“Respect for the Dignity of all Beings”: The Honor Code and Hate Speech

We have often thought about the proliferation of student protests in the 1960s and how pervasive the culture of civil disobedience was during the time of the Vietnam War.  Are students in this day and age less politically active than previous generations?  Why do we not see outpourings of protest on this campus of the scale that used to be the norm?  Rarely in our time at Conn have we seen almost unanimous student uproar about any given injustice barring only the Fishbowl controversy.  On Wednesday February 25th, in the aftermath of an ironically timed event called the Jerusalem Food Tour celebrating shared humanity, we found our outrage.  We discovered information that put my apathy to rest; it made us sick.  It came to our knowledge that Andrew Pessin wrote on his Facebook page a rant on the nature of Palestinians.  Professor Pessin compared Gazan Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls” who need to be caged.  He described the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a cycle of letting the “snarling dogs” out of their “cage” and then beating them back into it.  One person named Nicole commented on the post suggesting the “dogs” be put down.  Professor Pessin responded, “I agree.”  Professor Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people.  A member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people.  This post came to the attention of students as well as faculty members and has thus far only been spoken of privately.  It is clear that the imagery used is not only incredibly offensive, but also particularly damaging within the culture of Islam, which has a potent conceptualization of dogs.  We vehemently believe that this deserves the attention of the Conn community: students, staff, and alumni.

What does this statement made by a faculty representative of our school say when our College is in the process of hiring a Dean of Inclusive Excellence? How can we stay true to our ideals as a college that prides itself so much on our inclusive learning community?  We must ask ourselves, what kind of community do we want to be?  According to a noted scholar of the Rwandan genocide, James Waller, “dehumanizing victims removes normal moral constraints against aggression.”  We all know that it is through dehumanizing language that hate crimes begin.  We call upon students, faculty, and alumni to ask themselves: Is there a place for this language at Connecticut College?  We wonder ourselves how this particular situation would play out had this Professor spoken out against Jews or LGBTQ individuals. We believe that if Professor Pessin made these comments about women, African Americans, Jews, LGBTQ individuals or any other underrepresented group this issue would have reached our ears earlier and he would have been dealt with swiftly.  This is not about the beliefs of Professor Pessin regarding Israel or Palestine; this is about hate speech.

Based on an ancient Athenian oath of citizenship, Connecticut College’s Honor Code states:

“We will never, by any selfish or other unworthy act, dishonor this our College; individually and collectively we will foster her ideals and do our utmost to instill a respect in those among us who fail in their responsibility; unceasingly we will strive to quicken a general realization of our common duty and obligation to our College. And thus in manifold service we will render our Alma Mater greater, worthier, and more beautiful.”

We invite students, faculty, and alumni to ask themselves: Are the statements of this professor in tune with the ideals of the honor code? We as students are bound by this honor code and are expected to uphold it within the external community as much as we are expected to uphold it on our campus. If a student said these words what could we expect as a response? Are professors not bound by the same moral standards of the honor code?  Should we expect more from them as leaders of this institution? 

We humbly address President Bergeron.  We humbly address Dean Van Slyck, Dean Denard, Dean Arcelus, Dean Zimmer, Dean Highbaugh, Dean Garcia and the Board of Trustees.  We call for a conversation; cancel classes, events, and athletics on one day.  This must be addressed.  The administration cannot keep silent over such disgusting hate speech.  We Implore a response and for the Administration to take action. Years ago before we were students here the former president cancelled all events one day in the wake of a racist hate crime on campus and established an open mic discussion in Palmer that stopped the College in its tracks.  This event is deserving of the same attention and we must have a discussion as a campus regarding what the shared values of this College ought to be.  Be angry, talk to your professors, start the conversation.  This outrage should not be a private matter, this must be public and we must re-evaluate what we think our values are as students, faculty, and alumni of this college. Students need this, staff needs this, we need to lament, we need context, and we need a thoughtful discussion.  This is a red line, one that has been crossed.  How we proceed now is up for debate. 

29 Comments

  1. What would you have done to Professor Pessin? Would you condemn his career to death just as he condemned Palestinians to death? Pessin’s remarks may be unexcusable, but the reaction is just a transitive application of media inflation of news. I never expect articles to be completely unbiased, and nothing against this one in particular, but it seems like there is a lot of inference from a rather unreliable source, a facebook page. Someone tell me honestly that they have never said anything on Facebook or anywhere that they would rather take back because I doubt anyone can. It seems all this article has aimed to accomplish is to bring an overwhelming reaction of outrage rather than truly present a fair examination of Professor Pessin’s remarks. I agree that there should be a discussion about this, but it should be a fair one. Pessin was motivated by a strong opinions, and it would be unfair of us to respond in kind.

  2. This article seriously manipulates what was posted. Nowhere in his post did Pessin mention the Palestinian people, only the “situation in Gaza.” He could’ve easily been referring to Hamas and the other terror groups that hold the Strip hostage. The accusation that the professor “directly condoned the extermination of a people…[that] a member of our community has called for the systematic abuse, killing, and hate of another people” is an ugly one. It is a massive stretch from Pessin’s actual beliefs and actions and only goes to show the authors didn’t even consider engaging Pessin about this or giving him a chance to speak for himself – which he is entitled to. Plus, he apologized for the statement and took it down, having recognized the potential for misinterpretation. This article is overkill in every way.

