Posted Sunday, September 29, 2002

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The firings provoked an international outcry. Prof Greenblatt, a world authority on Shakespeare, described them as 'repellent', 'dangerous' and 'morally bankrupt'. --The Daily Telegraph, London, which seems however to be campaigning for the firing of an academic critic of Israel
[All images, from the West Bank and the Warsaw Ghetto, added by this website]

More fine, unbiassed reporting from Britain's premier daily newspaper . . .

London, Sunday, 29 September 2002


Professor's anti-Israeli tirade revives sacked academics row

By David Harrison

A SECOND academic at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist) is being investigated for alleged anti-semitism. Umist acted after The Telegraph passed it an e-mail from Michael Sinnott, a professor of paper science, in which he described Israel as "the mirror image of Nazism".

David Irving comments:

IN the good old days of journalistic ethics, newspapers reported news -- they did not make it. There is something distinctly unsavoury about a newspaper of the standing of The Daily Telegraph (and old Morning Post) furtively "passing" a letter written by an academic, making a perfectly justifiable comparison between Ariel Sharon and the Nazi methods, to that academic's employers.
   It seems that the letter's recipient, a Professor Greenblatt (with all the professional detachment that name implies) decided that the correct scholarly course for him was to go yelping to a British national newspaper about this not unwarranted criticism of Israel.
   The Daily Telegraph has now stooped so low in its kowtowing to its moneyed friends that it is close to the famous gutter into which, so legend has it, runs all the printer's ink after it is sponged out of recycled newsprint.
   Lord Camrose and the Berry family must be turning in their graves.

Related file:

Our dossier on some of the origins of anti-Semitism

University officials said they were "angered" by the anti-Israeli tirade, which claimed that there was "a real Zionist conspiracy" worldwide. Two months ago The Telegraph revealed that Prof Mona Baker, the director of Umist's centre for translation and intercultural studies, had sacked two scholars for being Israeli. An internal inquiry into her actions is continuing.

The latest anti-Israeli comments were made in an e-mail to Prof Stephen Greenblatt, a Harvard scholar who had highlighted Prof Baker's decision to dismiss the Israelis from two of her journals.

Prof Baker said that her decision to sack Dr Miriam Shlesinger and Prof Gideon Toury on the ground of nationality was part of an academics' international boycott of Israel.

The firings provoked an international outcry. Prof Greenblatt, a world authority on Shakespeare, described them as "repellent", "dangerous" and "morally bankrupt".

Prof Sinnott, who is described as head of paper science research and whose recent work concerns the "binding of linked cellulose binding domains to transformer papers", was infuriated by Prof Greenblatt's comments.

He sent Prof Greenblatt an e-mail expressing "my disgust and anger at your orchestration of a campaign of press vilification of one of my colleagues, and of this institution".

He said: "[Israel's] atrocities surpass those of Milosevic's Yugoslavia. Uniformed Israeli troops murder and mutilate Palestinian children, destroy homes and orchards, steal land and water and do their best to root out Palestinian culture and the Palestinians themselves."

Prof Sinnott went on:

"With the recent crop of atrocities the Zionist state is now fully living down to Zionism's historical and cultural origins as the mirror image of Nazism.

"Both ideologies arose in the same city, within 30 years of each other, and are both based on ideas of a superior/chosen people whose desires override the rights of the rest of us.

"Zionist atrociousness has been slower to develop, but victims learn from their victimisers, and, with the atrocities in Jenin, Israel is about where Germany was around the time of Kristallnacht."

West bank

Prof Sinnott condemned "the power of the American Jewish lobby" and added that in seven years he spent working at the University of Illinois at Chicago, "I was always amazed that the Israeli atrocities for which my tax dollars were paying were never reported in the American news media which were either controlled by Jews or browbeaten by them in the way you have just exemplified".

Soldier aiming

He concludes: "When the bulk of the American population finds it has been duped by a real Zionist conspiracy . . . all the traditional and supposedly long-discredited Jewish conspiracy theories will gain a new lease of life."

Warsaw childLast night Prof Greenblatt, the president of the Modern Language Association of America, said he had received "scores of letters on this subject, mostly supportive" but was "surprised by the vehemence and extremism" of Prof Sinnott's e-mail. "It was over the top and not the sort of letter I would expect from a university professor. Clearly he has a problem with Jews."

Prof Greenblatt, who has never met or corresponded with Prof Sinnott, added:

"I would have thought that it was a bit late in the day to invoke 19th-century Jewish stereotypes and talk of an international conspiracy.

"I have tried hard not to make this an issue about Jews or Israel. The question I asked originally was whether an academic boycott made any sense. Academics should not be fighting because somebody is Israeli or Iraqi or any nationality or colour or creed."

A Umist spokesman denied that the university was a hotbed of anti-Israel extremism. "Umist does not have a view on the Middle East situation," he said. "The e-mail has left us very angry and we have launched an investigation."

After consulting university officials, Prof Sinnott attempted to distance himself from the views he had expressed. He said: "The e-mail was a mistake. It was written in the heat of the moment after reading what I considered to be an unfair article about the sackings in The Telegraph. I deeply regret sending it and regret any offence it has caused."

Prof Baker declined to comment pending the results of the investigation into her actions.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2002.


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