To the Editor:
We are writing to express our frustration and concern over the Political Science department and Middle East Centers' co-sponsorship of the event featuring Norman Finkelstein. There is no question, however, that the student groups sponsoring the event have every right to host him.
Our protest regards questions about Finkelstein's credibility as an academic. While these matters are still being sorted out in the academic world, we consider these departments' effort to lend Finkelstein legitimacy as a scholar to be inappropriate and irresponsible. Norman Finkelstein would have us believe that the Holocaust did not occur the way our parents and grandparents-those who survived it-said it did.
We are displeased with the Political Science Department's criteria for co-sponsorship, which, according to its chairman, Avery Goldstein, is a "very low bar." We must provide for diverse opinions to be expressed, but there are some that fall far from the mainstream and do not merit this institution's backing. Those of Norman Finkelstein, like those of David Duke and other Holocaust revisionists, are some of them.
In co-sponsoring Finkelstein's appearance, these departments are harming their own credibility and therefore the credibility of the University as a whole.
Ezra Billinkoff, Shira Goldberg & Max Schapiro
The authors are President and Israel chair of Penn Hillel, and President of the Penn Israel Coalition, respectively