Campus must confront anti-Semitism and bigotry
Regarding 'Swastika, broken glass discovered in Dod Hall' (Dec. 8):
I am deeply disturbed by this incident, both as a Jew and as a member of the Princeton community. This use of Nazi imagery is demeaning to victims of the Holocaust and constitutes a threat to the student and the community at large. The swastika is an especially offensive act symbolic of the attempted extermination of an entire people which can easily contribute to violent deeds even in Princeton in the year 2004, where our community still struggles with pockets of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.
This act of hate, if left to fester, could undermine the trust and confidence that binds people together. In the face of hate, we need to take well-considered action; the true character of a community is not measured by the fact that hate incidents happen but by how the community responds to them. In that vein, I would like to take the lead and propose that we address the closeted anti-Semitism that we all know is a part of Princeton culture by bringing it out into the open and speaking frankly on the subject before this sort of incident becomes commonplace. Dylan Tatz '06 Chairman, Princeton Committee on Prejudice
Public servant profs should be valued, not scorned
I am saddened to read of the whispering campaign that has targeted independent voices in Princeton's Department of Near Eastern Studies, particularly professor Michael Doran ('NES Department faces warring factions,' Dec. 8).
NES stands out among its peers because it actually — and somewhat incredibly — boasts a diversity of viewpoints on the modern Middle East. That Doran has the courage to challenge the reflexively anti-American and anti-Semitic "Said-ian" views that dominate most Near Eastern studies faculties with new ideas grounded in strategic insight and careful research proves his value. It also attracts record numbers of students at a time when Princetonians, and Americans in general, are deeply concerned about the Middle East.
In their rage at Doran's capacity for independent thought, his critics betray their effectively fundamentalist intolerance for any opinions but their own.
When senior faculty at Princeton and other universities anonymously impugn the scholarship of an outspoken and junior colleague, whispering, "we don't want him" to the 'Prince' it is worse than unprofessional. It is poisonous to the free exchange of ideas and an alarming attempt to enforce ideological conformity over the field of Near Eastern Studies through the political perversion of the tenure system. It is unworthy of Princeton.
But most disturbing is the not-so-cleverly concealed charge that Doran is tainted by his service as an adviser to the U.S. government on Middle East policy. Doran's patriotism is doubtless anathema to the whisperers arrayed against him. Yet his willingness to apply his scholarship to solving the deadly challenges facing our country and its allies in the Middle East should make us proud. It is richly in keeping with the tradition of "Princeton in the nation's service." Carlos Ramos-Mrosovsky '04
Doran one of best in NES department at Princeton
As a recent undergraduate in Princeton's Program in Near Eastern Studies, I was disturbed by the suggestion that that the "conservative political leanings of the department's two most vocal professors — Bernard Lewis, an emeritus professor, and Doran, an assistant professor — shun other political voices in Princeton NES." While I was at Princeton, I took almost a dozen NES courses and had the privilege of studying under a number of the department's distinguished faculty members espousing a diverse range of historical approaches and interpretations of some of the region's most controversial events. Among them, Doran was one of the most open to contrasting viewpoints; our course readings and syllabi are the best evidence of that.
Doran's views on the issues of the day certainly set him apart from much of his own department, let alone the notoriously slanted Middle Eastern studies establishment. Yet, the very fact of him being vocal in making his views known to a wider public does not distinguish him in any genuine way from the rest of the faculty. Rather, while Doran was expressing his opinions on war in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the nature of the Saudi regime in such prestigious outlets as "Foreign Affairs," The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, other professors — and there are a surprising number of them between history and NES — were busying themselves with their public support for petitions encouraging the University to divest from Israel and participating in campus rallies against war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is clear that those cowardly forces in the history department, who have chosen to remain anonymous in the recent 'Prince' article rather than debate Doran face to face, are jealous of their colleague's success — in his ability not only to make his scholarship relevant to the United States government at a pivotal moment in American engagement in the Middle East, but in attracting undergraduates in droves to his thought-provoking courses on the region. Sam Spector '03
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