Tony Greenstein | 23 February 2012 | Post Views:

Rossman-Benjamin: A Good Example of the Low Academic Standards of US Zionist Jewish-Holocaust Studies Departments

It would appear that I trod on some sensitive toes when I wrote an Open Letter to one Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the Zionist academic, who has been trying to ban a somewhat more distinguished academic, Professor Ilan Pappe, from speaking at different campuses of the California State University.

Ms Benjamin’s response, which is basically a cut and paste job comprising various Zionist libels, constitutes a veritable mine of borrowed quotes, plagiarisms and non-sequitors. It’s hard to believe that Rossman-Benjamin is even an academic, let alone a professor. But then she is a professor Jewish studies, a discipline wholly taken over by Zionist zealots for whom propaganda and academia are inseparable.

Rossman-Benjamin reminds me of the court academics who prostituted themselves in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. They advanced all sorts of rationalisations and justifications for the Nazi regime. All their talents were put to use for the purposes of flattery and self-aggrandisement. No principle was left untouched. The best example of this was Martin Heidegger, who became Rector of Freiburg University on April 21, 1933 and joined the Nazi Party on May 1st. On May 2nd the German trade unions were abolished and their activists consigned to Dachau and Sachsenhausen concentration camps.

But at least Heidegger was a distinguished academic, notwithstanding his acceptance of the Rectorship from the Nazis and his membership of the Nazi party. Tammi Rossman-Benjaim is noteworthy only for her hectoring tone, her McCarthyite attempt to ban academics more distinguished than herself, and her reliance on crude, cut and paste propaganda. It is little wonder that this area of academia known as Holocaust, Jewish or anti-Semitism Studies has come under fire. At Yale University the Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism was closed down by the institution because, in the words of Zionist moonbat Deborah Lipstadt, it had mistaken advocacy for academia.

Below is her response to my Open Letter and below that is my rebuttal. For a ‘Professor’ to have to resort to this type of hatchet job, demonstrates that the quality of teaching staff on these ‘anti-Semitism’ courses is indeed low. Ross-Benjamin is concerned that academics with ‘long histories of anti-Israel activism’ [i.e. they don’t agree with her] have invited Professor Ilan Papper to give a talk. Her concern is with the use of tax-payer’s money – a favourite of the racist right. So my question to her, so far unanswered, was if she would object to pro-Israeli speakers who were invited by the likes of herself. So far there is no answer.

But my mistake is that ‘You have not come clean about yourself and your long-standing campaign to harm the Jewish state and the Jewish people’. But it’s a matter of common knowledge. As RB admits, that ‘You are a well-known, out-spoken Jewish anti-Zionist living in the UK’ So why the need to come clean about something that is well-known? Logic clearly isn’t the flavour of the month with our police state academic. I am quite upfront in saying that the very concept of a ‘Jewish’ state (does the state pray, put on tefillin, say kaddish? Or merely hit Palestinians over the head with batons if they protest too much) is anathema to Jewish traditions and an exercise in the most virulent racism and ethnic cleansing.

And note the sloppy reference to harming ‘the Jewish people’ whomsoever they are. And how do I harm them? By opposing a Jewish state!

But RB is not above a little low lying – apparently I support Hamas (a favourite charge of Zionist hasbarists these days), I endorse a massacre of members of AIPAC; invoke the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and claim that “Zionist” historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims. And to cap it all, call Israelis “Judaeo-Nazis”; and stating unabashedly: “Yes, I want Israel destroyed.” Well at least the bit about Judeo Nazis is correct so I guess our distinguished ‘professor’ has got 1 out of 6 right, not bad in the circumstances but still not enough to pass one of her undergraduate programmes! Or is it?

Apparently I’ve hijacked ‘the academy’ (which one?) and the whole Jewish community is outraged (what by the invitation?) ‘as long as anti-Semitic bigotry is permitted to flourish on CSU campuses.’ Presumably the invitation to an Israeli Jewish academic teaching at Exeter University is an example of such bigotry! Anyway you can read the foaming-at-the-mouth rant of Rossman-Benjie below. Logic, academic argument, debate – is impossible with zombies like RB.

However if RB is merely a fruitcake, then the activities of the various Zionist lobby and pressure groups like CAMERA are not.

