Newsday’s Sheryl McCarthy Weighs in

Sheryl McCarthy, a columnist for New York Newsday, weighs in with this article which…is very balanced but also very cynical. She writes:

When I first heard about the controversy, I assumed that these were hyper-sensitive students who regarded any criticism of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism. I’ve had my own experiences with readers calling me anti-Semitic because I criticized one policy or another of the Israeli government. But after talking with several of the students in the film, I felt that they genuinely felt put down by professors who showed little tolerance for, or willingness to discuss, their opinions. At the same time, I wonder whether these students are letting themselves be used by The David Project, whose mission is to quash any criticism of Israel. Whose intellectual freedom is under attack at Columbia – the students or the professors?

The David Project is not using us–it gave us our voice. The administration did not care before-hand, and as I have noted before it has done nothing in the more than two years I have been here to address the problem. And now, finally, people can hear above the cries of “academic freedom!” by professors that abuse is not protected, and that students deserve academic freedom too.
The one problem I have with the article: she focuses on the professors as if they are simply “Arab Muslims,” and the students as if they are “Jewish.” But that is a false categorization. The professors are professors, no matter their race or ethnicity of religion, and the students are students, no matter that most of them in this case are Jewish. This is a universal issue and should be treated as such, and cases of anti-Semitism should be treated separately.

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