    • anon –
      Nothing you said is factual, but utterly deceitful and misleading, not to mention blatant anti-Palestinian racism. It might even be construed as anti-Semitic, since it perversely conflates, as did Pessin, Zionist colonialist racism with free speech by a “kind-hearted” practitioner of Judaism.
      Let me correct some of your obvious errors.
      You claimed Pessin didn’t insult Palestinians, but only spoke of Gazans. But Gazans ARE Palestinians. Pessin in fact did speak derogatorily of Palestinians — in Gaza — as rabid dogs which his identified protagonist Israel is entitled to cage — and “put down,” i.e. put to death, as a student with whom he openly agreed recommended.
      You say Pessin in his facebook post only spoke of “Hamas and other terror groups that hold Gaza hostage.” Actually, you yourself are mistaken when you speak of “Hamas” as a “terror group,” since that is propaganda Zionists use to deceive taxpaying Americans about the nature of Palestinian society and politics; in an openly free and fair election, Palestinians gave Hamas an overwhelming electoral victory in 2006, surprising even Hamas leaders, who had been among the most humanitarian activists of their society. So, far from “holding them hostage,” Hamas has responded with brave fidelity to the Palestinian people when the terrorist state which does in fact hold them all hostage — in the cage Pessin in cynical playfulness imagined for a people he cynically reduced to rabid dogs (was this inspired by Plato, a pederastic elitist, or Aristotle, the tutor of Alexander the Great, both philosophers racists who insisted people their society conquered were “natural slaves”?).

      No longer should self-described “advocates for the state of Israel” presume their Jewishness entitles them to impunity for arrogant insults, lies (fabrications or public fantasies distorting the role or dignity of the office of professorship) or worse, overt violence, against an entire nation. Pessin’s open declaration of “Arabs and Muslims” as the “top of the totem pole of terrorists” is not only racism of the most obviously inane but also dangerously incitive sort, but is transparent evidence of his unfitness as a respectable member of an academic faculty charged with educating our youth.
      The student body of CC is clearly too intelligent for the Zionist professor, who should be fired.
      Pardon me. I was correcting your facts, not your ethical blindness, Mr or Ms “anon”. Let me continue —
      Here is a fact. Prof. Pessin understands less about racism than an American tenth-grader familiar with how white racism in the world’s most powerful constitutional democratic republic both injured all blacks in America but also morally disabled and intellectually crippled millions of whites into unspeakable habits of cruelty and lack of both compassion and critical reason.
      His openly, last summer, drawing an obscene and stupid analogy between a tough punisher of rabid dogs with Israel’s brutal massacre of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians and 25 percent of them children, may reasonably be construed as an ironic form of insidious anti-Semitism. How so? Well, he claims to speak for Jews while justifying Jews behaving as savagely murderous hatemongers. Does he honor the very people for whom he claims to speak? Or the opposite? Does he rather defame Jews by his smugly self-satisfied dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims? And does he not belittle Jewish intelligence by claiming to honestly speak for Israel while tacitly implying all Palestinians are not only non-Jewish but nonChristian, as well? (There are and for centuries there have been Jewish as well as Christian Palestinians.)
      I’m a white man not averse to acknowledging that among the founders of the nation state of which I am a citizen were many brutal racists. Pessin seems to prefer glossing over the crimes of many of Israel’s political leaders. In fact, he literally may be unaware that Israel was established through systematic terrorism, as documented by Israeli historians themselves, Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev, and others, including the famous Benny Morris, a self-described Zionist who openly to fellow Israelis has regretted “we didn’t finish the job” of ethnically cleansing Palestine in 1948.
      Note: quite a few Zionists recognized by the New York Times in the 1940s as terrorists, such as Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and others — who were as willing to kill European Jews as to kill Palestinian Arabs if it served their political agenda of stealing Arab and Turkish land through unprovoked violence (witness their blowing up of the King David Hotel and sinking of the Patria, not to mention massacres at Deir Yassin and elsewhere, about which even David Ben-Gurion boasted — became Prime Ministers of the newest and last European colonialist regime (after colonialism was outlawed internationally).
      Thanks to the money Zionists have been able to trundle into U.S. national politics (buying Truman’s presidential victory and ideological loyalty, despite his State Department’s dismay), our Congress, medical and academic establishments have increasingly been dominated by Zionist funders.
      Could this be why President Bergeron and the college’s trustees both have failed to step up and denounce Pessin’s obvious besmirching of the reputation of Connecticut College? Has she, and they, received emails urging her/them to sweep this under the rug as quickly as possible — or else? How many university student senators have been bullied by Zionist ideologues and moneychangers into opposing divestment from businesses that facilitate apartheid Israel’s continued illegal colonization of Palestinian lands? Has AIPAC so successfully cowed the academic community’s leaders in America that ensuring money has become a greater value than ensuring integrity of values, that unfettered racism for Israel is fine while (even debated) criticism of Israeli policies is not?
      You allege that accusing Pessin of the racism that is transparent in his post is “ugly,” while you condone the ugly words he used, again falsely alleging the accusation “is a massive stretch” from his “action and beliefs” — as if his words posted weren’t intentionally posted to reveal, assert and affirm his beliefs, and as if the posting of them weren’t an action he intentionally took.
      Wow. anon, I commend you to the Israeli government’s hasbarah agency or department, they can use your type of “thinking” (or “doublethink”). Or are they already using you?
      You accuse the authors of the article of unfairness and bias. We might as well call the abolitionists opposing slavery in the 19th century “unfair and biased.” Or the suffragettes who insisted women had voices equal in worth with men’s. Or the Africans who opposed apartheid and their white anti-apartheid allies as unfairly biased against their racist oppressors.
      You claim Pessin “took down the post” after apologizing, lest he be misinterpreted. That’s not why he took it down. He realized any public discussion of his stupidly cruel words — easy enough for a third-grader to interpret accurately — would expose him for what he has proved himself to be: an unapologetically racist bigot who likes the perks of being buddies with Israeli colonists who torture, maim and kill unarmed Palestinianns with impunity (thanks to the U.S. president’s veto and the Congress’s being in the pocket of the Pentagon/AIPAC arms-industry). He took down the post yes, because his phony apology could easily cover up (hence fulfill “the potential for misinterpretation”), but more urgently and deeply because he realized anyone of good will reading it would find his post automatically “delegitimizing” him in the eyes of many of his students, over whose eyes he had previously pulled much wool. And everybody knows, Israeli colonial settlers hate more than lilfe itself the idea of their actions delegitimizing them in the world’s eyes. (Only in America is so high a percentage of otherwise well-informed citizens still duped by the Zionist-collusive mainstream media about the war-mongering surveillance regime of apartheid Israel. To paraphrase the brilliant journalist Alison Weir, if NBL games were reported with the degree of attention to accuracy U.S. newspapers like the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal and WashPost devote to Palestinian-Israeli troubles, we’d never know the score at half-time much less know whos’ playing whom as we pass the chips.)
      The coup-installed GW Bush presidency, adopting a pro-Zionist foreign policy in 2002, boasted ‘the gloves are off now” and proceeded to lie its way into invading several Middle Eastern countries, killing over a million people and displacing millions more.
      Well, as for Zionism’s chokehold on real free speech in U.S. academia, the blinders have come off. We are no longer buying the Zionist narrative Leon Uris and gang blinded the American public with in the 1960s. American Jews and nonJews alike are saying: enough is enough. it took the boycott divestment and sanctions movement against South African apartheid, which killed over a million people in neighboring countries, over two decades to free Nelson Mandela and give blacks sovereignty in their own land. It may take another decade, but Palestinians will be free.
      But it won’t happen without Americans seeing what’s real and what’s not real about Israel.
      For a narrative which terrifies people of Mr. Pessin’s mentally constricted/colonized ilk, readers might like to take a gander at Rabbi Brant Rosen’s blog, http://rabbibrant.com/2014/05/21/israeli-military-destroys-orchards-at-tent-of-nations-please-act-now/, which introduces many independent Jewish voices, and other progressive human-rights-centered websites such as http://www.btselem.org, http://www.whoprofits.org, http://www.mondoweiss.net and http://www.ifamericansknew.org.

