An outspoken critic of Israeli crimes against Palestinians, William Robinson, hits out at efforts aimed at silencing debate on the "Gaza massacre".
Robinson, who is a tenured professor of sociology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, ran the gauntlet after he likened the three-week Israeli war on Gaza to the Holocaust in an email to 80 of his students.
The email, which featured juxtaposed photos of concentration camp inmates and of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip, gave rise to a raging torrent of criticism from American Jewish circles, many of whom accused Robinson of being an "Israel-bashing anti-Semitic".
Robinson, who is slated to be prosecuted for his remarks, hit back at the criticism in an exclusive Press TV interview, saying it would be "absolutely absurd" to equate criticism of Israel with "anti-Semitism".
"This is an obnoxious charge and the Israeli state and its supporters, including the Israeli lobby in the United States has been doing this for quite sometime, saying any criticism of Israel state policy is anti-Semitic, and this is an intentional tactic done to squash any open debate on Israeli policies," said the 50-year-old Jewish professor.
In a recent interview with Counterpunch, Robinson said Abraham Foxman, the national director of a Zionist lobby group, the Anti-Defamation League, is spearheading efforts to have him prosecuted for alleged unprofessional conduct.
Several groups -- including the California scholars for academic freedom and most recently the Middle East study association of North America -- have come to Robinson's defense and have described the prosecution as "a clear attempt to silence the criticism against Israel".
Universities in the United States and Europe, under increased pressure from Jewish circles, have stepped up efforts to prevent high-profile critics of Israel from appearing at universities in recent months.
Norman Finkelstein's sharp criticism of the Zionist occupation of Palestinian lands has left him without tenure in the DePaul University in Chicago despite his exemplary academic record.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to deliver a speech and participate in a question and answer session at the Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland, but the event was cancelled following pressure from the Israeli lobby.
Tel Aviv's latest military incursion into Gaza killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians. The attack inflicted over $1.6 billion in damages on the Gazan economy.
The United States, which claims to be a supporter of human rights but is plagued by the overwhelming grip of the Zionist lobby on politics, has failed to even condemn the aggression. link
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