07 December 2015

London School of Economics removes ‘contemptible’ anti-Jewish blog posting by Western Australian academic

From Jewish News Online (UK), 4 December 2015:

[please note the 9 December 2015 update** below]
Australian academic Dr Sandra Nasr
Western Australian academic Dr Sandra Nasr
The London School of Economics has removed a “contemptible” anti-Zionism article which accused Israel of treating Palestinians as “sub-human” and described Zionism as being based on “superiority and entitlement”. 

The blog post, entitled “Delegitimising through Dehumanisation: Palestinian ‘human’ rights denied”, was written by academic Dr Sandra Nasr and conflated Zionism with apartheid – as well as accusing Israel of oppressing Palestinians with a “colonial plan”. 

It was described as “contemptible” by Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush. 

Dr Nasr – a lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at [the Fremantle campus of] Australia’s Notre Dame University – wrote on LSE’s student-run human rights blog: “Zionism, the ideological project to secure a Jewish homeland, relies upon notions of separateness, superiority and entitlement.” 

She added: “Notions of ‘racial’ superiority are contained in Jewish scriptures and Rabbinical pronouncements have the effect of relegating ‘the other’ to a standard which is sub-human and, therefore, not deserving of the same considerations that are reserved for one’s ‘own kind’.”
Dr Nasr, an Amnesty International activist, also claimed Zionism amounts to deliberate “delegitimising” and “dehumanising” of Palestinians. 

The LSE has since removed the post, which was available for just under 24 hours, admitting its “editorial guidelines were not followed”.

...The Union of Jewish Students branded the now-removed post “dangerous”. It said: “This blog not only uses dangerous anti-Israel rhetoric, but also seeks to undermine passages of the Torah which can easily be seen as antisemitism.

This type of rhetoric only goes to strengthen the concerns that Jewish students have at LSE, especially in light of the recent exhibition by LSE Palestine Society which used graphic imagery to remember the Palestinian terrorists that have been committing dreadful stabbings on a daily basis.

“It is frankly offensive that the writer of this blog has chosen to state that there are “armed Israeli lynch mobs roaming Jerusalem’s streets looking for anyone who looks ‘Palestinian’”, when Israelis are living in fear about where the next stabbing attack is coming from.”
**Update, 9 December 2015:
I wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the Fremantle campus of the University of  Notre Dame Australia and immediately received a considerate reply including the following:
  • The University of Notre Dame Australia has unreservedly stated that the opinions and comments expressed by Dr Nasr do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the University;
  • Dr Nasr’s blog posting was not endorsed or sanctioned by the University;
  • The University expresses its disappointment and apologies that comments causing such offence have been associated with the University;
  • The University is addressing this issue with due seriousness in accordance with its relevant processes; and
  • The Vice Chancellor has welcomed and accepted my invitation to meet early in the New Year to discuss these matters.