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Bruce Kesler
Cal State’s Chutzpah « Back to Story

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Thought experiment-

imagine an anti-Palestinian website sponsored by a UC Berkeley, UC Irvine or Cal State Northridge professor.

How long would it last?
Dear R. Samuel Davis -- Yes, I did misunderstand your point, so I apologize. What you said about the apparent blindness of the left to the treatment of homosexuals could actually be broadened to the status of women in the Muslim world (need we ask?) and from there to ask why the left is in a perpetual state of outrage over Israel, right up to the point of questioning its very right to exist, while it never raises the same questions about upsetting actions in conflicts involving the US (how many Iraquis and Afghanis have we killed?) or other countries. Why aren't they trying to delegitimize the right of China to exist because of its behavior in Tibet, or of Russia because of its actions in Georgia or Chechnya? I don't blindly defend all that Israel does -- I am quite certain that the IDF, like every other army on earth, has, in "the fog of war" committed atrocities. (I also know that the IDF takes special care to avoid and punish such behavior in its citizen army) However, why is Israel under fire from the left, and other countries not? The same hypocrisy among the leftist critics of Israel that you discuss extends to the issue of "proportional" reaction to attack by the Israelis. How hard to you kick back at someone who kicks you first? That's a hard one to measure, isn't it. Well, this could go on and on. I have many examples, and I appreciate your comments. Frankly, I would suggest that everyone who has commented on this site read A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism by Phyllis Goldstein and Harold Evans or A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich. While not all criticism of Israel stems from anti-semitism, let's not be so PC -- a huge amount of it does, including that which comes from what someone else commenting here called "self-hating Jews"
Glenda -- Here are some suggestions about people to whom you can voice your complaints -- both at CSUN and to your local, state, and federal representatives:
You can send complaints to the CSUN Board of Trustees and to the CSUN Media Relations Director at the following addresses Contact for CSUN Board of Trustees Director of Media Relations and New Media President’s Office at CSUN (new, interim president is Harold Hellenbrand) I received a form response from this office which led to a non-existent URL.
If you search the CSUN website (just google CSUN) you will find others who should probably be inundated with mail about this situation.

I also wrote to Governor Brown, Senators Pelosi and Boxer, my local congressperson and representatives in Sacramento, and to the House Committee on Education. I did so because these people are all in charge of either state or federal funding that goes to the CSU system. A flood of letters can perhaps motivate some action on this issue.

Here's a sample of the letter I sent, with variations, to all of the above:

Sample Letter to legislators

Dear ________): Please direct your attention to Bruce Kesler, "Cal State’s Chutzpah: A hypocritical university goes silent while a math professor spouts anti-Israeli politics," City Journal California, 29 December 2011
As a former academic who is old enough to remember the bad old days when professors were required to sign loyalty oaths, I support both academic freedom and the highest possible funding for our educational institutions. But I object to activities like those of professor David Klein of CSUN whose state-funded website is little more than one long anti-Israeli, anti-semitic rant, with little or no foundation in fact or the kind of rational discourse one expects from academics. He calls Israel "the most racist state in the world," an "apartheid" state which engages in "ethnic cleansing." These emotionally fueled comments, which ignore even the definitions of words like "apartheid" indicate his lack of the kind of intellectual clarity one expects of professors at institutions of higher learning. There is no place for such ideologues in our state-supported institutions. Were he to spew this kind of nonsense about women, homosexuals, or any other racial or ethnic minority, he would be immediately sanctioned. How is it that only Israel and Jews are exempt from the regulations on even-handedness and the ban on hate speech that apply elsewhere on our campuses? David Klein is free to stand on a soapbox anywhere he pleases, or to blog on a private site and spew whatever falsehoods and hate speech he wishes. That's free speech. But he is NOT free to do so on a publically funded website, although neither CSUN provost Harold Hellenbrand (who has forced the removal of noxious posts by other professors on the CSUN site) nor CSUN president Jolene Koester have censured his hate speech. Again, I object to my tax dollars going to fund people like David Klein, and as Governor of California (or my state representative in Washington --- etc.) , so should you.

Self-hating Jews are always the most despicable and virulent anti-semites. I feel sorry for David Klein.
Nomie: I think you misunderstand my comment, which was admittedly a bit off topic. My point was double standards, and how the left chooses its causes based on criteria that have nothing to do with reality.

For example, the left (and others) condemned South Africa's apartheid system, and makes various claims about policies in Israel, which you correctly addressed, with the left trying somehow to equate Israel's current policies and the policies of the former South African regime.

However, the left says not a word - nothing - NOTHING - about the brutal repression and execution of men in Iran and other Muslim countries for the "crime" of homosexuality. As for the reasons for this see my comment below.