      • The above, Mr. Greaves, is utter nonsense. anon, to whom you respond with this screed, is exactly right: Pessin wrote something ambiguous. It is most naturally interpreted as being about Hamas. When someone brought it to his attention, he immediately reaffirmed that it was above Hamas. He then took it down so that it would not be misinterpreted, and apologized for any distress such a misinterpretation might have caused. anon’s point is simple and correct. Your incoherent, rambling screed does nothing to change that. And the difference between anon’s simple, clear, reasonable post and your convoluted, confused, unreasonable one encapsulates perfectly the difference between the two sides in this discussion. On the one hand, we have those who simply point out what is obvious: that the evidence favors Pessin. On the other hand, we have those who will say anything, no matter how obviously false, to twist the facts in order to give some thin veneer of plausibility to their witch-hunt. This latter group is composed of those who are always on the hunt for something they can misinterpret because they enjoy the holier-than-thou thrill associated with outing “racists.” It matters not to them that their targets are often obviously innocent. This is largely recreational–public shaming as blood sport–and as a way of publicly declaring their own moral purity…
        This is utter insanity.

      • Steve I have followed this debate, and will share this with my friends. The hypocrisy of the Zionist, who make the truth an elusive dream, is a well oiled machine. We have the same on a smaller scale in England, and like yourselves they play Politics from all sides in order to be be on the winning side whatever the outcome.
        True Judaism and Zionism are very different things. And it’s heart warming to see the light getting onto this very dark subject, something that the Zionist regime hate. I wish you and all enlightened people the very best.

        • The exact quote from Andrew Pessin’s page:

          “I’m sure someone could make a cartoon of this, but one image which essentializies the current situation in Gaza might be this. You’ve got a rabid pit bull chained in a cage, regularly making mass efforts to escape. The owner, naturally, keeps the thing in the cage, but being kind-hearted or something regularly feeds it, waters it, takes care of its health needs, etc. But the liberal hearted world is outraged at the cruelty of keeping it in the cage, keeps pressuring the owner to let it out. Every so often the man relents under the pressure, opens the cage a crack, and the pit bull comes roaring bounding out, snarling, going for the throat. A short battle ensues and the pit bull gets put back in …. and almost immediately liberal world pressure starts complaining about the cruel to animals and insisting he opens the cage ……
          Gaza is in the cage because of its repeated efforts to destroy Israel and Jews. (1990s suicide buses anyone? how quickly we forget.) The blockade is not the cause of the current conflict. It is the RESULT of the conflict and cannot retroactively because its cause. The same is true of Judea and Samaria, the result of the Arab enmity toward Israel and not its cause. Anyone who fails to recognize that clear and obvious fact is demanding the release of a rabid pit bull. You may call for this release because you are yourself a rabid pit bull protesting your co-specimen’s detention, or because you are a well-meaning liberal hearted animal rights person. But you are demanding the same thing. (And I wonder how heartily you’d demand this if the rapid pit bull was to be released in YOUR neighborhood.)”

          This is the post in question (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/inside_higher_ed/2015/03/connecticut_college_campus_is_aflame_after_professor_wrote_controversial.html).

          Some people have thought the comments posted after the comment were the problem. Feel free to read the actual comments: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/04/12/diversity-and-inclusion-at-connecticut-college/.

          In there, Nicole (surname redacted) says that “Terrorists should be put down” and Andrew Pessin agrees. Another party in the conversation (full name redacted) makes sure they are clear in the conversation that they are referring to terrorists.

