If you are a professor at Fordham University, you'd better think twice about standing up for academic freedom or Israel.
Doron Ben-Atar learned the hard way. Ben-Atar opposes the American Studies Association's call for an academic boycott of Israel, and he pushed Fordham's program to sever ties to the ASA. He further vowed to "fight" Fordham's American Studies program until it "took a firm stand against bigotry" by rejecting this boycott.
It was a fair response. The boycott is a hot political issue, and Fordham's refusal to cut ties with the ASA is fair game. But instead of answering Ben-Atar with reasoned arguments, Fordham's American Studies director, Michelle McGee, filed a complaint. Soon Ben-Atar found himself investigated by Fordham for harassment and, incredibly, "religious discrimination."
The irony is that when the politics are right, McGee is all for full academic freedom.
For example, she defended the "academic freedom" of another prof, Steve Salaita, who lost a University of Illinois job offer after making vile tweets such as this one, posted after three Israeli teens were kidnapped: "I wish all the f- - - ing West Bank settlers would go missing."
Fordham says its investigation is "confidential" and it can't comment on specifics, but it noted that ultimately "Ben-Atar was not sanctioned nor reprimanded."
In fact, the university shamefully put him through the wringer essentially for an opinion. Even his alleged "exoneration" included a stern warning that his behavior could lead to claims of "intimidation or harassment."
This is intimidation, plain and simple. Sad to say, it's not confined to Fordham.