Too bad these cowardly antisemites manage to hide behind a facade of respectablity. Of course, we all know that a positive position of Israel would be condemned by this same university administration.
What's the email address to the school so that we, the general public can let them know how we feel about this?
As a former academic myself, I am offering a lesson for Professor David Klein, whose website forum is particularly noxious, since as a professor of math he is presumably trained in separating facts from feelings, and because he is feeding at the public trough and using MY tax dollars to spew forth false and incendiary claims about Israel.

The following facts are also intended to enlighten some of the misguided commentators on Bruce Kesler’s article who apparently have no idea of the definition of “apartheid” or, it would seem, about much else that happens in Israel -- Elizabeth Carson, banh, B. Samuel Davis, and especially Dorothy Keil come to mind. All of the above may benefit from learning a few real facts that come from on the ground observations in Israel and actual statistics, as opposed to emotional, uninformed views. While it is possible to have differing views on the tortured and troubling situation in the Middle East, it is impossible to have a rational discussion with people who ignore facts and speak only from their misguided feelings.

First, before you hurl the term “apartheid” so carelessly, find out what it means, instead of using it mindlessly as an empty and derogatory epithet, devoid of meaning other than “I hate you and everything you do and stand for.” The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."

No one in this exchange has been specific about “inhuman acts” the Israeli people or government have engaged in against Israeli Arabs, but their treatment and its results are inconsistent with such a claim. (When it comes to “inhuman,” one only has to refer to the photographs of the 1,000-plus Palestinian prisoners recently released in exchange for IDF Sargeant Gilad Shalit – the former group husky,healthy, well-fed and exercised, the beneficiaries of family visits;and the latter pallid, half-starved, and barely able to stand after 5 years in solitary confinement without even the benefit of a visit from the Red Cross. "Inhuman" or "Inhumane" behavior is hardly exclusive to any ethnic or national group ) But I digress.

Let’s look at the facts:
• Israeli Arabs vote and participate actively in the political system. 63 Israeli Arabs have served in Israel’s legislature, the Knesset, starting with the first election in 1949. At present there are 14 Israeli Arabs in the 120 member Knesset, including two former Deputy Speakers and a former Minister of Science, Culture and Sports. Israeli Arabs also actively participate in the country’s independent judiciary and Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab who graduated from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has served as a member of the Israel Supreme Court since 1993.
• It is true that per capita income among Israeli Arabs is far lower than that among Jews, but this is also true of ultra-Orthodox Jewish families that have similar characteristics (lower average age, single breadwinner and large families). The same disparity of income exists between ethnic majority and minority groups in the United States and Western Europe. For example, the unemployment rate for Jews in Israel in 2003 was about 9%, compared to 16% among Israeli Arabs. At the same time, unemployment in Britain among the general population was 5%, but was 15% among Muslims.
• Israel provides free public education to Jews and non-Jews alike. Underclasses are less well educated in every country, but in Israel the average number of years of schooling for Israeli Jews is 12.6 and 11.2 for Arabs, a gap smaller than the gap between the general population and Muslims in every European country. And Israel has worked hard to reduce this gap. The gap between the average number of years of schooling for Israeli Jews and Arabs dropped from seven years in the early 1960s to 1.4 years today. No European country can show similar data for narrowing the educational gap between Muslims and the rest of the population. The rate of illiteracy for the general population in Israel is 2.9% and 6% among Arabs, but the illiteracy of the general population in Lebanon is 13.5%, Syria 20.4% and Egypt 28.6%.
• Israeli Arabs have full access to the country’s health care system, which is why the life expectancy of Israeli Arabs is 76 years, compared to 73 years in Syria, 71 in Jordan and less than 70 in Egypt.

I would not claim that there is no discrimination against Arabs in Israel. Many Israelis are racist and the Jewish majority has made irritating and painful mistakes in dealing with the Arab minority. Nor would I claim that there is no discrimination against Blacks in the United States. We have also made mistakes in dealing with our minorities, as have many other countries. Both the UA and Israel are working to improve. But neither country practices Apartheid, and the Israeli Arabs have no greater desire to emigrate to an Arab country than American Blacks have to emigrate to an African country.

There is a reason that the percentage of immigration among Israeli Arabs to other countries is one of the lowest in the world, despite the fact that the government does not prevent them from leaving. They are voting with their feet, and their feet remain planted in Israel.

To shout "fire" in a crowded theater is not a legitimate expression of the right to free speech. To describe Israel as an apartheid, colonial regime is no less irresponsible or dangerous. It misleads the ignorant into believing they are "progressive" because they hate Israel and oppose apartheid. The simple fact for anyone who cares about facts is that blacks and whites live side by side in Israel and Arabs have greater civil rights in Israel than in any ARAB country.

