Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What censorship looks like

Clemens Heni (disclaimer: friend of mine) was asked to join the board of a new Journal for the Study of Antisemitism (JSA). He did, and their first issue contained an article of his criticizing the way the Berlin Center for Research on Antisemitism equated antisemitism with 'Islamophobia,' a supposed trend which any number of studies have demonstrated is a red herring.

According to Clemens, the editors received what they characterized as mafia-like threats. As a result, they dismissed him from the board. Daniel Pipes, who was also a board member, submitted his resignation in response to their decision (here are excerpts from his letter).

If you think the dispute about the importance and nature of 'Islamophobia' is a tempest in an academic teapot, think again. If the alleged trend has a solid basis in reality, why the need for threats? And why the need for censorship? Why not encourage a robust debate - and in the process raise the profile of a new publication?

1 comment:

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