I’ll be delivering the first academic paper I’ve ever written for a conference, this weekend at UC Berkeley. It’s the ninth annual Islamophobia conference, titled The Road Travelled. Ironically, it will be held in the same academic building on campus which housed the department in which I pursued my PhD. I haven’t been back in 35 years!
The conference is sponsored by the Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project at the University; and the Center for Ethnicity and Racism Studies at the University of Leeds. My paper is, Global Islamophobia: the Israel Connection. It will focus on trends within Israeli society and the American Jewish community which align with the interests of the global Islamophobia movement. If you are in the Bay Area or know anyone who is, please invite them to my panel, which will happen Sunday afternoon.
The papers will eventually be published in the Islamophobia Studies Journal. I may be able to make my paper available before that. See this space…
Colin Wright says
Congratulations! I’d be there if only I could.
Itsik Heyman says
There is no islamophobia. The term should be religion-phobia, and it is not a phobia, it is a justified fear. Christians have forgotten what religion is all about by definition – it is not that sweet modern church which acknowledges the absolute soperiority of the state and its laws. Religion is about soverign power which competes with that of the state and its law. The church, unlike the other Abrahamic religions, has surrendered to the state, and not willingly but due to it’s believers who forced it to do so. This is what must be done to all religions. As long as muslims find their religion superior to the state and its laws, it must be condemned and oppressed.
Richard Silverstein says
Nonsense. During the Middle Ages this was true. Today, it’s true in theocracies like Israel, Saudi Arabia or Iran. But it is certainly NOT true in western democracies.
Your views indicate either that you are living in the Middle Ages; that you live in a current theocracy; or that you’re ignorant.
Jews don’t tell Muslims there’s no such thing as Islamophobia just as Muslims don’t get to tell Jews there’s no such thing as anti-Semitism. So don’t do it.
Richard, it will be good to see you in person.
On Saturday morning, just a few blocks away from the conference, I’ve got a ticket to see Nadine Strossen being interviewed by Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of Berkeley’s law school, about “Resisting Hate with Free Speech”:
Last year, Dean Chemerinsky published a book on this same topic, and gave some public talks about it, in which he claimed that
“When England adopted its first law prohibiting hate speech, the initial group to be prosecuted under it was a Zionist group. The prosecutor said Zionism is a form of racism under a United Nations resolution, so advocating for Zionism was hate speech.”
One video of this statement is here, 49 minutes in, where you can also read my comment calling him out on it:
( Also here, 27 minutes in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ11OScYqvA
and here, 27 minutes in: https://www.cornell.edu/video/erwin-chemerinsky-free-speech-on-campus )
The problem with Chemerinsky’s claim is that there is no evidence for it. His book says that the British Race Relations Act “was used against those who advocated on behalf of Israel”, but does not say that anyone was prosecuted; it cites an article by Nadine Strossen that doesn’t mention prosecution, either. The dean of the law school at Berkeley is spreading a false story of Zionists in Europe being prosecuted for promoting racism, and he neglects to tell the true story of anti-Zionists being prosecuted and even convicted for promoting racism elsewhere in Europe. Dean Chemerinsky is Jewish and has a strong reputation as a liberal, but I think this episode gives an indication of where his priorities lie (using made-up evidence to present an image of advocates for Israel being persecuted), and also what someone in his position can get away with at Berkeley.