If you can read that piece without feeling profoundly depressed, you're a stronger man than I. I would like to emphasize that a sitting New York Assemblyman claimed that an academic panel featuring several tenured professors has "the potential for a second Holocaust." Roll that around in your brain, a little bit. Let it wash over you. It should go without saying: this is a campaign of hysteria, waged by children, totally contrary not only to the basic concepts of free academic inquiry but to the very meaning of freedom of opinion and expression.
Gawker's Mobute put it best:
The Brooklyn College panel might be great; it might be a fiasco; it might be confused or embrace propositions we think morally wrong. What it's not, right now, is worthy of being tied to big-name, galvanic media-friendly words of outrage like "blackballing" and "racism," while dealing in tropes of academic censorship. But this is par for the course with Dershowitz, the law's most enduring concern troll.What's become clear is not merely that Israel itself is sprinting away from democracy within its borders, as it daily pursues a more deeply and explicitly racist character. It's now undermining democracy in our country, as its many powerful defenders have so distorted the basic ideas of free inquiry that you get madness such as this. Perhaps some heavy-handed bigwigs using their muscle to squash an academic event (and grandstand for the cameras in the process) is a little thing, in the grand scheme. I would call it the subtle undermining of free speech. But that Hagel event-- a public flogging, a ritualistic shaming meant to remind everyone of what our real priorities are-- that's an indication of a corrupted democracy. When a country that ties ribbons around every tree can watch a man be grilled for failing to place Israeli interests ahead of its soldiers and count it as business as usual, something is deeply wrong.
A lot of weird stuff has happened in the past 11 and a half years. But this perhaps the oddest of all, to slowly realize you live in the second most powerful country in the world.