It's pitiful that academia today is staffed by so many half-wit bigots who remain convinced that the Palestinians are an oppressed colonized third-world people--even though this stance has zero relationship to reality.
Thanks for setting the record straight on this matter. It's disturbing to realize that there are so many hateful bigots on the university's payroll who are teaching our kids that Israel and the Jews are the source of all the world's ills. These "professors" are ignorant and dangerous ideologues, and it's good that people are starting to notice how outrageous this situation really is.
As a professor emeritus at the University of Kansas and a long-time supporter of Israel, I find nothing objectionable about Klein's website or Kesler's critique of the university.

My position is a simple one: the answer to objectionable "speech" is not less speech but more speech. Counter Klein's position, argue with him, but don't suppress him. Anti-gay and anti-woman's rights speech are common on campus, especially among some Christian campus religious organizations. They are free to do so and exercise that right. I do not like their positions, but I don't see anyone surpressing their speech or their right to advocate their positions.

I believe that is a false argument. If it happens, it should be equally condemned.

Judging from other comments, Kesler is speaking to the choir. He could do a greater service by engaging the issues of what kind of speech is appropriate on campuses and how we should judge what is appropriate. Again, my position is that we should follow consitutional precedents on free speech--the first amendment and judicial precedents.

Typical leftist hypocrisy.

The best example of such hypocrisy is the left's lack of any reaction to the Muslim world's position on homosexuality. You can still see videos of executions in Iran of men for the "crime" of homosexuality. Other Muslim countries have the same penalty and also execute people for this "crime."

The reaction from the Democratic left (both are the same these days) to these executions? Silence. Yes, Iran (and other Muslim countries) gets a pass - there is little if any condemnation from the left of the executions in the Muslim world of people for being something which is considered a basic human right in Western nations. The silence is as deafening as it is inexplicable - at first blush that is.

Why the silence from the left on something which would appear to be at least on the par with South Africa's racist apartheid policies? It's not hard to figure out why - it goes like this - Iran hates the United States, the left also hates the United States, ergo Iran can't be all that bad - and to criticize it would be to somehow support the United States, which no one on the Democratic left would ever do.

Plus the left believes that homosexuals are repressed here as well, that both countries are more or less the same as to the treatment of gays.

So...Iran and other nations who murder homosexuals for the "crime" of homosexuality get a pass - you hear NOTHING from the left on this. The hypocrisy is nauseating - all the more so since Columbia University, the same place where an anti-illegal immigration speaker was literally tossed off a stage, actually gave the head of Iran a forum in which to speak and even applauded parts of the speech(!).

Look, we all know that it takes an ENORMOUS amount of intellectual dishonesty, arrogance, hypocrisy, and plain stupidity to be a Democrat. Maybe that's why when you actually argue these issues with someone on the left, all you get back is rage and generalities. (I've given up on it). I don't know, maybe these people at some deep level are brainwashed, they hear the same thing all the time from media and those around them - nothing else accounts for the sputtering or silent stares of rage when you get into debates.

But for sheer naked hypocrisy this issue takes the cake.
Why must taxpayers fund such crap?
Patrick MacKinnon January 02, 2012 at 1:00 PM
I can only expect that Saudi money is finding it way to such venal
individuals in some roundabout way.
Absolutely disgraceful that someone on the public salary trough should be allowed to spread such poison. I will spread this info about csun far and wide. I think the state should reconsider its funding for that school unless this "professor" is silenced or relegated to the trashbin of failed academics!
I'd like to hear Victor Davis Hanson's take on the officially condondoned bigotry running rampant at Cal State. He was a Professor at Cal State Fresno and has related many incidents like this one.
Correction. The last sentence should read: Of course, part of the problem is that genuinely talented instructors in the hard sciences are hard to find so the colleges have indulge the kooks.
I speak as a retired Political Science instructor and find this behavior disgusting and an abuse of "academic freedom." We had a number of hard science and math instructors who took up class hours talking about their political views. Now it was bad enough that their views could be characterized as falling into the "keepers of odd knowledge" category, but they were being paid to teach hard science and math and these individuals were depriving disadvantaged students of that instruction that those students needed to succeed in competition with other students. I would go so far as to call it stealing the taxpayers money. Of course, part of the problem is that genuinely talented instructors in the hard sciences so the colleges have to indulge the kooks.
Israel is just as guilty as any other country of it's own racism, corruption, greed, and state propaganda.

