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Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.


Facebook Groups Call for Mass Invasion of Israel on Friday

2011 May 19

 

My nightmares—what I knew could happen—is apparently happening.

The Third Palestinian Intifada on Facebook seems to have at least twenty different groups or pages, each with hundreds or thousands of fans. One group has 365,000 fans. According to Yedioth Ahronoth (YNet), these sites are now urging all Arabs to “rush the Israeli borders” after Friday prayers on May 20. read more…

Violent Jihadists: The Contemporary Left’s Freedom Riders?

2011 May 17

Last night I watched an incredibly moving documentary about the early civil rights movement in America in 1961. The film is based on Raymond Arsenault’s book about the many hundreds of young volunteers who faced savage beatings and possible death as they rode buses in an attempt to end Jim Crow racial segregation laws and practices. Directly by Stanley Nelson, the film shows us the extraordinary dignity and determination of the “freedom riders” whose courage inspired and guided even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

These young people were mainly African-Americans, but they were also white, and both male and female. They dressed conservatively and were trained not to fight back—not even when they were being beaten by racist mobs wielding baseball bats, lead pipes, sharp instruments, deadly fists, and hearts filled with hate. read more…

Jewish Umbrella Group Defends Wiesenfeld in CUNY/Kushner Saga

2011 May 17

On the evening of May 15, 2011, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) emailed a letter to the Board of Trustees at City University of New York about the Wiesenfeld/Kushner/CUNY scandal. SPME is an academic group which represents 55,000 professors, researchers and students on 3,500 campuses worldwide.

Thus far, no New York mainstream media has covered this truly significant event and unprecedented act of academic courage. I checked today’s New York Daily News, the New York Post, and New York Times (NYT). As we know, the NYT published more than 10 articles, blogs, and columns on the brouhaha.

With the exception of the article written by Stanley Fish, the articles essentially defended Tony Kushner as a Great Artist-victim and pilloried Jeffrey Wiesenfeld as a bully. Few articles dealt with the issues. Everyone avoided doing so by attacking Wiesenfeld personally. Wiesenfeld was depicted as a man “obsessed” with Israel who, for that reason, was no longer entitled to free speech or to academic freedom. Wiesenfeld was also demonized by the Forward and by the New York Observer.

In other words, if a Trustee of a university does not toe the political party line against Israel and in favor of “Palestine,” then he will be slimed and asked to resign.

When serious journalists and academics defend him—as Scholars for Peace in the Middle East just did and as I have done—it is as if we have not spoken. There is very little coverage, feedback, or flack. I googled the CUNY/Kushner/Wiesenthal/SPME subject and found that only pro-Israel blogs had covered it and that only one small blog took issue with SPME.

So far, two SPME Board members have heard absolutely nothing. True, it is only two days later, but still…I will continue to monitor the media coverage. If Jeffrey Wiesenfeld is allowed to twist in the wind alone merely for voicing his opinion (which is based on reality), then no lesser personage on campuses across America (a non-trustee who is not yet tenured) will dare speak out about Israel—unless they are in favor of boycotting, disarming, or abolishing the Jewish state.

This is typical behavior for left-wing politically correct thinkers. If you disagree with something, you pretend it does not exist. You do not read it, publish it, review it, or talk to the author. If something you disagree with persists or commands power of any kind, then you demonize the person as a way of avoiding the issues.

Now something also really big has just happened.

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York has written to the Chair of the Board of Trustees at CUNY, Benno Schmidt, and to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. This Council represents approximately fifty Jewish organizations (including the ADL, AJC, Hadassah, Hillel, Jewish National Fund, Young Israel, New York Board of Rabbis, UJA, Union of Reform Judaism, the Orthodox Union, the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, ZOA, the American Sephardi Association, etc.) and is headed by some Major Jewish Players.

