Glasgow University recoils from newspaper article ‘anti-Semitic’ label | Glasgow university


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The University of Glasgow has backed down from labeling a peer-reviewed journal article on pro-Israel lobbying “anti-Semitic,” amid criticism from leading international academics.

The university has come under fire for infringing academic freedom after appending a preface in May to the four-year-old. paper, apologizing for its publication and saying it was promoting an “unfounded anti-Semitic theory”.

The university republished the article this week with a new preface, removing the apologies and instead declaring that the newspaper was promoting “what some would consider an unfounded theory” about Israel.

The descent came after Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and foreign policy critic, and George Smith, a Nobel Prize-winning chemist, were among more than 550 academics who signed a petition handed over to Glasgow two weeks ago calling the university to affirm its commitment. freedom of expression.

“[Glasgow’s] untenable position implies that other groups, states and businesses may all be subject to critical academic analysis, but comments on pro-Israel advocacy must be limited, ”they said.

The article, published in Glasgow’s eSharp journal aimed at early-career academics, argued that “a strategy sponsored by the State of Israel [was] focused on monitoring public opinion in the UK ”. He said Israel was seeking to “exploit the resources of grassroots Zionist partisans” to bolster the British government’s support for Israel, and to “discredit and neutralize pro-Palestinian rhetoric.”

Glasgow added the new preface to the article in May, after complaints and an article on the controversy in the Jewish Chronicle.

Professor Jonathan Rosenhead, of the London School of Economics, who helped coordinate the petition, said he welcomed the university’s dropping of the charge of anti-Semitism.

But he added: “The university has completely failed to justify neither its original insulting preface nor the need for any preface. It seems he is desperately trying to both move and stay still; he is trying to effect a change that will defuse academic anger about what he has done without triggering a further outburst of hostilities from defenders of Israel, and it seems entirely possible to me that he does satisfied neither.

David Collier, a pro-Israel activist, who was featured in the newspaper and who posted a rebuttal on its website, called the removal of the apology an “act of cowardice.”

Research in the journal “did not hold up,” Collier said. “It was a piece of gutter and the common thread was that people like me are actually fifth columnists working in the UK for a foreign nation – which is a basic anti-Semitic trope.”

A Glasgow spokesperson said the university is committed to supporting academic freedom, adding: “The university does not agree that the publication of the editorial is detrimental to academic freedom . The article remains on the journal’s website and readers are free to approve or dispute it as they see fit.

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