In the 1960’s Hubert Humphrey, Vice President to President Lyndon Johnson, was called a ‘police state Democrat’. He was second to none in his anti-communism and support for the Vietnam War. At his nomination at the 1968 Chicago Convention the riot cops under Mayor Daley battoned all protest off the streets. Rossman-Benjamin is Humphrey’s equivalent. The kind of academic who would feel at home in a police state, which is why she defends Israel so avidly.

Dear Mr. Greenstein,

Thank you for your email. I hope you won’t mind if I respond with some pertinent information.

You have claimed that we are disingenuous and dishonest in our request to California State University administrators to rescind all University sponsorship and support for Ilan Pappe’s lectures on 3 CSU campuses, but we have always been forthright about our primary concern: Pappe’s talks are being organized and promoted by a dean and two professors with long histories of anti-Israel activism, who are clearly using their University positions and taxpayer-supported University resources to promote their own personal political assault against the Jewish state, all under the mantle of “academic freedom.”

Indeed, if there is any disingenuousness and dishonesty here, it comes from you. You have not come clean about yourself and your long-standing campaign to harm the Jewish state and the Jewish people:

You are a well-known, out-spoken Jewish anti-Zionist living in the UK.
You are a founding member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which launched the “Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign” in 2001, and you recently co-founded the organization “Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods.”
As a member of the trade union “Unison,” you successfully argued for a boycott of Israeli goods.
You recently participated in the unprecedented disruption of an Israeli Philharmonic concert in London, which you compared to protesting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1930’s.

You have gone on public record: expressing support for Hamas; endorsing the massacre of members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); invoking the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to describe the behavior of American Jewish supporters of Israel; claiming that “Zionist” historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims; calling Israelis “Judaeo-Nazis”; and stating unabashedly: “Yes, I want Israel destroyed.”

Ironically, your letter claiming that “academic freedom is never an abuse” is itself further evidence of the extent to which this time-honored professorial privilege has been distorted and perverted beyond all recognition by individuals like yourself, who have hijacked the academy in order to advance their anti-Semitic assault on the Jewish state.

After reading your letter and mine, hopefully the CSU and California state leaders who have been copied on our exchange can better understand why the Jewish community is outraged and will not remain silent as long as anti-Semitic bigotry is permitted to flourish on CSU campuses with the sanction and approval of CSU administrators.


Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

Dear Ms Rossman-Benjamin,

I understand you are a ‘professor’ at California State University. Let us hope that the research and academic writing which you normally undertake is more rigorous than the ‘cut and paste’ letter which you have just sent to me. At least I assume that you can tell the difference between hasbara (propaganda) and academic writing.

From what you have said logic would suggest that if a speaker is invited by academics who are known for their support for the Israeli state and its works then you will be equally vociferous in opposing their speaking on campus? In particular one would expect you to have no hesitation in writing to all and sundry about an abuse of public money. If this is not the case then you are a rank hypocrite.

I note your allegation that I have claimed that ‘”Zionist” historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims;’ and various other insinuations (because people like you prefer to insinuate rather than to quote chapter and verse) that I am anti-Semitic, if not a holocaust denier. Perhaps the best response to your McCarthyite smears come from Jamie Slavin on the Board of Deputies of British Jews site:

‘I stumbled across Tony Greenstein’s blog this morning. Tony is an anti-Zionist, Jewish member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC). Whilst his views on the situation in the Middle East are a complete anathema to me, to his credit, he has led the opposition within the PSC against rising levels of antisemitism.’

I am of course an anti-Zionist for the same reason I am an anti-racist. I wouldn’t expect a junk ‘academic’ like you, whose only expertise lies in cutting and pasting quotes from unattributable sources, the purpose of which is to deceive and mislead, to understand that. From what is reported of the US Republican nomination contests, lying and defaming seems to be standard practice amongst US politicians these days.

