I’m ashamed to be an alumna – Professor Pessin deserves support and an apology
To the Editor:
For the first time in 41 years, I am ashamed to be an alumna of Connecticut College (Class of 1974).
Professor Andrew Pessin embodies one of the values for which Connecticut College prides itself – free expression of ideas. Furthermore, to allow one student, Lamiya Khandaker, to interpret a Facebook post as “racist” because it suits her anti-Israel agenda, and then condemn Professor Pessin for expressing his point of view, is unconscionable. Second, Prof. Pessin apologized for and clarified that he was referring to Hamas in his post and not the Palestinians, the rationale for Israel’s blockage of Gaza.
All Professor Pessin did was criticize a terrorist organization, Hamas that has been labeled as such by the U.S. government and the European Union. He criticized an organization that uses children as human shields, blows up school buses, reigns missiles on Israeli towns, murders gay people, persecutes Christians, and murders its own people for suspected business transactions with Israelis. Khandaker is speaking for a radical anti-Israel organization, yet she offers no criticism for Hamas.
Khandaker is an example of the radical anti-Israel thought police pervading campuses, which students and professors of sounder minds are trying valiantly to combat with facts and free expression. I never thought Connecticut College would get caught in this web of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda and lies.
Kudos to Professor Pessin for speaking up for the only democracy in the Middle East. Shame on Connecticut College for abandoning him and running a mandatory session on racism that featured his Facebook post. Shame on the College Voice for running letters attacking him without first giving him the opportunity to respond to the accusation. Shame on me for donating to a college that supports scapegoating and propaganda. Back in the early 70s, I wrote articles for the student newspaper – when journalism was fair and balanced.
Perhaps the remedy is for Connecticut College to hold a follow-up mandatory session on anti-Semitism and anti-Israel hate speech, featuring Khandaker’s emails.
-Sherry Alpert ‘74