          Is the comparison to rabid pit bulls likely in poor taste? Probably. Pit bulls implies first that the individuals are animals and that’s always in poor taste though in fairness, pit bulls are amazing dogs and don’t deserve a large percentage of the negativity awarded to them, but that’s a different argument). Then as the Washington Post Volokh Conspiracy added, the rabid aspect also implies that they have no control over their actions. I’d argue that’s clearly not true of the terrorists in Hamas. As a point of reference though this is the same group (Hamas) that in their charter calls Jews the descendants of apes and pigs, and desires the day where even rocks and trees cry out “O Muslim there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.”

          Could it have been more clearly about Hamas? Perhaps though the references are about Gazans repeated efforts to destroy Israel, and suicide buses (and factually, the opening of the cage probably at least contains reference to the withdrawal from Gaza which led to Hamas making it a terrorist hotbed) make it pretty clear he’s referencing terrorists, not average citizens. If anything singling out Hamas would leave out other organizations like Islamic Jihad. Later comments in the post made it clear he was discussing terrorists, not citizens.

          I’m not going to engage with the commentary bordering on the “standard” Anti-Semitic conspiracy hysteria. “The college hasn’t spoken out! It’s clearly THE JEWS AND THEIR MONEY!” Boy these phrases apparently never change no matter what century we live in. I honestly hope you don’t truly believe that anyone who disagrees with you is part of a vast Jewish global conspiracy, but I hold little hope that that’s true.

          And later on of course come the Apartheid claims, please tell me more about the Apartheid state that has Arabs and Muslims serving in the legislature, on the supreme court, graduating from the schools, etc. If you had any knowledge of South African Apartheid, you’d understand that this claims aren’t just laughable, they are the definition of using language to obfuscate the truth to demonize a group of people. Apartheid in South Africa made the Jim Crow South in America look inclusive. They had separate BUS SYSTEMS. Compare that to Israel and it’s pretty clear that’s not the case. Compare that to other regimes in the Middle East and it is far closer there to be true (heck, tell me the number of Jews in the government in all the other regimes in the area – I’ll wait. Should be a pretty fast count). Heck let’s just examine the Palestinian refugees (Palestinian is appropriate when it references people who fled from Mandated Palestine, not to differentiate between Muslims, Jews, Druze, etc) living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria (the ones that are still living after the ISIS takeover).

          Accusations of genocide are always sad because if it is genocide, it is the LEAST EFFECTIVE genocide in history – the population in Gaza and the West Bank has been growing. Yet we ignore the fact that Muslims are being slaughtered by radicals in Yemen, Syria, and other areas.

          Ultimately the biggest problem here is people buying into the concern that Pessin’s rhetorical question of “How do we tolerate cultures of intolerance?” at the Charlie Hebdo conference is that this question is the one being harped on, instead of how do we actually confront this intolerance? How do we confront repression of women in Saudi Arabia? How do we confront the fact that women are second-class citizens in many Middle Eastern countries where they are actually found guilty after being the victim of violence? What about the slaughters by groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, or even the lovely Hamas? This isn’t just singling out Muslims, it’s singling out intolerance, and while the Muslim world has a fair amount, point to Putin’s Russia and their treatment of the LGBT community to understand it isn’t limited, it is worldwide, and it is problematic. In comparison, Israel has a vibrant LGBT community, women’s rights are assured, as are those of all religious groups in Israel.

      • ISTM the Greaves-bot is the one who here conflates the “situation in Gaza” with ordinary Gazans and hence rabid dogs.

  3. Thanks for the article Katilyn. I think you raise a lot of great points. Couple of things to consider are that private institutions can regulate speech differently than the federal government. It’s probably more useful to look at the underlying philosophies around free speech and also the modern movement to protect communities from violence.

    I’d also caution from conflating free speech and hate speech issues. Hate speech is part of free speech and the philosophy around it. Diversity and freedom from violence are important issues but the underlying problems and solutions aren’t always the same.

    What is the desired outcome you are hoping for? Understanding and a change of attitude are generally the best outcome. What is the best way to do this?

    Some articles you might find interesting related to this as it’s playing out not just on Connecticut College but also in other places:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/opinion/roger-cohen-a-21st-century-islam.html?hp&_r=0
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/frame_game/2012/09/free_speech_vs_hate_speech_why_is_it_legal_to_insult_muslims_but_not_jews_.html
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/04/the-culture-of-shut-up/360239/
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/06/rage-against-the-outrage-machine/373069/
    http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2012/09/27/free-speech.html
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/17/why-google-shouldnt-have-censored-the-anti-islamic-video/

  4. ” Professor Pessin directly condoned the extermination of a people”. Really? Where did he say this? Your allegation is not substantiated. Calling for putting down the terrorists who attack Israeli civilians is hardly “hate speech”. Have the authors ever argued against the attacks against Israeli civilians? Professor Pessin should not be the target of a smear campaign merely because he advocates on behalf of Jewish civilians.

    The authors clearly don’t agree with Professor Pessin’s opinions, but that is hardly reason to call his opinions hate speech. Freedom of thought and speech need to be respected everywhere, but nowhere more so than on a college campus. If the anti-Israeli students wish to be heard then engage in dialog. But, starting a witch hunt because you don’t want to tolerate dissent from your own viewpoint is unacceptable.

    • Frederick Douglass clearly did not agree with Jefferson Davis. But that is no reason why he or his twentieth-century heir Malcolm X might dare call Davis an advocate for profit-mongering, cruel and devious racist slave-whippers.

  5. I am disturbed by this article. These conn writers have taken Pessin out of context and manipulated his words. I have many friends who are calling on President Bergeron to fire Dr. Pessin because of articles like this. I have also been hearing many antisemitic comments used to make fun of Dr. Pessin, because of what he said. I am surprised when people say he is lazy for taking time off on Jewish holidays, he wishes all Muslims would die, and the holocaust jokes my peers sometimes make. I think it is wrong to accuse Dr. Pessin of advocating genocide, without credible evidence and a firm grasp of their primary source. Free speech is always a constant. You cannot revoke it because a comment offends you. I am disappointed in my campus for believing second hand, inaccurate information, and using it to shame and prosecute a professor, as well as the racist comments students have directed toward Dr. Pessin. We as conn students must realize that providing inaccurate information has an impact on the campus’s opinions, and taking offense at a comment does not give us the right to deprive the speaker of free speech.