Because, in the words of the old saying, a lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on, I shall respond briefly:
i. I do not support Hamas politically. They were Israel’s creation not mine. They are what is called ‘blowback’. There is not one article on my blog which supports Hamas, quite the contrary. There is Hamas Attack on NGOs Resembles That of Israel, Hamas Prevents Palestinian Students Studying Abroad amongst others. But a tame spoonfed ‘academic’ like you who relies on propaganda organisations for her sources isn’t going to know that.
ii. Being a plagiarist is far easier, of course, than finding out the information for yourself. However in most academic institutions and departments, plagiarism is enough to get you dismissed. Clearly the Jewish Studies department has different standards but next time when you decide to ‘borrow’ from someone, at least try to acknowledge your sources, in case you end up copying someone’s mistakes.
iii. You are quite correct that I co-founded Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. So what? We boycotted South African Apartheid and before me people boycotted Nazi Germany (though the Zionist Organisation opposed and broke the boycott). Given their own experiences of anti-Semitism, Jews should be the first to oppose racism when it is carried out in their name.
iv. Yes I am a member of the largest trade union in Britain, Unison and I spoke in support of the successful resolution calling for a Boycott of Israeli goods. Most unions in Britain and Ireland take the same attitude to Israel that we took to Apartheid (South Africa). What is so difficult to understand about the fact that people object to the Jewish National Fund/ Israeli Lands Administration refusing to lease 93% of ‘national’ land to non-Jews/ Arabs? It smacks of the colour bar. If a Christian National Fund did the same to Jews in the USA I suspect that you would be the first to cry ‘anti-Semitism’.
v. Yes I participated in the successful disruption of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra in London. Whilst Palestinians face the 45th year of occupation and whilst even Palestinian children are subject to brutalisation, torture and dehumanisation, then yes, were are doing the same as we would hope others would have done when the Berlin Philharmonic and its conductor Furtwangler toured in the 1930’s.
vi. I have endorsed no massacre of members of members of AIPAC, a loathsome organisation dedicated to promoting war and bloodshed. I stated that, like Dylan in Masters of War, I would lose no sleep if they were to be vaporised. A very different thing though the difference probably escapes an academic as discerning as yourself.
vii. It is a lie that I have ‘invoked’ the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to describe the behavior of American supporters of Israel. What I have said is that their conspiratorial methods of operating mimic the caricature of Jews in that notorious forgery.
viii. I have made no claim that “Zionist” historians have inflated the number of Holocaust victims. What I have said is that a debate on numbers, be it 5 or 7 million is irrelevant to the fact of the holocaust. But what is one lie amongst many?
ix. Yes I did call the orthodox settlers in the Occupied Territories [not a blanket ‘Israelis’] “Judaeo-Nazis”. I was quoting the late and distinguished philosopher Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, himself an orthodox Jew. Professor Leibowitz was of course, unlike you, a distinguished scholar with an international reputation. But perhaps you have another way of describing the Chairman of the Yesha Rabbinical Council Rabbi Dov Lior, who said that a Jewish fingernail is worth more than a thousand Palestinians or when Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira writes a book, Torat HaMelech in which he writes
“Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder”
“There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.” Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, Torat Ha’Melech (The King’s Torah)
I suggest that instead of hounding Israeli academics who disagree with you, that you devote a little of your time to opposing the poisonous and deadly racism which comes from the Orthodox religious settlers in particular. And speaking of racism why have Zionist ideologues always spoken about Jews outside Israel in similar if not worse terms as the anti-semites? For example Pinhas Rosenbluth, the first Israeli Minister of Justice went so far as to dub Palestine “an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin.” [Classic zionism and modern anti-semitism: Parallels and influences (1883-1914), Studies in Zionism No: 8]

As you say, after reading my response to you, it is to be hoped that those politicians and academic administrators in CSU and California will better understand why McCarthyite apparatchiks such as yourself should be ignored when they exploit ‘anti-Semitism’ whilst at the same time climbing into bed with Hitler supporters such as Rev. John Hagee of CUFI.

Like the boy who cried wolf, your invocation of ‘anti-Semitism’ and your false accusations against people like myself, who have been anti-fascist activists throughout our lives, simply lets the real anti-Semites off the hook. Indeed given the affinity of Zionism with anti-Semitism, which both accept that Jews do not belong in the countries where they were born, it is no surprise that you are happy to abuse and misuse the term ‘anti-Semitism’.

Tony Greenstein

From: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
To: Tony G
Cc: “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]” ; “[email protected]
Sent: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: Ilan Pappe and Academic Freedom

On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM, Tony G wrote:
To: Tammi Rossman-Benjamin
University of California
Division of Humanities
UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064

Dear Ms Ross-Benjamin,

You have been the principal organiser of a campaign to prevent Professor Ilan Pappe of Exeter University in the United Kingdom, formerly of Haifa University, Israel from speaking on California campuses. I think we can take your professed concern with the ‘abuse of tax payers’ money with a pinch of salt. Academic freedom is never an abuse.