Here in America, we've been muzzled from speaking the truth for what, 40-50 years? Thanks the B'Nai Brith, ADL, AIPAC, America has been made fearful of looking cross-eyed at the state of Israel and how with the butt-kissing assistance of our Evangelicals in the NeoCon party, political correctness has stifled the debate.

Mr. Klein is on to something, and now that we've pissed off the entire Muslim population by turning them into the Boogey Man to scare America into supporting perpetual war and a modern Crusades, the debate will FINALLY take place.

Israel, as our ally, needs to OWN UP to her responsibility as a nation. Israeli foreign policy needs to include true diplomacy with neighbors. OF COURSE, comments like these make me an ANTI-SEMITE... but if calling for less bullshit from the Middle East war process and more of a peace process, I'll take the label in stride.

Propaganda involving Israel has been too deep and for too long. Time to open that window of transparency before we end up in our own NeoCon/Media Theocracy much like we see in places like Saudi Arabia.. where ONE religious sect decides national policies..
Seems to me Bruce Kesler's objections to the decision of CSUN president Jolene Koester are disingenuous

Kesler's condemnation of what he terms the "David Klein matter" has everything to do with academic freedom and his desire to limit it to silence political views on Israel on which he does not agree.

Somehow or other university talking heads feel, like movie stars that they have a superior view on politics and life style. They are probably the most cloistered people in the world and the most arrogant.
For gawd's sake, don't you know that CALIFORNIA public employees are free to make their own rules and act any way they choose.

They are protected by one of the strongest and most powerful unions in the country.
Israel is not an Apartheid state. If this professor insists that it is, then this professor is lying. Same goes for blog commenters who insist that Israel is an Apartheid state. So, Dorothy, you are a liar.

Sure, you can call it an opinion all you want. But my opinion of your opinion should be allowed to the public discourse, no? Because you sure sound like a candy tossing ingrate, dear. As in, when Jews are murdered while eating pizza at a Sbarro in Jerusalem with their families at midday. Or when 86 elderly Jews are targeted at a hotel in Netanya during a Seder. Go call me a racist for supporting Israel's right to exist. I will in turn call you a cheerleader for murder since you have decided it's more than okay to kill, kill, kill whenever it suits the passion of the sweet and innocent factions of the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

How about you take your blinders off, Dorothy. Publicly declaring yourself more human than Zionists is a joke.
I bet a professor could indeed have a page about opposing abortion or illegal immigration. That is very different than encouraging illegal activity, which is what was at issue with Ng's page.

Also, Israel is a state, not a race or ethnic group. While much that is said against Israel is in fact motivated by anti-Semitism, it is not necessarily so. Opposition to Israel can be rational - and educational.

A look at Klein's page belies the impression generated by this article that his page has nothing about his field. Most of the page is about his field and teaching. He maintains a section about various political and historical issues, and this one about Israel is one of those sub-pages.
This site always disingenuously conflates opposition to Israeli Government policy and anti-semitism. It also appears to have a problem extending the right of free speech to people that it doesn't agree with.
Dear Mr. Kesler,
It's clear that people like you will defend the apartheid regime until the last breath, if you believe in democracy you should also leave space for peaceful and non-violent people like esteemed professor David Klein to denounce ethnic cleansing and massacres executed by Israel, if you want to keep your eyes and ears shut go ahead but don't expect that others are available to sell their humanity to save an apartheid and colonial regime, Stay Human.
It's obvious that a complete reform of the university system is in order, but where would you even start. It will never happen anyway, let oligarchy rein supreme.
You know, sometimes I wonder why these establishments of yours are still called Universities – they became an exact copy of our old brainwashing “Agitpunkts” (sites for Communist agitators) – the only difference is that in the USSR these agitators were called commissars, and in yours – professors. Well, with that wide Government educational net it’s only natural, isn’t it? Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia
Luckily, only those not bright enough to get into UC go to CSU, so Klein's indoctrination goes only to the hireling class anyway; same for the faculty.

Perhaps some Irgun-legacy people can STERNLY speak with the schmuck.

The issue is not whether faculty have free speech rights. The issue is whether they can use taxpayer and student dollars to promote their views in classrooms and on campus media.
I am getting sick and tired of university political bias. If you send your kids to a CalState or UC campus, it's the same as if you sent them to a brainwashing camp run by the Democratic Party. There is absolutely no political diversity in our state universities.
since 1973 saudi arabia, the oil cos. have donated millions to leading universities, harvard, georgetown, columbia etc and in turn whether actively or implicitly have gained control of Mid East Depts and many other programs. The universities are in fact for sale
This incident is inexcusable but tragically common
This outrage is business as usual throughout the CSU system.