One wonders if their letter will be treated as if it did not arrive and does not exist. The letter urges that Trustee Wiesenfeld not be pressured to resign. I am reprinting part of it here:

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York has never taken a position regarding the worthiness of any particular honorary degree recipient. We respect the process delineated in CUNY Policy 1.19, which appropriately includes a system of checks and balances that ultimately grants the CUNY Board of Trustees the final determination of honorary degrees.

We are troubled though that it appears that the explicit right and duty of a CUNY Trustee under Policy 1.19 – to express his/her views and vote his/her conscience – are now being challenged. Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld’s opinions, presented in good faith, unleashed a cacophonous barrage of calls for his resignation. Whether Trustee Wiesenfeld was right or wrong about Item 8 on the May 2, 2011 Board of Trustees’ meeting is immaterial. His fellow Trustees had the responsibility to evaluate and to accept or reject his assertions.

We believe that academic freedom cannot be exclusively limited to faculty and/or students. Indeed, that right applies to all sectors of the academy, including Trustees. We are shocked that people – including zealous advocates of academic freedom and free speech – have called for a Trustee’s removal because they disagree with his ideas and/or his desire to articulate them. Mr. Wiesenfeld’s freedom to state his views and opinions – whether one agrees with him or not – is equal to the freedom granted to faculty, students or even honorary degree nominees.

We view any effort to remove Trustee Wiesenfeld, or any Trustee, for acting in – what he considered – CUNY’s best interest is unacceptable both as university policy and as public policy.

UPDATE: The Jewish Week has just published a staff article about both the SPME and the JCRC letters. And, the influential Daily Alert, put out by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has linked to the Jewish Week article.

SPME to CUNY on Kushner’s Honor: ‘reverse this deeply uninformed decision’

2011 May 16

I have just received news of an astounding and unexpected “first.”

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, (SPME) a group which represents 55,000 scholars, researchers and students on 3,500 campuses across the world has just written to every Board of Trustee member at the City University of New York (CUNY) about the Kushner/Wiesenfeld cause célèbre. They are the first group of scholars to weigh in on another side—perhaps even on the “other” side. SPME is  horrified by the way in which a private Board member’s views became public so quickly and by how quickly the Trustees caved into the goon-squad tactics of the left intelligentsia and the media.

read more…

The Squalor and Sadism that Shaped Osama’s Sons

2011 May 15

 

This popular post was originally published May 11.

Western journalists seem shocked—shocked!—by the apparently shabby day-to-day living conditions of master villain Osama bin Laden. After all, the multimillionaire occupied a villa in an elite region where Pakistan’s military elite lived. Had he grown long in the tooth, had Bin Laden “lost it”? How surprising that he lived shabbily, in one room, with an ancient television set.

If the journalists had done their homework, they would not have been surprised at all. Bin Laden chose to live in relatively primitive, ramshackle, sparsely furnished settings for a long time. While he still lived in Saudi Arabia, before he had to flee to Sudan and thereafter to Afghanistan, he condemned his wives and children to lives of physical, medical, and psychological hardship. read more…

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Just Who Nominated Tony Kushner WON’T Surprise You

2011 May 15

 

This popular post was first published on May 10, 2011

When I first described the City University of New York as the Communist University of New York, I had no idea how right I was.

It seems that Dr. Michael Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, is one of two professors at John Jay College who nominated Tony Kushner for this honorary degree. Meeropol is a professor of economics.

read more…

Ivy League Lesson Plan: Aspiring Intern Attempts to School Me on Her Third Worldist “Feelings”

2011 May 14

Originally published on May 11, 2011

Life is funny, life is great, but life is also strange, the way it all boils down to one’s views on only two or three subjects, namely Israel, Islam, and America.

Yesterday, I met with a potential intern sent my way by a local area college with whom I’ve happily worked before. She seemed alert, bright, interested, talented and ready to start her (unpaid) full-time summer internship almost immediately. I had already told her to visit my website and to read some of my articles and assumed that she knew my current subjects and views. She did. In fact, on the phone, she went out of her way to agree with me on my critique of the academic feminist view that the Islamic face veil and polygamy are “liberating” for women.

