Moonlighting: Non-Specialists in the News
The Next Piece of Housekeeping for DePaul? [on Norman Finkelstein]
by Steven Plaut
Well, DePaul fired Norman Finkelstein for pseudo-scholarship and bigotry and also canned Finkelstein's ally Mehrene Larudee, who failed to get tenure as an economist, having tried to get it mainly on the basis of her Marxist screeds.
But if anyone thinks that DePaul is out of the woods and has put a stop to radical faculty misrepresenting their ideological propagandizing as research and trying to get tenure for political propagandizing and indoctrination, think again.
A case in hand is Matthew Abraham, who teaches English at DePaul and is a very active apologist on behalf of Norman Finkelstein. Abraham has a long article in the pro-jihadist website Counterpunch this week repeating all the myths the left has concocted about the (third or is it fourth?) university firing of Professor Finkelstein.
Abraham describes Finkelstein as "the most heroic critic of U.S. and Israeli policy in Palestine ever to set foot in the U.S. academy." DePaul's having finally stood up for real standards of scholarship is described by Abraham thus: "By capitulating to the threats, antics, and pressures of Alan Dershowitz, the Israel Lobby, and its numerous affiliates, DePaul has compromised something so integral to an educational institution's mission, that once so compromised, it is impossible to regain."
He then makes baseless charges against his own school: "DePaul University is more vulnerable than ever to the next assault upon its integrity and autonomy-no matter how many millions of dollars have poured into its coffers because of the Finkelstein tenure denial, we are vulnerable." He adds: "Will those faculty associated with, and standing in support of Finkelstein, be the next targets of DePaul's administration? If so, I would certainly be a likely target."
Well, we would like to take Abraham up on the challenge and urge DePaul to take a close look at this fella's academic record, which can be seen here. Abraham holds a PhD in English from Purdue, where he wrote a dissertation about "The Rhetoric of Resistance," in other words a propaganda tract for the "revolutionary" left. Before that he completed an MA thesis in Arkansas that was a sycophantic celebration of the Maoist "philosopher" Michel Foucault.
Three of the five journal articles he has published are similar paeans to the Israel-hating Edward Said. At least one of them promotes Palestinian terrorism (which he calls "resistance"). Lest there be confusion, it is Said's politics that attracts him to Abraham not his literary criticism (which is also heavy on the dogma side). In other words, his entire corpus of "scholarly" work consists of exercises in "revolutionary" politics.
Besides his journal articles, he has written some other predictable political screeds (e.g., about "racism"), including a number of ecstatic reviews of Norman Finkelstein's anti-Semitic oeuvre (e.g. ). Naturally, Abraham just loves Finkelstein's poisonous rantings and can't praise them enough.
One of Abraham's reviews is sufficiently hostile to Jews that it has been posted on a Holocaust Denial web site. A sample of Abraham's own rants "America's Zionist Jews" can be found here. All this from someone who professes to be a professor of English Literature.
If DePaul is serious about raising its academic standards, a good place to start would be the Department of English.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.Note: Articles listed under "Moonlighting: Non-Specialists in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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