In the Globe, Alex Beam raises the delicate question of whether opposition to or support for Israel is the “fault line” dividing professors’ feelings towards Summers.
Beam looks at statements made by Alan Dershowitz, New Republic owner Martin Peretz, and professor Ruth Wisse; all three Summers defenders use language such as “coup” and “putsch” to describe the process of Summers’ ouster.
And he describes an argument between Dershowitz and Randy Matory over Matory’s statement that, as Dershowitz described it, “people who insisted that Palestinians have rights should be quiet.” Matory remembers the exchange differently.
This is an explosive issue, and you can feel Beam treading carefully as he raises it. (He’s careful not to take sides.)
I am surprised that he did not mention Edward Glaeser’s comparison of David McClintick’s II article to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…that seems relevant.
In the conclusion of his column, Beam asks Ruth Wisse if she thinks that anti-Semitism was behind Summers’ resignation. She strongly hints that she thinks the answer is yes.
When I broached the notion of a ”fault line” with Wisse, who happens to be Harvard’s Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish literature, she answered my question with a question: ”That’s not the question that I’m being asked. The question that I’m being asked is, ‘Was anti-Semitism the driving engine of this coup?’ “
Well, what is the answer?, I asked her more than once. ”It’s the point of view of many people who watch these things closely,” she replied. ”It’s something the Globe should investigate.”
Is it really? I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.