    • “Sarah Buckser” — one barely need scratch the surface of your words to reveal the false seriousness and appalling hypocrisy in them. You not only “manipulate” words or take words “out of context,” but you go further and bring in everything but the kitchen sink in distracting nonsequiturs and irrelevancies which no one can prove or disprove because there is no evidence any of these claims you allege even took place, be it your “friends who insist Pessin be fired” or allegedly telling “Holocaust jokes”, etc ad nauseam.
      Free speech is not “always a constant,” nor are the authors intent on “revoking” offensive comments.
      To claim, without any evidence, students are making “racist” comments against Mr. Pessin is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.
      Posing Mr. Pessin as “victim” is typical “hasbarah” (Hebrew for Propaganda; Israel has an official state Department of Hasbarah; and its “Separation Wall,” unanimously ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004, literally means “Apartheid Wall” — apartheid, separation and segregation are synonyms, in case you hadn’t noticed).
      Most Americans, dependent on the mainstream media, are ill informed about how thoroughly Israel is an apartheid state, which black leaders of South Africa have declared is MUCH WORSE than the white racist regime was. Google such SAfricans as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu about Palestine/Israel, or google famous American black writer Alice Walker and prison-industrial complex expert Angela Davis on the solidarity between the black American and the Palestinians’ freedom struggles.
      It was not the authors of this article, but Mr. Pessin who very clearly made an entire racist rantasy on facebook, which he only took down when people appalled by his brazen anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim “free” speech confronted him about his shocking prejudice.
      Are you a student really — or an Israeli government troll? Or, if you ARE studying at CC, are you a student interested really in honest debate about a professor’s presumptively misrepresenting what a nation-state (he openly favors) routinely does to the people it oppresses, and boasts of his loyalty to that state, even if such boasting compromises the ability of many students to trust the judgment of their academic instructors and elders if one — especially a tenured — elder obligated to fairly articulate the perspectives of people involved in a contemporary world-shaking conflict so unfairly maligns one people (the weaker) in that conflict while glorifying the other (the stronger)?
      Is it any accident our U.S. Senate voted unanimously to send more weapons and millions more cash to Israel while it was unilaterally invading and slaughtering Gazans, whose kitchen-pipe unguided rockets have, since 2001, killed a total of thirty Israelis, while Israel kills that many Palestinians and often more every two months? Last july and august, Israel killed 2,000, including 500 children. Well-done, Mr. Pessin, take pride in siding with the arrogant Goliath (see Max Blumenthal’s book by the same name, exposing Israel’s increasingly open racism).
      How this plays out on the world stage is it besmirches the reputation of the college and of every leader in the college who fails to call on the carpet the professor who dares to defame one people for the sake of another with whom he openly and smugly identifies.
      If he’d said about blacks, women or disabled people, Pessin would already have been disciplined. But because he said what he said about Palestinians, about Arabs and about Muslims, somehow reporting this is engaging in secondhand information or lacking a “firm grasp of a primary source”????
      Israel-Firsters troll every college campus where the issue of Israel’s tyranny over the indigenous people of Palestine is raised, and they flood the airwaves with their shrill nonsense.
      Readers, beware. Nobody has deprived Mr. Pessin of free speech. Rather, he has put every friend of Palestinians and of justice on notice — if you dare to exercise YOUR right to speak freely on any issue that touches on Israel’s crimes, be they real or alleged, you can expect to be heckled by people waving Israeli flags in your face, or worse.
      AIPAC’s leadership has declared its intention to conquer and dominate every student government at every college campus in America.
      You hundreds of young Americans witnessing this scandal, now the cat’s out of the bag (academic censorship by Israel-firsters) are now beginning to get a tiny taste, a mere whiff, of the vicious obfuscating cant automatically produced by the propagandists of/for the Zionist state, an exclusivist-Jewish ethnocratic regime calling itself Israel (falsely conflating the political nationalist ideology of Zionists with the ethical religious tradition of Judaism, to confuse both Jews and nonJews as to its vicious ethnic-cleansing policy of colonialist military expansion in the Middle East) — see Polemics, by Alain Badiou, and The Seventh Million, by Tom Segev, and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe.
      Even the openly Zionist Benny Morris, in his historiography, has exposed how terrorism in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 and 49 made the theft of 23 percent more of Palestine than had been given the Jewish Zionists by the UN Mandate, so much swifter than might have occurred had Hagannah’s leaders seriously tried to hold Irgun, Stern and other “independent” militias in check. Morris recently regretted “that we didn’t finish the job” (of ethnically cleansing the land of all its indigenous Palestinians) in ’48. That’s how blatant Israel’s brutality has grown since 2000.

      • Thanks, “Steve Greaves”, for representing the anti-Pessin derangement so clearly that everyone should be able to perceive it…

  6. This is Orwell at its best. The Conn Coll community should be ashamed of its fascist, anti liberal newspaper.
    Change name to the “Hate Hour Page”.

    Jewish students and donors beware, this college is a hostile environment.

  7. Hamas regularly says that Jews are descendants of pigs and monkeys. Hamas’ charter explicitly states that Israel must be destroyed and Jews all around the world should be exterminated. Dr. Pessin gets attacked for pointing out that Hamas has rabid (i.e., deadly) ideology. People attacking Dr. Pessin are supporting Hamas by trying to silence a critic of a genocidal Arab faction that wants to kill all Jews. Obviously, Jew-hatred is alive and well on this college campus.

