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American Assoc. of University Professors Takes Incorrect Stance on Anti-Semitism

American Assoc. of University Professors Takes Incorrect Stance on Anti-Semitism

“decision to link the very different topics of antisemitism and critical race theory is misguided and appears to serve an ideological goal the committee should not have advanced”

It looks as though the AAUP took this position in order to accommodate Critical Race Theory in higher education.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

The AAUP Explains Antisemitism and Gets It Wrong

The American Association of University Professors for a hundred years has protected its political neutrality by not taking positions on controversial topics unrelated to academic freedom. Academics on both sides of current political debates could thus see the organization as a defender of the core principles undergirding the academy, not as an advocate for a position that would otherwise divide its membership. But the organization has recently compromised the tradition that has served it well for so many decades. Worse, the very AAUP committee that has guarded and sustained that tradition—Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure—has now taken sides on a hotly contested topic it should have scrupulously avoided: the definition of antisemitism.

For more than a decade, the AAUP has had both national staff and faculty appointees with strong views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but both staff and faculty leaders have largely avoided actions or statements that aligned the organization with their personal political views. No more. In the guise of opposing intrusive legislation, Committee A has needlessly decided to reject the widely adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, especially as it relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a stance completely superfluous to the actual problem of legislative interference. The national AAUP as a result has now officially endorsed the political assault on the IHRA definition.

Committee A’s March 2022 statement “Legislative Threats to Academic Freedom: Redefinitions of Antisemitism and Racism” frames its critique as an objection to legislative efforts to restrict teachings on antisemitism and critical race theory in universities, citing Florida legislation as a key example. The project of protecting the university curriculum from legislative intrusion is both laudable and entirely in keeping with AAUP tradition. We agree with Committee A that state legislatures should refrain from interfering in school curricula at any level, and that the IHRA definition should not be written into law. But Committee A’s decision to link the very different topics of antisemitism and critical race theory is misguided and appears to serve an ideological goal the committee should not have advanced.

The committee inaccurately claims that the IHRA definition “equates criticism of the policies of the state of Israel with antisemitism.” In fact, the IHRA definition unambiguously specifies that criticism of Israeli policies comparable to those levied against other democratic nations is not antisemitic. IHRA only stipulates that demands the Jewish state be eliminated can qualify as antisemitic, depending on the exact circumstances. Eliminationist demands, of course, address Israel’s right to exist, raising issues of self-determination, not its government policies.

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Comments

Excellent article by Nelson and Lubert. I would love to see a third party conduct a survey about how AAUP members really feel about their increasingly cartoonish national organization.

I don’t know who told you that the AAUP has ever been politically neutral, because they’re not. I declined to join AAUP for many years because of their left-wing politics. Our local AAUP chapter is particularly leftist, which includes blaming Israel for everything that Hamas and the terrorists do.