NEW YORK (Sep. 15)
The full Faculty Senate of the State University of New York at Story Brook upheld Monday a finding that one at its professors had not violated academic freedom by teaching a course equating Zionism and racism. This was denounced yesterday by the American Jewish Congress as “base hate-mongering.”
Henry Siegman. AJCongress executive director, said statements defining Zionism as racism by Prof. Ernest Dube, who Siegman said had designed and taught the course, were a “shabby and shopworn technique to delegitimize Israel and provoke hatred and antagonism against the Jewish State,” Siegman added that, “too often, hate-mongering against Zionism is but a thinly-veiled attack against the Jewish people themselves.”
Dube had previously been assailed for his teachings by Governor Mario Cuomo, who issued a statement denouncing the Long Island university faculty for failing to openly oppose Dube’s teachings.
The Governor called the course “intellectually dishonest and pernicious because it is designed to serve as a justification for genocide in the form of completion of the ‘final solution’ through annihilation of the State of Israel.” Dube was exonerated on August 17 by the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, which ruled that the South Africanborn Black professor had not breached academic ethics or the bounds of academic freedom in teaching “The Politics of Race,” It was that finding that prompted the Governor’s denunciation.
The executive committee finding was subject to review by the full Faculty Senate, which upheld the Faculty Senate committee finding.
PERVERSION OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM CITED
Siegman said Dube had directed his students to write a term paper on the theme “Zionism is as much racism as Nazism is racism.”
Commenting that it is often hard to “define with precision when the line between academic freedom and academic abuse has been crossed,” Siegman declared that when members of the academic community engage in “base hate-mongering, that on its face is an exercise totally unrelated to the goals of the academy, then they are engaged in an activity which perverts the principle of academic freedom.”
The faculty investigation was ordered after a complaint was filed with university officials by Selwyn Troen, a visiting professor from the Ben Gurion University in the Negev, in which Troen charged that Dube “employed his position for the propagation of personal ideology and racist biases.”
Troen, who has since returned to Israel, said he was acting on a complaint from a student and submitted Dube’s course materials to support his charge.