An influential University of Pennsylvania professor - who boasts that he advised US administrations how best to pressure Israel - refuses to comment on charges that he is using his position to "persecute" a pro-Israel junior faculty member. The latter, however, sticks to his guns.
Arutz-7 reported earlier this month that U-of-P assistant professor Francisco Gil-White alleged that he was threatened with the loss of his job for espousing pro-Israel views. Arutz-7 then solicited the response of the accused Professor Ian Lustick, and a counter-reply from Prof. Gil-White.
Prof. Lustick wrote, "I have always admired Francisco for his eloquence, energy, and intelligence. These are qualities to be praised regardless of whether, at any particular time, I happen to agree with what he is saying... The one concern I have about the piece on the [Arutz-7] site is that although Francisco seems to find fault with one particular senior professor at Penn, the name of that person is not included in the article. Only my name is mentioned, which might lead readers... to believe I am the person Francisco is blaming."
Commenting on Professor Gil-White's assertions that his pro-Israel articles had rubbed his superiors the wrong way, Professor Lustick replied wrote that he had "no recollection whatsoever" of previous writings on Israel by Gil-White. Asked if he cared to comment on Professor Gil-White's allegations that Lustick was working to have him fired, Lustick said, "[the above] will be the only comments I'll be offering."
Gil-White dismisses Lustick's denial. In a letter to Arutz-7, Gil-White writes that Prof. Lustick, a top intelligence advisor to the U.S. government, was personally involved in the process that may lead, in coming days, to Gil-White's firing.
Excerpts from his letter:
"U. of Penn. Prof. Ian Lustick asserts that he doesn't remember praising my writings at a time when they were anti-Israel. This creates the impression that he hasn't been involved in the current attempt to prevent my reappointment at the University of Pennsylvania. But in fact, he has been deeply involved in these attacks, though he prefers to operate from behind the scenes.
"Ian Lustick claims not to remember, but he did indeed praise my writings when they were anti-Israel. This is not too surprising, because my views at the time were derived largely from Ian Lustick. Recently, I made a 180-degree turn on the Arab-Israeli dispute because, after studying the facts, I realized Lustick was wrong about the Middle East. In Lustick's world, the Arab-Israeli conflict is fueled by supposed Israeli fanaticism and supposed oppression of local Arabs. In the real world, the Arab elites, with much help from Western Establishment forces, have been trying to build a worldwide anti-Semitic movement against the Israeli Jews for 55 years.
"...The Solomon Asch Center has an email list, to which I posted the draft of my article, 'Antisemitism, Misinformation, and the Whitewashing of the Palestinian Leadership' [in which I attacked the PLO and not Israel]... The man whom the psychology department had officially appointed to be my 'mentor' among the tenured faculty, Paul Rozin, then wrote to reprimand me: '...Numbers of balanced and informed colleagues think you are totally one-sided.... Ian [Lustick] knows orders of magnitude more than you do about Palestine, and thinks you are a biased observer.... I, for one, would be happy to mediate a meeting between you and him.... [A]lmost everyone is irritated by you, and wants to hear no more... Let's talk soon. I think you are on your way to committing academic suicide.'
"Scholars don't 'mediate' factual disputes; mediation occurs in power relationships. ...Well, I am a junior faculty member, and my contract was about to come up for renewal. Paul Rozin is the tenured professor assigned to coach me through the process of reappointment; Ian Lustick is a tenured professor, Associate Director of the Asch Center and top level government adviser. It was obvious that Rozin was offering me the 'courtesy' of mediating a meeting where I could retreat from my politically unacceptable (and unaccepted) pro-Israeli conclusions, or else I would be 'committing academic suicide.' ...Rozin would not have tried to set up such a meeting unless he and Lustick had discussed it.
"Prof. Lustick's CV reports that he was an intelligence officer for the State Department in 1979 and 1980 and that since then he has been a consultant for the CIA, National Security Council and National Security Agency and a lecturer at the National Security Council. Ian Lustick is a powerful operator. He is both a propagandist, frequently interviewed by the leading media, where he routinely blames Israeli Jews for the fact that Islamist terrorists kill Israeli children, and a senior intelligence adviser to the US government. He helps the government formulate plans to force Israeli Jews to succumb to the terrorist PLO - so that Israel would in effect become a new Warsaw ghetto - and he uses his status as a supposed expert who is Jewish, and his high-powered connections, to sell an anti-Israel line to the public.
"...In an interview he gave in March 2002, Lustick stated [that in 1989, he] 'was called by the first President Bush to the White House for a closed discussion, "What should we do about this?" And for an hour and a half I got to talk to the president and his top advisors, and helped, I think, to convince them to give the kind of speech that James Baker gave to AIPAC, which led to the loan guarantees suspension, which led to the victory of the Rabin government, I believe - Rabin over Shamir in the 1992 elections - and then led to Oslo.'
"Clearly, in a discussion concerning what to do about Francisco Gil-White, between Paul Rozin, the academic who made the mistake of recruiting me to Penn, and Ian Lustick, the high-level government insider who boasts that his advice to presidents initiates horrific anti-Semitic policies, it would be Lustick who called the shots."