In your article ‘Anti-Israel speaker on 3 CSU campuses with University’s approval’ you invite people to send a letter to various academic administrators and politicians, with a copy or blind-copy to you at [email protected]. I thought it would be more helpful if I wrote to you directly, with a copy to those you mentioned.

You call the invitation to speak to Professor Ilan Pappe ‘a serious misuse of taxpayer money to promote virulently anti-Israel activity on three California State University campuses.’ Perhaps you would explain how speaking on campus equates to virulently anti-Israel activity? Or is it the message you object to?

As an academic and social scientist, I assume that part of your training involved assessing and weighing evidence before reaching conclusions. Yet in your campaign against a fellow academic, it would appear that your forte is the making of wild assertions, backed no by no evidence but coupled with the use of McCarthyist ‘guilt-by-association’ techniques. It is clear that you have no commitment whatsoever to the concept of academic freedom, a strange quality in a Professor. Your commitment is to Zionism.

Professor Pappe is, as you well know, both Israeli and Jewish. The suggestion that he is ‘anti-Israel’ is a piece of inflammatory abuse. What does ‘anti-Israel’ mean? Were campaigners against Apartheid in South Africa ‘anti-South African’? Were those who opposed Nazism in Germany anti-German?

What you presumably mean is that Prof. Pappe is an Israeli Jew and an anti-Zionist. Anti-Zionism is a valid political current, not least within the Jewish community and until 1945 it was a majority current. Are you seriously suggesting that those who dissent from the Israeli State’s preferred image of itself should be barred from speaking on campuses?

Your purported concern is with a ‘serious misuse of taxpayer money to promote virulently anti-Israel activity’ but what activity are you referring to, apart from hosting a speaker that you obviously dislike? Is Professor Pappe going to be opening a Boycott Israel bazar? Would you object to Zionist academics from Israel speaking on campus?

Professor Pappe was a Professor at Haifa University who was one of the new Israeli historians who challenged the founding myths of Zionism. He conducted research into the massacres and expulsion of the Palestinians during 1947-9. Is that a topic which is out of bounds to the AMCHA censorship group? Are you funded by money deriving from Israeli state sources? Do you not find such funding embarrassing? A foreign state funding those who wish to clamp down on academic freedom within the United States?

The rest of your appeal is equally tendentious. It speaks of Pappe harbouring a deep animosity towards the Jewish state and calling for its elimination. Pappe opposes the very concept of a Jewish state which gives rights and privileges to those who are Jewish whilst at the same time denying those rights to non-Jews. If American Jews received the same treatment as Israeli Arabs I suspect you would be the first to protest. Pappe no more calls for Israel’s ‘elimination’ than anti-Apartheid supporters called for the elimination of the South African state. The very use of the term ‘eliminate’ is emotive, as you well know, suggesting the destruction of people rather than changing state structures.

Nor am I aware of any ‘campaign to boycott Israeli academics’ by Pappe or others. There is a campaign to boycott Israeli universities which are complicit in the occupation and discrimination against Israeli Arabs. That is an entirely different thing.

You allege that Pappe supports Hamas but you cite no evidence for this. Perhaps you would supply some references to back this statement up? In any event it is the Palestinians who have voted for Hamas. You call Hamas a ‘terrorist organization’ yet fail to mention that the Israeli state sponsored and virtually created Hamas as a counterweight to secular Palestinian nationalism in the 1980’s. In any event I’m not aware that Prof. Pappe supports Hamas. I suspect that if the United States were occupied by the military of another country that Hamas would be like a children’s tea part in comparison with groups which would spring up to eject the invaders.

It is true that Prof. Pappe, like other Israeli academic such as Prof. Benny Morris, has shown that Israel was created through “ethnic cleansing.” That is a fact. Or is the truth also verboten to McCarthyist organisations like Amchai?

You say that your concern ‘is not with Ilan Pappe’s talk per se’ but because it is ‘being organized and promoted by faculty and administrators of the California State University system’. This is disingenuous. If Ilan Pappe were singing the Israeli State’s praises then you would be fully supportive of such a talk.

It is unfortunate that you don’t even have the honesty to at least say you don’t want Pappe to speak on Californian campuses because you disagree with him. Instead you use ‘the tax payer’ as a convenient peg on which to hang your anti-democratic credentials. But then hypocrisy has always been the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Greenstein

Posted in

Tony Greenstein

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.