Professor: Israel is the “mirror image of Nazism”

September 30, 2002

CONTENTS

1. "A real Zionist conspiracy"
2. The text of the email from Prof. Sinnott of Manchester, to Prof. Greenblatt of Harvard
3. The text of the original email in June from Prof. Greenblatt of Harvard, to Prof. Baker of Manchester (to which Prof. Sinnott was replying)
4. "Professor's anti-Israeli tirade revives sacked academics row" (Sunday Telegraph, London, Sept. 29, 2002)
5. "Anti-Israel row recurs at college" (Guardian, Sept. 30, 2002)



“A REAL ZIONIST CONSPIRACY”

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to a dispatch I sent in June involving the sacking of two academics from the University of Manchester's Institute of Science and Technology because they were born Israeli.

Another professor at the University of Manchester, Michael Sinnott, is now under investigation for calling Israel the "mirror image of Nazism," stating that "uniformed Israeli troops murder and mutilate Palestinian children," claiming that there was "a real Zionist conspiracy" worldwide, and other alleged anti-Semitic remarks. He made these comments in an email to Harvard scholar Stephen Greenblatt, who is a leading authority on Shakespeare, and president of the Modern Language Association of America.

Prof. Sinniott also wrote: "With the atrocities in Jenin, Israel is about where Germany was around the time of Kristallnacht" and "when the Anti-Defamation League has spent decades harrumphing mendaciously in support of the enantio-Nazis in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, what can it say against the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and be believed? The chickens are all set to come home to roost."

The University of Manchester has announced it will launch an investigation into Prof. Sinnott's remarks.

None of these items have yet to be reported in the American or Israeli media.

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“THE MIRROR-IMAGE OF NAZISM”

Text of email from Professor Michael L. Sinnott

(This email has been authenticated for accuracy. It is reproduced here with permission. I have removed the email addresses of both the sender and recipient to protect their privacy. Sinnott addresses Greenblat as Dr, even though he is a professor Tom Gross)

Dear Dr. Greenblatt,

I am writing to let you know my disgust and anger at your orchestration of a campaign of press vilification of one of my colleagues, and of this institution.

From the sanctimonious claptrap of your "open letter" to Mona Baker, and the three-quarters of a page given to it in the "Sunday Telegraph" of July 7, one would imagine Israel to be an inoffensive Mediterranean Sweden, rather than a v(oe)lkisch polity whose 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.

I have been there, and seen the sly, creeping dispossession of the country's rightful owners; Bethlehem was particularly affecting. 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 thirty 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, and who have a mystical rights over a particular piece of territory. Their founders even had the same taste in music Herzl is said to have had his Big Idea after a performance of Tannh(ae)user.

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.

The Academic Boycott seems an inadequate response, and the press coverage you engineered made it seem not just inadequate, but trivial a bog-standard, posturing spat between literary intellectuals of no consequence. Not so. The boycott was originally proposed by a group of greatly-admired scientists, with the aim of excluding Israel from the EU Framework VI programme of scientific and technological support, worth billions. That minor portion of the Israeli economy dependent neither on Palestinian indentured labour nor on handouts from the US taxpayer is heavily technology-based, and breaking the links with the nearest source of collaboration will do real damage.

I am pleased to tell you that of the 400-odd partners in potential Europe Networks whose names I have seen recently, not a single one was Israeli. I would imagine that Network coordinators, who had to work informally and in a rush to put the Networks together, would simply not contact Israelis for fear of losing some of the European partners they had already recruited. The boycott is working.

There quite a few murderous, ethnocentric and priest-ridden little countries in the world; what makes Israel such a menace is the breathtaking power of the American Jewish lobby, which allows Israel to do what it likes, and makes the US act immorally, and against its own national interest.

In my seven years on the faculty of 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. The ability to dictate the terms in which news is reported was paralleled by an ability to control academic discourse; it is a foolish or brave American academic who dissents from the contention that Jews Are Special.

However, as the 97% Gentile majority in the US starts to enquire, in the aftermath of September 11, why the US is so hated in the Arab world, there are hopeful signs that the lies of the Jewish lobby will be laid bare.

