Academia,  antisemitism

U. Chicago philosopher claims colleague Mearsheimer is victim of “right wing smears”

Brian Leiter is a legal philosopher at the University of Chicago, where John Mearsheimer also works.

He writes on his blog:

Mearsheimer Responds to the Latest Right-Wing Smears on Him… all because he wrote a blurb for a book, which none of the critics appear to have read. What a world.  (I should add I’ve never met Professor Mearsheimer, and I share Professor Chomsky’s skepticism about his and Walt’s thesis about The Israel Lobby, but the hatchet jobs on him and Walt, which continue to this day, are such a travesty for academic freedom and honest intellectual discourse, that I hope readers will look at Mearsheimer’s measured response to the latest smear and make sure to share it widely with colleagues and friends.)

Let’s take a step back.

One University of Chicago professor (Mearsheimer) heaps praise upon the racist writings of an antisemite who argues that Fagin and Shylock accurately represent Jewish evil, and that Hitler will be proved right.

When the first U. Chicago professor is criticised for doing this, another U. Chicago professor (Leiter) steps in, and claims that his colleague is being smeared, using his philosophy blog to denounce all critics of Atzmon and Mearsheimer.

How is it “honest intellectual discourse” to argue that Atzmon is not an antisemite, when he is?

Atzmon’s book is so extreme, that other writers who share the same publishers are openly condemning his writings.

Universities have a duty of care towards their students, and the university campus should be safe for Jews. The University of Chicago is clearly a safe environment for Jewish students.

That said, two U. Chicago professors are now dismissing anyone concerned about the Hitler-sympathising Gilad Atzmon, as anti-freedom and anti-intellectual.

Will Brian Leiter and John Mearsheimer climb down or apologise, and will the University of Chicago issue a statement?

Really, this ought to be a “Frank Ellis” moment for the University of Chicago, and the professors involved.

(HT: Eamonn McDonagh)