As controversy swirls around David N. Myers, the anti-Israel bigot wrongly put in charge of the Center for Jewish History, the organization and its allies have closed ranks tightly around him.
The Center boasts multiple pieces written in his defense. Its centerpiece is what it bills as a, "Statement of support from Jewish Studies scholars around the world."
It features prominent signatories such as Ymach Shmo and the overrated anti-Israel activist, Deborah Lipstadt,.
But yes, quite a few Jews read that first name and did a double take. Yes, it's there.
Right there, between Amy Hill Shevitz, Loyola University of Chicago and David Shneer, University of Colorado is... Yimach Shmo, Duke University.
For anyone not too familiar with what Yimach Shmo means, here's a brief dictionary definition.
"may his name be erased", appended to the names of evil people such as Haman and Hitler"
It's the sort of thing that Jews familiar with Jewish culture and religion would get. That clearly leaves out
1. The employees and leadership of the Center for Jewish History, including David N. Myers
2. The "Jewish scholars" who signed the petition in support of Myers
But that's not surprising. They're not Jewish scholars. They're left-wing activists.
The signatories include Hasia Diner. It's not hard to see why. Her views are rather close to those of Myers.
"I am always suspicious of the way 'anti-Semitism' is used—it is an easy, convenient label used to end a conversation or analysis instead of exploring what is really going on. This does not mean that there is not a thing called anti-Semitism, but I think it is profoundly overused," Hasia Diner said.
"BDS is labeled anti-Semitic. Why is it that somebody can not take a political, moral, ethical stance and say, 'I think the policies of the Israeli government are reprehensible and the only way to push Israel to change is to boycott their products'? I am not sure why that constitutes anti-Semitism, but they are immediately tarred with that feather. Among other problems, this means it is impossible to have a conversation about Israel or BDS because one is accused of being anti-Semitic."
Diner is also on a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Center for Jewish History. So you can see how the Center ended up with Myers.
This is, according to the letter, supposed to be a list of "all scholars in the field of Jewish Studies". (The sort of scholars who think Yimach Shmo teaches at Duke.) And some of their claim to scholarship is equally shaky.
It's not clear what the scholarship of Janice Kamenir-Reznik, a former lawyer turned activist, involves. Rachael Kamel is listed only as an "independent scholar."
There's Mostafa Hussein of USC, who does have a clear degree. On the other hand his project seems built on deconstructing the Jewish claim to Israel. Don Schwartz appears to be listed twice.
And there are a whole bunch of grad students.
I still suspect Ymach Shmo knows more than they do.