LSE: academic freedom means the right not to allow any conflicting voice to those who seek the destruction of Israel
This is an update to the long-running saga of the LSE's Arab funded anti-Israel propaganda unit (also known laughingly as the "Middle East Research Centre") and the many incidents of anti-semitism that have resulted from the climate of Israel hatred it propagates. This is a Centre which literally wiped Israel off its own map of the Middle East, bars Israeli students from its scholarships and is at the forefront of the academic boycott against Israel. In the most recent episode the LSE Director Prof Calhoun tried to cover for the Centre by saying it did not discriminate against Israel and Israelis since it held events discussing Israel and even employed a person 'with an interest in Israel'. My letter pointed out that the events he referred to universally called for the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state and the person with an 'interest' was an anti-Zionist Jew who could accurately be defined as an antisemite since she had also lobbied for Jews in the UK to be banned from carrying out one of the basic tenets of their faith (circumcision).
As Calhoun did not reply to my letter I sent the following reminder yesterday:
Dear Prof Calhoun
I have not had any response to my letter of 15 November which exposed the ludicrous inadequacy and errors in the response you made to my serious complaints.
I would be grateful if you could at least acknowledge the concerns I have raised, especially as the LSE was again in the news last week for an anti-Semitic article published by The LSE Centre for Human Rights:
The response I received today confirms that the LSE's official position is to allow and encourage discrimination against Israel and to refuse any attempt to balance the arguments.
Thank you for your email of 15 November addressed to Professor Calhoun. I am sorry for the delay responding to you.
I do appreciate that you feel extremely strongly about the issues you raise and that you have not been satisfied with what you have heard from us so far. I am afraid, though, that we must recognise that academics including those in senior positions frequently espouse causes in which they believe. As a liberal university, we don’t think it would be appropriate to infringe upon their right to do so, however controversial some views may be in some quarters.
I should point out that Professor Calhoun never claimed that the instances we cited earlier were uncritical of Israel.
We are legally required to defend academic freedom and to promote freedom of speech within the law. This does not extend to a requirement to present all sides of an argument on every occasion on which one arises. However, our guidelines for those chairing public meetings make clear that chairs should remain neutral, that they should ensure that they take questions from a balance of those in the audience and that an opportunity is provided for the views of the speaker or speakers to be challenged. Also, the encouragement of free debate is fundamental to teaching and other academic activity at LSE.
I am sorry that you do not have a good opinion of LSE at present.
I will now be writing to Lord Myners Chair of the LSE's Board of Governers, since I note that one of their responsibilities is "provide the Council (the LSE ‘Board’) and the Director with insight as to how the School is perceived nationally and internationally."
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