April 27, 2009
Santa Barbara professor compared Israelis to Nazis
I’ve never heard students complain of anti-Israel sentiments at UC Santa Barbara. That’s the reputation of UC Irvine and, to a lesser extent, Berkeley. But I just received an e-mail, which included a link to the video seen after the jump, forwarding an e-mail from William I. Robinson, a USCB sociology professor. The contents of that e-mail, which Robinson reportedly sent to students on Martin Luther King Day and ran under the heading “Parallel images of Nazis and Israelis,” included 42 side-by-side photos (like the one at left) that have made Robinson the focus of an academic investigation.
Here’s a portion of what he allegedly wrote:
Comparing Israelis to Nazis is nothing new. Criticism of Israel’s onslaught, particularly its intensity, on Gaza was arguably deserving. But the Zio-Nazi association is a strawman, typically reserved for rhetorical extremists, the Arab press and British MPs who lost family in the Holocaust.
According to KEYT, Robinson claims the complaint, initiated by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the two students who contacted the L.A.-based human-rights and Jewish-defense organization, is an attack on his academic freedom.
Robinson may have a point there. Tenure and academic freedom provide professors with a lot of latitude—less so for Ward “Little Eichmanns” Churchill than Kevin “The Foremost Anti-Semitic Thinker” MacDonald. And far worse things were said by professors at a UCLA symposium in January. As a refresher, here is what Tom Tugend reported then: