The New Year Begins

By Steven Plaut

Q: How do you know when America has crossed the line into an oppressive, occupational empire?

A: When DePaul University begins studying it.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at DePaul and its Dean, one Chuck Suchar (a sociologist), have officially announced a “College Theme Series” entitled “Confronting Empire” for the 2005-6 academic year. This is a DePaul faculty initiative involving the participation of various departments and programs throughout the college. The organizers call themselves the “Empire Committee,” sounding like something out of Star Wars. Naturally, the evil empire under examination is the United States.

The “Empire Committee” has invited a Who’s Who of radical anti-Americanism to campus for the series. The roster includes pro-terror communist Tariq Ali, who thinks that 9/11 was caused by American fundamentalism; Bill Goodman from the so-called “Center for Constitutional Rights,” which devotes most of its time to defending the terrorists in Gitmo; and Seungsook Moon from the Department of Sociology at Vassar, who will speak on “Politics of Gender and Sexuality in the Global U.S. Military Empire.” The DePaul “Anti-Empirists” are also featuring an evening of “anti-nationalist” poetry and readings, and an evening of “theater” featuring the play “Guantanamo,” based upon the writings of Gitmo terrorist detainees.

According to the Dean, DePaul hopes through the “Theme Series” to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to engage in a College wide (and broader) conversation about the current state of and developing trends in the global order, not only for the purpose of advancing a theme of great interest to faculty and students but also to significantly enhance the community of intellect and engagement in the University;
  2. to promote a wide range of views and participants in this conversation about empire and opposition in its contemporary and historical dimensions utilizing the increasingly global interests of our faculty and students;
  3. to question the nature of the American role and the role of other nations and interests in the emerging order and consider the forms of appropriate action, engagement and scholarship in light of that assessment.

In other words, it is to be a one-sided campaign of on-campus brainwashing designed to turn DePaul students into Manchurian candidates of radical political correctness. According to one dissident DePaul professor with whom we spoke:

It still amazes me that someone can call a series “Confronting Empire” and believe that it has any pretense of objectivity…The special horror of DePaul is that it is so completely unashamed of its substitution of advocacy for education. I have spent a good deal of time in the last ten years trying to convince my colleagues that they needed to remember that we are a school and not a Marxist sect, a pacifist group, the latest identity fad or what have you. But this is what happens when you have people who are mediocre intellects who think their “correct” political views more than makes up for their intellectual deficiencies. It’s very depressing.

DePaul’s pseudo-academic loopiness is of course not restricted to its jihad against the Amerikkkan “Empire.” DePaul has been at the forefront of the movement to ban military recruiters from campus. DePaul sponsors a group called Cuba Coalition/Junta de Accion Latina, a front for the Communist Party. On August 5, 2004, DePaul sponsored a “Conference on Globalization,” organized by assorted extremist organizations. The “International Studies Program” at DePaul regularly sponsors conferences devoted to Marxism and America-bashing. You would have to look very hard through its departmental webpage to find any course not filled with political indoctrination.

Among those at DePaul building a career on rants against the American “empire” is one Deena Weinstein, Professor of Sociology at DePaul University. Her “specialization” is the sociology of heavy metal rock music. She also is a promoter of Pulp Marxism. She ranted:

The call to empire has come up only because world capitalism has met with opposition from Islamic revolution on the right and the counter-globalization movement on the left. America is at best a would-be empire that is being contested on all sides and could have its pretensions rudely dashed by a deep recession, failures in post-war “nation building,” a pandemic and/or new coalitions of rising military powers. American empire is a very problematic work in progress.

Her course in the sociology department is “SOC 282- ROCK JOURNALISM.” According to the DePaul website, “This course explores the wide variety of rock writings, from album and concert reviews to interviews with musicians. The functions served by the rock press will also be considered as part of the hype machine of the rock industry, as critical information for an audience whose knowledge of rock does not come from formal education.”

Aminah Beverly McCloud, the Director of the Islamic World Studies Program (IWSP) at DePaul, is an apologist for and follower of Louis Farrakhan. Her courses feature anti-American propaganda texts. She was a signatory to a document denouncing the Patriot Act and imploring U.S. authorities to grant Tariq Ramadan permission to enter the country.

Another professor who teaches in the Islamic World Studies Program is Khaled Keshk, who resorts to using biased texts that blithely portray Palestinian terrorism as a justified reaction to Israeli atrocities. Readings in his course on Israel are taken from the late notorious anti-Semite Israel Shahak (who claimed “The Jews worship Satan”).

The DePaul Religious Studies department is full of PC indoctrination courses in “liberation theology,” feminism, and “post-modernism.” Political Science offers “Contemporary Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Politics.” Extremism permeates the entire campus. The DePaul campus library features a large special collection, purchased with campus funds, called the “Venceremos Brigade Research Collection.” It is a mass of pro-Castro propaganda, including many of Fidel Castro’s mind-numbing speeches. The list of materials in this collection alone stretches more than 29 pages.

Another large collection at the library consists of masses of political propaganda produced by Daniel Berrigan, who was once (with his brother) on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. (Berrigan was a close comrade of Howard Zinn. J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to publicly call Berrigan a “traitor.”) DePaul was one of the campuses mentioned by name at a conference sponsored by the American Congress for Truth as guilty of classroom indoctrination in hate.

A few months ago, a speaker of honor hosted at DePaul was none other than Ward Churchill, speaking with open endorsement and support from the DePaul administration. In fact, the administration prohibited the holding of a protest against the Churchill visit by DePaul students. Jonathan Cohen, a math professor at DePaul, described the event in an article for “American Thinker.” Among other notable moments at that event:

The talk turned to his (Churchill’s) favorite bottom line for evil, Adolph Eichmann. He pointed out that even in Israel they were never able to convict him of personally killing anyone…He was a desk murderer. For Churchill the people who were bond traders in the Twin Towers were not innocent because they participated in the corporate system that is responsible for the vast majority of slaughter in the world. Presumably they were desk killers too….

Then the Vice President for Student Affairs, Jim Doyle, got up and made a few comments…Looking over the audience he recounted observing the body language of the audience and noted that it was obvious that some people approved of what Churchill was saying while others did not. Turning his attention to those of us who had not stood or applauded the talk, he admonished us in a scolding manner that we needed to consider seriously the things that Churchill was saying, especially about human rights. Somehow, equating anything Churchill said as advancing the cause of human rights seemed ridiculous, since Churchill had effectively justified the killings at the World Trade Center.

While such wackiness has come to symbolize DePaul’s politicized campus and low academic standards, nothing attests so clearly to the fact that DePaul should not be regarded as a bona fide academic institution than the employment of Norman Finkelstein as an assistant professor of political science. Finkelstein is a pseudo-scholar with an empty academic publication record. His entire career has been devoted to turning out propaganda screeds in the form of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel books and web rants. His books have been dismissed as collections of fraudulent pseudo-research and thinly-disguised Jew-baiting propaganda by nearly every serious historian who has reviewed them. In addition, Alan Dershowitz from Harvard has devoted considerable energies in exposing Finkelstein as a fraud.

DePaul likes to justify Finkelstein’s presence on its faculty as proof of its devotion to academic freedom, protected even for extremist crackpots just as long as they are doing serious academic work. (Never mind that the firing of Thomas Klocek makes a mockery out of such a claim.) But the truth of the matter is that Finkelstein was NOT hired and retained by DePaul because of any “academic research” that he does. Finkelstein does not do any academic research at all. There can be no doubt that Finkelstein was hired precisely because he is an extremist and anti-Semite with no serious academic credentials, one tied to neo-Nazi and far-leftist anti-American hate groups. In short, Finkelstein’s retention at DePaul shows that DePaul has junked all attempts at pretending to maintain academic standards, in its quest to battle the American “empire” and its Israeli ally.

DePaul University hired Finkelstein a few years back to teach courses on the Middle East. A course he teaches in Political Science consists almost entirely of anti-Israel political propaganda written by Bash-Israel radicals and Marxists. (In another course, writings by Noam Chomsky form much of the required readings.) Finkelstein was recruited by DePaul after he had been fired from several colleges in New York, following controversy over his support of holocaust denier David Irving and his abusive attacks against individual Holocaust survivors. While it is possible to find a few other people as openly anti-Semitic as Finkelstein in North American academia, in most cases they have bona fide academic records or were hired before the campus chiefs became aware of their extremist hate activities. Neither was the case with DePaul and Finkelstein.

By the way, when Finkelstein was fired from those New York colleges, it was not because of his political views. He was fired because he has an empty academic publications record. Although a graduate of Princeton (much to the embarrassment of all other graduates of Princeton), Finkelstein has never published any academic research and never engaged in any scholarly inquiry. Not a single paper of Finkelstein’s has been published in a refereed academic journal. Instead, he devotes himself full time to his anti-Semitic propaganda. His curriculum vitae may be viewed here.