    • this is simply a false statement. Hamas leaders do not say/do what mr klein accuses them of. It is a defamation of character of many quite decent human beings, some of whom I have met or loved ones of mine have met. Character assassination is what the Zionist leadership trains its little minions and web-trolls to indulge in, in order to sidetrack sserious discussions of the criminally violent nature of the Zionist colonial state, which Israel has been since its criminal inception.
      As genius author Mike Davis has written in The Buda Wagon, a short history of the car bomb, it was Israel’s founding fathers who invented terrorism in Palestine in the 1930s, massacring hundreds of civilians in marketplaces with barrel bombs hidden in vegetable trucks and other vehicles. As Benny Morris eloquently reports in his detailed history of the origins of the Palestinian refugee problem, the Hagannah, which eventually became the Israel Defense Forces after Israel’s unilateral declaration of statehood in May 1948, the ruthless massacre at Deir Yassin immensely eased the job of the military leadership in driving Palestinians off their land, out of their villages, towns, cities in fear of similarly being slaughtered by the heartless “Jewish” forces. Ben-Gurion pretended publicly to view such tactics as criminal, and punished one or two token butchers by hanging, but overall he gave all field officers carte blanche to imitate the tactic — the more quickly they killed the residents of a town and blew up their homes, the sooner the biblical kingdom of David could be re-established — even though few of the “generals” in the Zionist armed forces believed in God much less practiced any formal Judaism. Zionists defame critics of Israel to shut them up, so the public will tire quickly of a painful topic. They blame Israel’s critics for the racism of which they themselves are systematically guilty against the “Arabs” of Palestine. They refuse to call Palestinians “Palestinians” but simply Arabs, so that in their racism they can accuse “Arabs” of nearby Arabic speaking nations of “betraying their fellow Arabs” by refusing to welcome Palestinians. The War for Palestine is an excellent introductory anthology to elucidate many details which Israel-firsters hope none of your readers “waste” the time to read.
      As for “Jew hatred” being alive on the CC campus. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anybody who has spoken with any open-minded Jew, and there are millions in this country, though we seldom hear their voices in the MSMedia — check out Jewish Voice for Peace, Independent Jewish Voices, Tikkun magazine, http://www.mondoweiss.net, clinical psychologist Mark Braverman’s The Fatal Embrace, about apologetic theology having been undermined and taken over by Zionist friends of Christians who sincerely wish to make amends for the “H”olocaust (as if the Jews had suffered a worse holocaust than the Native Americans under the English-speaking Americans’ westward expansion, the Africans under slavery, or other devastated peoples throughout history), and Rabbi Brant Rosen’s blog. Many, many Jews are fed up with Israel’s corrupt and venal, violent and deceptive rulers and the society’s utter militarization and immigration policy of importing Jews from around the world to take over homelands stolen at gunpoint from Palestinian farmers and tradesmen and women.
      Hamas in 2006 won a fair and free election, as President Jimmy Carter and others of our international elders testified, and that was because Hamas was the party more responsive to the needs of the Palestinian people for decent livings, food, housing, jobs, health and welfare.

    • Nah. This Greaves dude has his/her own agenda and fails to meaningful respond to (or respect) the opinions of others. Pretty sad. As a graduate of this institution, I’m saddened to see such short sightedness and naiveté – the article, the LARGE reaction, the comments – everything.

  8. I was Professor Pessin’s colleague at Kenyon College for quite a few years. I know him well. I also am familiar with the strategy of smearing anyone who defends Israel and who characterizes its enemies like Hamas as the wannabe mass-murderers they themselves say they are. This editorial has to be understood as part of that strategy. The smear is accomplished by pretending that an obvious reference to Hamas (which rules Gaza despotically) is somehow “racist.” That is as absurd as saying that a critical comment about the North Korean regime is a “racist” attack on Asians. It’s an old game and it never gets less ugly.

    • Mr Baumann, with all due respect, you falsify and muddy the waters of this important public discussion.
      There is NOT a strategy by critics of Israel to smear or defame Israel’s “defenders” (i.e. those who falsify Israel’s record of war crimes and crimes against humanity in its steady, consistent colonialist expansion policy of “swords unsheathed” conquest of Palestine and points further east, north and south from the Mediterranean Sea).
      The honestly described strategy of Israel’s generals and political heads of state has been to eradicate the indigenous people (articulated best by Gen. Moshe Dayan who urged young soldiers to accept their fate of having their “swords forever unsheathed” in order to conquer more and more and more territory for the glory of Israel — using the excuse that, gosh, didn’t you Americans do it to the indigenous natives of your continent? as if an unethical behavior could be made ethical by reference to the obviously unethical model used to rationalize that behavior) — because the Jewish scriptures prove that God promised the land to Yisrael, his people — a distorted, secularized bastardization of a complex religious set of texts that are rich with ethical and philosophical arguments, in a tradition whose prophets often cursed the people of Israel for failing to live in good faith with their God and failing to show kindness and generosity to strangers and the weak as their God commanded more than once. The smug entitlement attitude of Zionists dominating the present discourse concerning Israel in U.S. politics in anything but faithful to history or political traditions and philosophy as these have evolved in republican and democratic terms in the past two centuries.
      It is truly shameful of Mr. Pessin to be so pathetically inept a spokesperson for the political and philosophical tradition he allegedly claims credentials to teach.
      Mr. Baumann, your evident self-interest in muddying the waters of this issue is sad. But I am sure you are proud of it, because of the advantages it provides you and your dependents, as the Zionist elite dominating both major political parties in the United States has shown.
      Courage, however, lies in fidelity to truth, not to power.
      I sincerely doubt you believe your own words about Hamas, but you are free to spout them in disrespect for the people of Palestine who trust Hamas more than any other party because its leaders are more willing to stand up to the West than any other, and not merely by means of belligerence, but via international good-faith negotiations. say what you will. your interests betray you in your words. The right of college students to openly discuss and debate the grossly unkind language and belligerence of Mr. Pessin, anything but supportive of a free and open academic environment, is clearly the last interest you would defend. Rather you betray a slovenly disregard for the good intentions and honest struggle of the journalists pressing for truly free and open dialogue by all who wish among students, teachers and surrounding communities to discuss what is the nature of a professor’s duties to students — of all ethnic backgrounds and current identifications — when publicly addressing any issue of concern to any one of those students?
      Do you really care? Or is a mighty and victorious nationalist, ethnocratic Israel the god whose bounty and blessing you seek?
      If you don’t stand up for Arabs’ and Muslims’ rights equally as you do for Jews’ or for “friends of the state of Israel,” which many of your ilk falsely call “the Jewish state,” (20 percent of the human beings called ‘citizens’ of the state of Israel are Palestinians) then you ought to have the courage to stand any criticism for less than consistent fidelity to academic freedom, and a slipshod bias rooted in ethnic prejudice.

