The casual observer might assume the Middle East Studies Association's (MESA) recent letter regarding the antisemitic bullying of University of Southern California student Rose Ritch from USC's student government would defend Ritch and applaud USC's president for her insistence that antisemitism has no place at USC. That would be the decent thing to do. Instead, as reported today by Campus Watch at JNS, MESA's leaders "omitted the heart of this sordid tale" and "twisted a university president's words in their quest to delegitimize Israel and its supporters."
The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest academic organization for the field, has a long and ignominious record of defending apologists for Palestinian terrorism and BDS advocates, even as it opposes efforts to stem the rising tide of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses. To use a currently fashionable word, it evinces systemic anti-Israel bias. Even in light of this intolerant record, however, its latest effort to whitewash anti-Semitism at the University of Southern California stands out for its cynicism and deceitfulness.
A recent letter from MESA's Committee on Academic Freedom purports to defend freedom of speech from Zionists' efforts to censor criticism of Israel on campus. In fact, it endorses the "right" of anti-Semitic bullies to drive Jewish students who support Israel from campus leadership. Under the pretense of defending freedom of speech, it seeks to cancel Zionists for their beliefs. In the end, by omitting key facts and attributing demonstrably false motives to others, it succeeds only in embarrassing its authors and further degrading their organization.
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