The New York Post has the gory details:
Yale University last week killed the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplin ary Study of Antisemitism -- the only program of its kind in the country, an academically stellar one-stop anti-Semitism research shop. Worse, it almost certainly did so because YIISA refused to ignore the most virulent, genocidal and common form of Jew-hatred today: Muslim anti-Semitism.
Citing an official review by a faculty committee that it refuses to identify, Yale will shut down the program at the end of next month. The university's top flack, Director of Strategic Communications Charles "Robin" Hogen, wrote an e-mail claiming that YIISA had failed a key test: It was supposed to "serve the research and teaching interests of some significant group of Yale faculty and . . . be sustained by the creative energy of a critical mass of Yale faculty."
Funny, last year, at YIISA's hugely successful inaugural conference on global anti-Semitism, Yale Deputy Provost Frances Rosenbluth said just the opposite, noting that YIISA was "guided by an outstanding group of scholars from all over the university representing many different disciplines," including professors of history, sociology, comparative languages, psychiatry, economics and political science.
Actually, Hogen's e-mail itself contradicts Yale's stated excuse: He notes that "the steering committee did express continued support for the faculty reading group on anti-Semitism." Plus, "institutional support will remain for the group of faculty who wish to continue their scholarly exploration of this important subject."
Which is it -- no faculty interested in studying anti-Semitism, or lots of faculty interest in studying anti-Semitism?
It apparently depends on which anti-Semitism. Christian anti-Semitism is fine; political Jew-hatred, like communist or fascist anti-Semitism, no problem. But get anywhere near Muslim or Middle Eastern anti-Semitism, as presenters at YIISA's conference did last year, and you've crossed the line.
Yale certainly got an earful after the conference. The PLO representative in America scolded the school's president, Richard Levin, complaining of the attention paid to anti-Semitism among Palestinians and Muslims.
"It's shocking that a respected institution like Yale would give a platform to these right-wing extremists and their odious views," PLO "Ambassador" Maen Rashid Areikat wrote. "I urge you to publicly dissociate yourself and Yale University from the anti-Arab extremism and hate-mongering that were on display during this conference."
Other attacks came from left-wing bloggers and anti-Israel bigots, as well as one Yale law student who complained about the conference's potential dangers.
Citing the supposed "dangerous landscape on which American Muslims now dwell" to complain about alleged "anti-Muslim bigotry disseminated under Yale's banner of credibility," Yaman Saleh insisted that "the university cannot preach tolerance and inclusion while simultaneously also providing a haven for bigoted ideas about Muslims and Arabs that often form the basis for Islamophobic sentiment in this country."
Funny, there wasn't a peep about bigoted ideas presented under "Yale's banner of credibility" a year earlier, when a lecturer at Yale's new Jackson Center for Global Affairs took her graduate students to New York to visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad explained to the students that there is no hard scientific proof that the Holocaust happened.
Neither the lecturer nor the center faced much criticism about meeting with a dictator just a few months after he'd murdered, tortured and terrorized his own citizens to hijack an election.
The Jewish Anti-defamation League issued a press release:
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said in a statement:
Whatever purported issues and problems arose regarding the Yale Interdisciplinary Center, what was required was a concerted effort to work out the problems rather than ending the program. Especially at a time when anti-Semitism continues to be virulent and anti-Israel parties treat any effort to address issues relating to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism as illegitimate, Yale's decision is particularly unfortunate and dismaying.
The Yale Center was organized in a serious way and, under the leadership of its director, Professor Charles Small, produced significant programs and research in its short history. If there were problems that the university raised, they needed to be dealt with and resolved. The decision to end the Center was a bad one on its own terms, but it is even worse because it leaves the impression that the anti-Jewish forces in the world achieved a significant victory.
You may remember the flap in which Yale University Press refused to print the Danish Mohammed cartoons in a scholarly book about the Danish Mohammed cartoons. Free speech at Yale increasingly seems to be limited to those who refrain from criticizing Islam.