Gil Troy in jpost Pleas for Moderation: Israel Under Attack at Universities Worldwide

I ran into Gil Troy (professor of history at McGill University) a while back over another issue and found him to be a sensible guy.

This recent article by Troy makes some common sense points on the needs to repulse the radicals and adds a case for moderation.
Center Field: Committee for tyranny in academe
by Gil Troy

So far, 2007-2008 is looking like another bleak academic year for those of us who want the university to be a fair, welcoming and open-minded oasis where the life of the mind can flourish. In Gaza, Hamas police and their henchmen recently beat professors and students at Al Azhar University, who dared to protest a Hamas rally mourning the death of Hamas's founder. In Great Britain, radical academics are threatening to try boycotting Israel again, despite the financial strain it puts on their union which is supposed to improve scholars' working conditions. In California, an independent task force deemed University of California at Irvine a hostile environment for Jews, with the administration cowed by an aggressive and frequently anti-Semitic Muslim Student Union. And in February, in 20 campuses worldwide, activists spent a week perpetuating the historically inaccurate and libelous comparison between Israel's policies and the old South Africa's systematic, racist apartheid regime.

Despite these assaults on academic freedom and integrity, more of my professorial colleagues are outraged by the failure of the anti-Zionist polemicist Norman Finkelstein to get tenure. Many professors are also furious that some Barnard College alumni vainly tried to interfere in the tenure process of Nadia Abu El-Haj, who sloppily and tendentiously caricatures Israeli architecture as a prop for Zionist colonialism.

THESE TWO cases and others inspired the noble-sounding but deeply biased Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University. This fall, leading scholars from Princeton and Columbia started a petition drive against outsiders imposing "political agendas" at the cost of academic freedom. These external forces, the petition argues in its first paragraph, have defamed scholars, pressured administrators and subverted university governance to achieve their aims. Such assaults violate "an important principle of scholarship, the free exchange of ideas, subjecting them to ideological and political tests. These attacks threaten academic freedom and the core mission of institutions of higher education in a democratic society." The second paragraph then reveals the bias. The petitioners claim that "many of the most vociferous campaigns targeting universities and their faculty have been launched by groups portraying themselves as defenders of Israel." The petition ends by warning of a new McCarthyism, perpetuating a stereotype of embattled liberal academics, and vowing to defend and explain the "importance of academic freedom to a sustainable and vibrant democracy....and more"

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