeit with a much sweeter disposition), we at Jewdar will be the last to say that that alone is grounds for dismissal.

But Churchill is also an academic fraud who made false claims, lied about the evidence to support those claims and, in general, behaved in a manner unbecoming of a tenured professor. What makes his dismissal so sweet is that, while he wasn’t fired for being a schmuck, had he not been one, nobody would have noticed the academic misconduct.

Sometimes, even on Tisha b’Av, justice triumphs.

(Photo: AP)

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