  9. The editor of *The College Voice*, Ayla Zuraw-Friedland, is also the creator of the anti-Pessin online petition. Conflict of interest, anyone? In addition, the *Voice* magically deleted an intemperate and hate-filled comment written by Lamiya Khandaker in response to a critic. Gee: They are digging up Pessin’s old Facebook messages, but they are protecting angry anti-Israel zealots. Ayla Zuraw-Friedland is an activist masquerading as an editor. She has failed to live up to basic standards of journalistic ethics and should be removed from her position.

    • Who is “Chip”? Another minion of ADL, AIPAC, or another termite in the woodwork of democracy purporting to speak honestly about this issue the student paper raised most appropriately — the role of a professor in facilitating or suppressing academic freedom of discourse on a difficult issue of huge public import to all citizens in and out of university?

      Well, Chip, congrats for another sniping at an honorable student intent on freedom of information, but whom you feebly attempt to defame by your cliché-ridden Zionist potshots.

      Here’s the skinny, mr. chip. One of the greatest journalists of all time, I.F. Stone, was he a Jew or simply a critic of Israel in his excellent reporting and news analysis? Was it a conflict of interest for Seymour Hersh to distrust government minions spouting prefab phrases to disinform the public, and to demand real answers for questions he knew how to ask because he stood as a bulwark, and still does, between unaccountable powerholders and the people whose lives are most vulnerable to such wielders of might?
      Should he NOT have written The Samson Option, in order to protect sensitive Americans’ ears and souls from the awful pain of realizing our friends the Jews running Israel stole secrets from our government and mocked our defense agents who challenged them?
      Was Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, like his mentor Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (as lucidly revealed in Alison Weir’s Against Our Better Judgment) justified in showing so much greater a loyalty to Israel than to the nation-state whose highest court he sat on, that he concealed many of his illicit dealings as a servant of Israel even while his public persona was as a power-wielder in the U.S. government and for the people of the United States of America?
      Where do you stand on the issue of Julian Assange? How about Mr. Vanunu, who exposed Israel’s theft of sufficient nuclear materials from the United States military caches to develop their own nuclear arsenal — what is it now, 200, 300 nuclear warheads? More?
      Where does coziness with a foreign state, uncritical defense of it no matter how horrendous some of its policies, end, and loyalty to your American citizenship and Constitution begin? Or vice versa?
      These are only a few of the questions students have a right to ask their philosophy professors and other instructors of history, politics, economics, values.
      Seems you prefer demeaning insults to showing the least admiration for those with the courage to ask such questions.
      Shame.
      I suppose you wouldn’t have published the Pentagon Papers. Ridenhour wasn’t your style, either. Different strokes for different folks.
      Would you have backed the South African apartheid regime, like Israel did for decades?
      One wonders.
      Reagan had to cave when Congress caved to public pressure after decades.
      Odd that Nelson Mandela wasn’t removed from our official list of terrorists until 2008, a full decade and a half AFTER he’d won election as South Africa’s first black president.
      Who talked you into accepting that sea-change?
      What would it take for you to accept that criticizing inhumane practices by your favorite state or politician never justifies muzzling – by defaming- critics with whom you disagree?

      • Wow. Just wow. Thanks, Mr. Greaves. Here’s a perfect–albeit longwinded and borderline unreadable–example of the sort of anti-Semitic troll who delights in the “inclusive excellence” served up by the authors of this McCarthyite piece. Mr. Greaves uses the word Zionist as a slur.

        This is exactly the sort of bigoted nonsense that Mr. Fratt and Ms. Garbe have drawn to Conn College. They must be very proud: “inclusive excellence” apparently means anti-Semitic insinuations of AIPAC-controlled Jews and hate-filled denigration of the lone Jewish state.

        Let me guess: The McCarthyite faculty, currently lining up to condemn Pessin, won’t see a problem with such anti-Semitic dross. But that’s what “inclusive excellence” means, I gather: Yes to anti-Semitism, and no to criticism of HAMAS.

        Mr. Fratt and Ms. Garbe, two Arabic students who have had their views shaped by Arabic faculty members and a summer-long trip to Jordan, don’t really care about “inclusivity.” They care about demonizing Israel. They should be deeply ashamed, as should Mr. Greaves, whose hate-filled rant demonstrates that he’s incapable of shame.

      • oh dear. go to class, Mr. Greaves. College is for learning… you clearly need to partake in that process.

  10. Michael Fratt and Katilyn Garbe should consider demanding a refund on any out-of-pocket expenses incurred for their college education. Why? Because it is apparent that they have learned little or nothing, and have the cognitive skills of a spoiled child.

