SOME RED, BUT TRUE BLUE
In “Morality Gets a Massage,” your May 28 editorial criticizing the Administration’s focus on abstinence over AIDS prevention, you proclaim, “Nine states have now turned down the tempting pot of abstinence money, including ‘red state’ Montana.” Montana has two Democratic US senators. Our governor and four or five statewide elected officials are Democrats. The State Senate (26 to 24) is Democratic. Montana’s secretary of state, State House of Representatives (50 to 49) and US House member are Republican. Color us purple (deep purple) if you wish. Red we ain’t.
‘DARLING OF THE ANTI-ISRAEL’ CROWD
I don’t recall any outrage from the hard left when Noam Chomsky led a campaign of outsiders against Henry Kissinger’s efforts to receive a tenured chair at Columbia University. Nor do I recall outrage when Norman Finkelstein tried to get NYU Professor Burt Neuborne fired and disbarred. But now suddenly when a darling of the anti-Israel hard left, Norman Finkelstein, is up for tenure it becomes “virtually unprecedented,” in the words of Jon Wiener [“The Chutzpah Industry,” May 21], to send unsolicited letters to DePaul University. Nor does it matter to Wiener that my letter was in fact solicited, in writing, by the former chairman of DePaul’s political science department.
I strongly believe that Norman Finkelstein does not deserve tenure at any university, any more than David Duke or Ann Coulter do. His writing is not scholarship. It is entirely ad hominem. Those who disagree with my assessment have exercised their freedom of speech by signing petitions and writing unsolicited letters to DePaul. I will continue to exercise my freedom of speech and urge others to do likewise. Freedom of speech is not only for the hard left and not only for Norman Finkelstein. It goes both ways and neither Jon Wiener nor the DePaul Faculty Governance Counsel will stop me from exercising my academic freedom and my right of free speech.
Jon Wiener writes that the “political science chair” contacted Peter Novick of the University of Chicago concerning allegations of academic misconduct against Norman Finkelstein. It’s a minor point, but Professor Novick was not contacted by the then-serving department chair but by a former chair acting as an individual member of the faculty. As chair of the department since 2005 (before the start of the Finkelstein tenure process), I have never contacted professors Dershowitz or Novick on this or any other matter.