Just after we finished discussing hours and possible projects, she stopped, smiled smoothly, and said this:

“But I have to tell you that I take issue with your position on Israel.” read more…

Pages: 1 2

The Squalor and Sadism that Shaped Osama’s Sons

2011 May 11

Western journalists seem shocked—shocked!—by the apparently shabby day-to-day living conditions of master villain Osama bin Laden. After all, the multimillionaire occupied a villa in an elite region where Pakistan’s military elite lived. Had he grown long in the tooth, had Bin Laden “lost it”? How surprising that he lived shabbily, in one room, with an ancient television set.

If the journalists had done their homework, they would not have been surprised at all. Bin Laden chose to live in relatively primitive, ramshackle, sparsely furnished settings for a long time. While he still lived in Saudi Arabia, before he had to flee to Sudan and thereafter to Afghanistan, he condemned his wives and children to lives of physical, medical, and psychological hardship. read more…

Pages: 1 2

Ivy League Lesson Plan: Aspiring Intern Attempts to School Me on Her Third Worldist “Feelings”

2011 May 11

Life is funny, life is great, but life is also strange, the way it all boils down to one’s views on only two or three subjects, namely Israel, Islam, and America.

Yesterday, I met with a potential intern sent my way by a local area college with whom I’ve happily worked before. She seemed alert, bright, interested, talented and ready to start her (unpaid) full-time summer internship almost immediately. I had already told her to visit my website and to read some of my articles and assumed that she knew my current subjects and views. She did. In fact, on the phone, she went out of her way to agree with me on my critique of the academic feminist view that the Islamic face veil and polygamy are “liberating” for women.

Just after we finished discussing hours and possible projects, she stopped, smiled smoothly, and said this:

“But I have to tell you that I take issue with your position on Israel.” read more…

Pages: 1 2

An Illustrated Guide to Palestinian Jew-Hatred

2011 May 11

The propaganda, anti-Israeli and anti-American filth, coming out of Gaza and the West Bank daily, hourly, year after year, is beyond belief both in quantity but also in quality.

For example, the very gifted Palestinian cartoonist, Omayya Joha, the widow of one Hamas bomb engineer and of another Hamas operative, has remained continually obsessed with the Palestinian “right of return.” The symbol for this obsession is a key (to the house left behind). Five generations later, the descendants of those whose grandparents and great-grandparents fled to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, or Syria, because the Arab League boasted that five great Arab armies were massed against the infidel Jewish state and would shortly vanquish it. However, thereafter, no Arab state (with the exception of Jordan, which has since revoked the citizenship of many “Palestinians”) was ever willing to allow “Palestinians,” i.e. Arabs who fled the land that Israel conquered in a war of self-defense, to become citizens in their Arab, Muslim countries.

But how do I suddenly know all this? read more…

Just Who Nominated Tony Kushner WON’T Surprise You

2011 May 10

When I first described the City University of New York as the Communist University of New York, I had no idea how right I was.

It seems that Dr. Michael Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, is one of two professors at John Jay College who nominated Tony Kushner for this honorary degree. Meeropol is a professor of economics.

read more…

Retirees & Alums Demand Investigation of Growing Anti-Semitic Cancer at CUNY

2011 May 9

An hour ago, a letter was emailed to CUNY’s Board of Trustees. The letter, below, defends trustee Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld and his point of view. This letter will be hand-delivered to every trustee later today. The initiators of this letter have chosen not to release the names of the signatories to the public; the likelihood of hate mail and death threats are too great to risk at this time.

As I knew, the heroic Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld is now being defamed and attacked while the playwright Tony Kushner is being defended and supported.

Kushner is the man who believes that the state of Israel was a “mistake.” He is quoted as having said: “I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened.”  He has also accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing.” read more…

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