The closest Finkelstein ever got to a journal publication was with a couple of propaganda pieces in New Politics, a “socialist” non-academic magazine of far-leftist agitprop, sponsored by – among others – Noam Chomsky. This “journal” states that it “stands in opposition to all forms of imperialism, and is uncompromising in its defense of feminism and affirmative action.” Neutral, scholarly, and objective?

Finkelstein also turns out articles for Palestinian propaganda “journals,” which are less objective yet.

Alan Dershowitz has issued a series of devastating denunciations of Finkelstein, the most recent in response to Finkelstein’s newest anti-Jewish book, Beyond Chutzpah : On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. The title is a backhanded slap at Alan Dershowitz’s Chutzpah. Finkelstein’s basic theme there and in his other writings is that just because someone hates Jews and wants to see Jews killed by terrorists and other murderers is no reason to accuse that person of being an anti-Semite. Finkelstein’s screeds appear on every Holocaust Denial and neo-Nazi web site on earth. Neo-Nazis adore him, proclaiming him the heroic Jew who proves that there was never a Holocaust. He also appears regularly on anti-Israel and anti-Jewish websites from the Left, like Counterpunch.

Dershowitz wrote the following about Finkelstein:

Finkelstein has said that he “can’t imagine why Israel’s apologists would be offended by a comparison with the Gestapo”[1] and asserted that Israel’s human rights record is “interchangeable with Iraq’s” when it was ruled by Saddam Hussein. He has said that most alleged Holocaust survivors – including Elie Wiesel – have fabricated their past, are “bogus,” and that those seeking reparations (from Germany) are “cheats” and “greedy.” Because of my support of Israel, he has compared me to “Adolf Eichman [sic],” and accused me of expressing “Nazi moral judgments.” When challenged to defend his frequent comparison between Jews and Nazis, he has responded, “Nazis never like to hear they’re being Nazis.” He is a popular speaker among German neo-Nazis; one, Ingrid Rimland, whose husband, the notorious Ernst Zundel, wrote The Hitler We Loved And Why, even referred to him admiringly as the “Jewish David Irving” (“Jüdischer David Irving”) – a reference to the British Holocaust denier and Hitler admirer. The comparison is apt because Finkelstein has reportedly praised the Holocaust-denying Irving as “a good historian!” and as having “made an indispensable” contribution to our knowledge of World War II.

Commentary Magazine’s editor Gabriel Schoenfeld has labeled Finkelstein’s views as “crackpot ideas, some of them mirrored almost verbatim in the propaganda put out by neo-Nazis around the world.” Finkelstein has been endorsed by anti-Semites of all stripes.

The Anti-Defamation League considers Finkelstein to be a Holocaust Denier and a neo-Nazi. The Washington Post described him as “a writer celebrated by neo-Nazi groups for his Holocaust revisionism and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany.” Leon Wieseltier from the New Republic wrote, “He’s poison, a disgusting self-hating Jew, something you find under a rock.” Omer Bartov, a noted historian at Brown University, compared Finkelstein’s book to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The eminent historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has dismissed Finkelstein as an anti-Semitic crackpot, as a pseudo-scholar, and as an apologist for the Hamas terrorists. While Finkelstein likes to defend his own anti-Semitic ravings by claiming his parents are themselves Holocaust survivors, Dershowitz recently revealed that Finkelstein’s mother was in fact a collaborator with German Nazis during the war.

Finkelstein has been dismissed as a fraud and an anti-Semite by nearly every serious historian on the planet, even by some far-leftists inside Israel like Professor Benny Morris. Finkelstein’s sources, according to Morris, are “dubious,” and Finkelstein “fails to marshal sources or materials from elsewhere.” The NY Times’ reviewer described Finkelstein as “juvenile,” “arrogant,” and “stupid” (Aug. 6, 2000).

While born to Jewish parents, Finkelstein routinely compares Israelis with Nazis. He is an open cheerleader for the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists. He appeared on the official Hezbollah television station al-Manar, because, he said, “If I’m willing to appear on CNN – the main propaganda organ for America’s terrorist wars – why shouldn’t I appear on al-Manar?” Earlier this year DePaul students heard a speech by Finkelstein, in which he stated unequivocally that the 1948 Arab/Israeli war was an “ethnic cleansing” of the “Palestinians” by the newly created Jewish state. The fact that the destruction of Israel and the eviction of the Jews was the publicly proclaimed goal of the surrounding Arab armies and states that attacked Israel was never mentioned. Jewish community leaders have been increasingly forthright in speaking out against the situation in DePaul, especially regarding Finkelstein.

