Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

I am truly sorry for the hurt and offense that I have caused via my Facebook post of last summer, to individuals on this campus and now beyond.

It was written last August in the middle of the war between Israel and Hamas, and sat quietly (if publically) on my Facebook page until a Connecticut College student, displaying courage and integrity, emailed me about it on February 18 and described in no uncertain terms how she felt about it. I acknowledged how much I respected her speaking up, apologized for my language in the post, and removed it that very day. But my initial apology to her, and then to many others since the Voice articles appeared two weeks afterward, was rather defensive in tone. I see now—particularly after a moving conversation with a group of bright, brave, and sincerely wounded Conn students—just how damaging and hurtful the language of that post was. I made a great mistake in writing in the inflammatory manner that I did, and deeply regret the injury that I caused and have now directly witnessed.

It’s essential for me also to remark that I in no way hold and do not condone the terrible racist views that have been ascribed to me on the basis of the language of this post. I hope that my past actions and words already demonstrate that I am not the person some now think I am; I know that my future actions and words will. Let my first such action be the reiteration of my deepest apology for causing such wounds.

Andrew Pessin

Professor of Philosophy

 

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15 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Thank You

    Dear Professor Pessin,

    Thank you for your apology. It means a lot to me. I hope that we can all learn and grow from this experience onward, and perhaps engage in more constructive conversations as a campus on what it means to truly be diverse and equal. Take care.

    Best wishes,

    Lamiya

  2. Bartleby

    You’ve shamed him into denying his bigotry, but that’s not the same as changing his beliefs. He’s simply hiding them from you, and maybe even from himself. That’s why hate-speech regulations are not only stupid but dangerous. They drive hate underground.

    What you need to do is confront him not with moral condemnation, but with facts.

    http://blog.thejerusalemfund.org/2011/05/picking-apart-nytzionist-narrative-on.html
    http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2011-11-09/irene-gendzier-why-the-us-recognised-israel/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-kanwisher/reigniting-violence-how-d_b_155611.html
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n15/mouin-rabbani/israel-mows-the-lawn
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/nathan-thrall/hamass-chances

    He’s not a saint and neither are you. But it’s demonstrable that he’s a fool

  3. […] wrote a brief letter to the editor in which—based on advice from the administration—he apologized for any […]

  4. George Orwell

    Prof Pessin
    Stop groveling, anyone can plainly see this isnt about the six sentences you wrote 8 months ago. Rather you are in the cross fire of a fascistic pro terrorist anti Israel crusade.

  5. Pessin Is A DISGRACE

    As I read the words from this Zionist diseased mind I am sickened by the callous entitlement and bullying exceptionalism found in it’s metaphors…referring to Palestinians as “dogs in cage” that are “Owned” by Israel, that the world’s outcry for the *humanity* subjected to INSANELY BRUTAL TREATMENT by Israel is tantamount to “cruelty to animals” This piece of human WASTE masquerading as a human being is a disgrace, this racist and false exceptionalism this piece of garbage obviously believes in needs to go where it belongs, in the GARBAGE PAIL OF HISTORY.

    1. anon

      “This piece of human WASTE masquerading as a human being is a disgrace”

      While on the topic of dehumanizing language…

  6. Nothing New Here

    The opinion Mr. Pessin expressed in a decidedly unwise unguarded moment is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to Jewish thought and what has been spoken and taught by high ranking Rabbis in Israel to Israeli leaders themselves. Whether it was Rabbi Yosef Ovedia saying Goyim were only put on this earth to serve Jews, or Yitzak Rabin saying “We shall reduce the Arab population to a community of woodcutters and waiters” or Knesset member Ayelet Shaked saying “‘Mothers of all Palestinians should also be killed’ the callous superiority in the Zionist mind that these people, however offending the opinion may be to one’s senses, are somehow superior and anointed by god to rule over all others on earth as cattle, animals, insects, this is a LONG STANDING way of thinking with these people, and the primary reason for pogroms against them throughout the millenia.

    1. Something tells me you don't like Jews...

      Ooo! Ooo! Justify the Holocaust next!

    2. Anti-Semitic

      “Nothing New Here” wrote one of the most blatantly anti-Semitic comments I have read on any website in a long time; and it is particularly worse given that it appears on The College Voice. I hope the person is not a student or a faculty member, because if so, I would fear for my child’s life, and call on the University to investigate the individual immediately.

  7. Selective Amnesia

    Andrew Pessin states: “The blockade is not the CAUSE of the current conflict, it is the RESULT of the conflict” I’m so sick of the “selective amnesia” of Zionists and other pro-Israel voices that conveniently leave out how Israel stole and keeps stealing palestinian land, demolishing homes and orchards, destroying lives and satiating their blood lust with collective punishments that are the equivalent of your neighbor shooting someone and the authorities bombing your entire neighborhood to get the guy. These warped people have turned the holy land into an apartheid disgrace to humanity where prostitution (a Million visits per month according to UNICEF with some of the girls as young as 12) organized crime, human trafficking and an open air prison used to test new weaponry are the underpinnings of the ‘new’ holy land the “chosen” have wrought.

  8. Tim

    It is a shame you have to apologize for telling the truth. Only in bizarro world is truth treated as racism (exactly what race are the people of Gaza and the West Bank? Seems some need to get a dictionary.)

    Welcome to America, where people can speak their mind and you don’t have a right to not be offended.

    Children, grow up or take your football and go home. Leave the conversation to the adults.

  9. Avi Keslinger

    The best comment I have seen was made by Prof. David Bernstein in the Volokh Conspiracy: “regarding Hamas, it was a bad analogy, because in analogizing Hamas to a rabid pit bull, it was grossly unfair to rabid pit bulls. Rabid pit bulls have no real control over their violent actions. Hamas, whether blowing up schoolbuses, diverting foreign aid meant for destitute Gazans to missiles and foreign bank accounts, killing gay men in the street on the pretext they are collaborators with Israel, or using human shields after launching a war against Israel, is composed of human beings who are fully responsible for their actions.”

  10. […] acting on advice from university administrators, in turn wrote a letter to the editor further apologizing for the Facebook post. The apology, rather than ending the matter, was interpreted by some campus activists as an […]

  11. […] deletion of the post, the matter became increasingly public as critical responses escalated. In a March 8 apology in the student newspaper, The College Voice, Professor Pessin began, “I am truly sorry for […]

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