    Consider the ludicrous claim of:
    Professor Pessin compared Gazan Palestinians to “rabid pit bulls”

    He did no such thing; obvious to any rational minded person. He compared EXTREMISTS to “rabid pit bulls”, but in no way implied that the average people there were such extremists. His allusion was quite accurate.

    Sadly, the uber-sensitive chip-on-the-shoulder hate-filled whiners immediately jump to attack the professor over their own inaccurate perceptions.

    Professor Pessin is, in my opinion, absolutely correct in his assessment that “the dogs” should be put down. Extremists who murder innocent civilians are a cancer upon all humanity. There is little likelihood of world peace so long as they exist.

    • Nalath Kumar,
      another Zionist troll. could it be?
      Wow, scratch the surface of Zionist crimes and the arrogant smugness of impunity boasts, like those puny-minded ghouls boozing it up on a Sderoti hilltop as they watched the world’s fourth mightiest military massacre and de-limb and de-house tens of thousands of Gazans, and they come crawling out of the woodwork like so many soldiers of termite mortgage redemption.
      Listen.
      You may be a paid or unpaid spinmeister for the insult brigade of the Zionist entity that slaughtered hundreds of innocent children with its limb-slicing Dense Inert Metal Explosives in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, and led hundreds of unarmed civilians, many holding white flags to fall to sniper bullets in the head and/or chest or back, showing the manliness of IDF trainees of the Irgun wannabe SEAL units intent on teaching Palestinians swimming lessons by forcing them at gunpoint to tread water til they drown — as depicted in The General’s Son, by Miko Peled.
      Or you may just be a sadly naïve undergraduate
      aspiring to be noticed by unconfessed criminal false-flag operatives
      for the mightiest military regime between Antarctica and Russia. You may wear dreads, tats,
      or prance dressed in professorial gabardine. But there’s one thing you’re not.
      What you aren’t is an unspoiled child.
      All the hallmarks of a dyed in the wool ethnocratic apologist for supremacist Zionist domination ooze glaringly from the text of your perfectly Freudian projection onto the decent targets of your insipid vile of the very qualities your entire act evinces:
      YOU, sir, are the spoiled child. or rather, the sadly mean-spirited agent of Israel, the spoiled child of EuroAmerican NATO bullyhood posing self-delusionally as freedom from guilt and shame for the bloody mess that was not only the tens of millions of slaughtered innocents of World War Two, but also the entitled “muscular” “Great White Hope” unable to defeat the world’s heavyweight champion whose complexion was an offense to your kind.
      Actually, even if your personal hue is nearer Obama’s than Bush’s, your words indicate you learned well at Daddy Sharon and/or Barak’s knee your swordly machismo entails trying to humiliate those with less bile than you and more heart.
      I doubt your attempt to intimidate through name-calling will work. Nor does your pathetic attempt to rewrite what Mr P actually said in defiance of all decency among academic role models for the young. He actually perpetrated worse than the politician that emailed selfies of his lower extremities. How’s that? He shot death rays at others, not simply silly/offensive self-adverts.
      You like he will prove a failure in your nasty tactic of gotcha-ism.
      Young people these days — I mean, really — they are just too smart to roll over for punk patriarchal bullies anymore.
      What gives?
      I recall the great Isaac Deutscher said it best: Israel, with your obnoxious triumphalism, Deutscher said before he died, “if you don’t stop soon, you’re going to end up triumphing yourself to death.”
      Did anybody miss Goliath once he was downed?
      Max Blumenthal could probably tell you.

  11. The authors included the honor code in their article.

    Please re- read it in the context of these comments

    “We will never, by any selfish or other unworthy act, dishonor this our College; individually and collectively we will foster her ideals and do our utmost to instill a respect in those among us who fail in their responsibility; unceasingly we will strive to quicken a general realization of our common duty and obligation to our College. And thus in manifold service we will render our Alma Mater greater, worthier, and more beautiful.”

    Now, read it again.

  12. This piece ably demonstrates that Michael Fratt and Kaitlyn Garbe–two anti-Israel zealots masquerading as concerned students–deliberately and libelously misread Pessin’s post in an attempt to destroy Pessin’s career and silence all pro-Israel speech on campus:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/04/12/diversity-and-inclusion-at-connecticut-college/

    The author, a law professor, even claims (in his earlier post) that Fratt’s and Garbe’s letter is likely legally actionable. I hope that these Israel-haters have access to a lawyer, because if I were Pessin, I’d sue the pants off of them for their deliberate misreading of his views in an attempt to ruin his life.

    The campaign against Pessin was a hoax from the start: anti-Israel activists pretended that they were offended in hopes that they could marginalize the pro-Israel perspective on campus. And, sad to say, it worked. Until, that is, some got a whiff of what Fratt and Garbe–two despisers of the lone Jewish state–were up to. The useful idiots on the Conn College faculty may have fallen for this Israel-demonization hook, line, and sinker, but others know that Fratt and Garbe are activists dedicated to destroying Israel.

  13. A perusal of their Facebook pages demonstrates that Michael Fratt and Kaitlyn Garbe, the authors of this disgraceful piece, attended today’s anti-Israel documentary film, hosted by a film maker who previously worked for the International Solidarity Movement–a pro-terrorist organization that heralds “armed struggle” against Israelis. This, it seems, is Conn College’s version of “inclusive excellence”: no to harsh criticism of HAMAS, but yes to anti-Semitic murderers.

    Let’s just make this all crystal clear: Michael Fratt and Kaitlyn Garbe don’t care a whit about “hate speech” and “tolerance.” They are anti-Semites who care about demonizing Israel. Any decent person would be embarrassed by their charade. If Conn College were serious about “inclusive excellence,” it would expel anti-Semites such as Michael Fratt and Kaitlyn Garbe.

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