Finkelstein is coming up for tenure at DePaul within the next few months. The fact that DePaul would even dream of considering him for a permanent academic position there raises serious questions concerning academic standards at DePaul.

DePaul has some bizarre notions about free speech. Its President, Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, publicly defends the employment of Finkelstein as a professor, and defends the operation on campus of a Bash-Israel propaganda show dressed up as an art exhibit. Holtschneider has also publicly celebrated the performance on this Catholic university campus of the “Vagina Monologues.” While pretending that it hired Finkelstein because of his “academic credentials,” which turn out to be non-existent, DePaul administrators revealed their real agenda of on-campus political indoctrination and extremism in the now-famous Thomas Klocek Affair.

Thomas Klocek was an instructor at DePaul who was fired when he was found guilty of expressing support for Israel in a chat outside the classroom. (The proliferation of in-classroom indoctrination by the Left at DePaul has already been noted.) Klocek’s courses have ranged from Critical Thinking, to College Writing, to Languages and Cultures of the World. By all accounts, he was a popular teacher and his classes were always full. After 14 years of continuous employment at the Chicago-based college, Klocek was suspended without due process last September, and then stayed suspended – without pay – after that. Klocek was guilty of nothing more than expressing pro-Israel views in the face of extremist Palestinian propagandists on DePaul’s campus, including students and non-students proliferating the usual lies and canards about Israel and Rachel Corrie.

Despite having an unblemished record during that span, DePaul summarily dismissed Klocek from his duties after the school claimed that he had “insulted” and “demeaned” several Muslim students at a campus fair for extracurricular groups. Klocek had publicly expressed his belief that “strictly speaking, right now there is no such place as Palestine on the map. The Palestinian people were simply Arabs who lived in the West Bank and Gaza.” For our part, we seem to recall that Galileo was also persecuted by Church institutions for daring to tell the truth. (Klocek, by the way, is Roman Catholic).

The university contends that Klocek’s case “is not a case of academic freedom, but a situation of inappropriate behavior outside the classroom by a university employee,” according to Denise Mattson, the university spokesperson. Sure, while another DePaul professor has made a career out of insulting Holocaust survivors, promoting and cheering Holocaust deniers, and serving as the darling of neo-Nazi web sites. The “behavior” of Norman Finkelstein, the most openly anti-Semitic Jew on the planet, does not disturb these same DePaul Inquisitors.

DePaul has a large Muslim student population, as noted by the American Thinker. Klocek’s crime was to answer back to outrageous statements being made on campus by a radical Moslem. Klocek responded that there was a “qualitative difference between the Israel Army targeting known terrorists who have killed their own people…and suicide bombers targeting beaches, cafes, and even Seder dinners, killing indiscriminately Israelis, both Jew and Arab alike.” The suspended professor himself gives an excellent summary of the “Klocek Incident” here.

Since that time, Klocek’s firing has become the foremost symbol of the attempt by DePaul to limit free speech on campus and restrict it only to anti-American and anti-Semitic radicals. Klocek’s plight has become a cause celebre for those seeking to defend free speech and pluralism on American college campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has repeatedly denounced DePaul’s behavior in the Klocek Affair. FIRE has given DePaul University a speech code rating of “Red,” the worst rating possible. (You can read more about this institution’s speech code ratings on this page.) Even some leftists have come out to protest the Klocek firing.

Meanwhile, DePaul University is getting sued by Thomas Klocek. Probably the best weblog that follows and documents the political shenanigans at DePaul is Marathon Pundit at http://marathonpundit.blogspot.com/. (Check for updates on the suit.)

DePaul is an excellent illustration of everything that is wrong in American institutions of higher education in general, and in some church-affiliated schools in particular. In pursuing its crusade to instill campus indoctrination and leftist Newthink, DePaul has abandoned any pretense of protecting academic freedom, while at the same time abandoning any pretense of maintaining standards of academic excellence and scholarship.

If you would like to tell DePaul’s President Holtschneider what YOU think of all this,
his email address is president[at]DePaul.edu . The names and emails of the other
officials are here.

ENDNOTES

[1] Jerusalem Post, Aug 28, 2000