When the bulk of the American population finds it has been duped by a real Zionist conspiracy (or at least a consort of unscrupulous ethnic exceptionalists, acting against the American national interest), all the traditional, and supposedly long-discredited, Jewish conspiracy-theories will gain a new lease of life.

When the Anti-Defamation League has spent decades harrumphing mendaciously in support of the enantio-Nazis in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, what can it say against the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and be believed? The chickens are all set to come home to roost.

Yours, etc.,

Professor Michael L. Sinnott,
Department of Paper Science, UMIST,
POB 88, Sackville Street,
Manchester M60 1QD,
United Kingdom

 

“A RECKLESS ASSAULT ON OPEN INQUIRY AND SCHOLARLY COLLABORATION”

From: Stephen Greenblatt <@>
President, Modern Language Association of America
June 26, 2002

An Open Letter to Mona Baker, Director of the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, University of Manchester Institute for Science and Technology

Dear Professor Baker:

As the President of the Modern Language Association of America, I am writing to deplore your action, reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, to dismiss two scholars, Miriam Shlesinger and Gideon Toury, from the boards of The Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication and Translation Studies Abstracts, for the sole reason that they are Israelis. In my view and in the view of the executive committee of the MLA board, you have committed a reckless assault on open inquiry and scholarly collaboration.

Scholarship depends upon the free and open exchange of evidence and argument. The pursuit of knowledge does not suddenly come to a halt at national borders. This does not mean that serious scholars must be indifferent to the world's murderous struggles, but it does mean that they are committed to an ongoing, frank conversation. The conversation often includes serious, passionate disagreement: "the history of scholarship," as Charles Evans Hughes remarked many years ago, "is a record of disagreement." But truth-seeking depends upon dialogue. The advancement of knowledge depends upon more people around the table, not fewer. Excluding scholars because of the passports that they carry or because of their skin color, religion, or political party corrupts the integrity of intellectual work.

It is particularly grotesque, of course, that the journals you run concern translation and intercultural communication. By discriminating against scholars simply because of their nationality, you have, in our view, done a lasting disservice to this work and harmed your journals, perhaps irreparably. But the chilling shadow that the dismissals cast extends well beyond the issue of translation. An attack on cultural cooperation, with a particular group singled out for collective punishment, violates the essential spirit of scholarly freedom and the pursuit of truth. Such an act is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

Fortunately, the whole scholarly world does not share your notion of how to foster intercultural communication. Earlier this month in Istanbul, a group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians and literary scholars, sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, sat down together to discuss the nature of textual interpretation. Their quiet action holds infinitely more hope for the future the future of scholarship and the future of peace than a crude and embittering policy of exclusion.

 

“A BIT LATE IN THE DAY TO INVOKE 19TH-CENTURY JEWISH STEREOTYPES”

Professor's anti-Israeli tirade revives sacked academics row
By David Harrison
The Sunday Telegraph
September 29, 2002

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".

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."

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".

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."

Last 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.

 

ANTI-ISRAEL ROW RECURS AT UMIST

Anti-Israel row recurs at college
By Peter Hetherington
The Guardian
September 30, 2002

Another professor at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology is under investigation for alleged anti-Israeli views after sending an email to a US-academic critical of Zionism.

The university, Umist, has said it is angry over reports that Michael Sinnott, a professor of paper science, described Israel as the "mirror image of Nazism" in an email to a Harvard scholar.

The latest row follows a move two months ago by Mona Baker, director of translation and intercultural studies at Umist, to dismiss two Israelis from two of her journals in response to calls for academics to boycott Israel. Her action provoked an outcry.

At Harvard, Stephen Greenblatt, a leading authority on Shakespeare, described them as repellent and dangerous. Professor Sinnott sent him an email expressing anger at Professor Greenblatt's orchestrating a "campaign of press vilification" of one of his colleagues and of Umist.

Prof Greenblatt said he was surprised by the "vehemence and extremism" of Prof Sinnott's email.

Umist said it would launch an investigation.

Prof Sinnott said the email was written in the heat of the moment. He regretted any offence it had caused.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.