Israeli IDF veteran asked to step down from panel on Anti-Americanism by U. of Delaware

Finally, here is a case where the person who was apparently censored was asked to step down because he is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces. According to an email being sent to faculty at the University of Delaware, the story is still unfolding, and the Israeli authorities are getting involved. An email circulating from the Jewish Federation representative says:

The incident at UD occurred on Wednesday night, and promptly thereafter University and Jewish Federation, Israeli authorities and others began consultations on the topic. They have the matter well in hand, and certain information is not yet appropriate to publicize at this time. The story broke nationally on the Internet on Thursday, and additional details did not emerge until Shabbos.

Maybe this is the reason Muzzlewatch can find so few stories of silencing of supporters of US-Israeli policy. When it appears to happen, institutions get a visit from the consul general and local advocacy groups (who have every right and obligation to advocate for free and open debate). But when a principled critic of Israeli policy is silenced, even an IDF veteran, those parties are generally nowhere to be seen.

The story, as reported by the National Review:

Yesterday, the University of Delaware asked Asaf Romirowsky to step down from an academic panel at the University of Delaware because another panelist, University of Delaware political scientist Muqtedar Khan, didn’t want to share the podium with anyone who served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Romirowsky, who holds joint American/Israeli citizenship and lives in Philadelphia, had been invited to join Khan, his colleague in political science, Stuart Kaufman, a staff member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, and a graduate student to discuss anti-Americanism in the Middle East. The program was organized by the College Republicans, the College Democrats, and the Students of Western Civilization Club. The Leadership Institute provided the funds for the panel, which met on the University of Delaware campus on Wednesday evening. The students offered Romirowsky the opportunity to come to campus next week and speak alone, with no other panel members who might object to his presence. If Khan was just an academic, that would be one thing. But he also straddles the policy world: Khan is a a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Pentagon consultant. According to an e-mail he sent to the University, he gave a workshop at the Pentagon yesterday afternoon. Academics should embrace intellectual challenge; not flee from it.

Here’s the e-mail from Khan stating his objections to appearing with Romirowsky: —— Original message —— Date: Tue, 23 Oct :02: From: “Muqtedar Khan” Subject: Re: Understanding Anti-Americanism Panel To: [Names redacted] Laura, I have to speak at the Pentagon tomorrow. My workshop is from 12-4. I hope to catch the 5 pm Acela from DC and will be back in town by 7 pm. I will come directly, but may be late. I am also not sure how I feel about being on the same panel with an Israeli soldier who was stationed in West Bank. Some people see IDF as an occupying force in the West Bank. I am not sure that I will be comfortable occupying the same space with him. It is not fair to spring this surprise on me at the last moment.

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