Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yale Daily News Publishes Vicious Anti-Israel Letter, Refuses to Publish Responses

On February 4, 2009, the Yale Daily News somehow saw fit to publish a hateful anti-Israel screed full of misrepresentations, double standards and defamations.

I submitted the following letter in response. The Yale Daily News has apparently refused to publish either my letter or any other letter trying to provide an antidote to the hatred, giving the rather lame excuse of lack of space.

One expects more from a newspaper from one of America's elite institutions.

The text of my unpublished letter is followed by the screed that was published along with the correspondence with the Yale Daily News with their explanation of why they haven't published any response.

The saga may continue, since I wrote back pointing out the lameness of their stated reason.

Submitted February 8:

With her letter of February 4, "Morris should not be welcome here," Christine Geer has inadvertently performed a valuable service. She has demonstrated the unfortunate need for programs like YIISA, the Yale Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism.

Omitting crucial context, Geer misrepresented the opinions of Morris about events that occurred the year he was born and about hypothetical situations that might occur in the future if Israel's enemies continue their jihad against the Jewish state.

Ironically, Benny Morris has shown great sympathy for the mostly self-inflicted plight of the Palestinian Arabs, even going to jail after refusing to report for reserve duty in 1988 during the first Arab intifada. He is a dove, but enough of a realist to recognize "when the choice is between destroying or being destroyed, it's better to destroy."

Geer also employs a double standard by not criticizing those calling for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the disputed territories. Neither the fact that these demands are often couched in euphemistic terminology, such as "removal of Israeli settlements," nor the fact that they are often made by well-known figures such as the so-called moderate chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and former president Jimmy Carter changes their essential nature.

Completing a triad of offenses, Geer also defames the state of the Jewish people by falsely associating it with Nazism.

Misrepresentations. Double standards. Defamation.

Thank you, Yale, for providing a home for the Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. It's sorely needed.

Alan Stein

After this letter was not published, the following was sent to the Yale Daily News on February 16:

Neither having heard again from you nor seen my letter in the Yale Daily News, I suspect you have decided against publishing my letter. If so, I urge you to reconsider.

Had someone with closer ties to Yale responded to Geer's letter, I could understand publishing that in preference to mine. However, I have seen no responses at all and in my opinion Geer's letter is so offensive it would be irresponsible to not publish any responses.

Note that although I am writing primarily in my capacity as president of a statewide organization promoting responsibility in Middle East reporting, of which the publication of Geer's letter was the antithesis, I do have some ties to Yale. I spent a summer at Yale on a faculty fellowship, make annual donations to Yale and attend the seminars organized by YIISA.

The Yale Daily News responded as follows:

Dear Mr. Stein,

Sorry we did not publish your letter. We are bound by practical concerns, most notably that of space, enough so that we cannot publish every piece we'd like to.

Note: I had originally posted the above in full, but removed the writer's name after receiving the following message:

Dear Mr. Stein,

Our correspondence was personal correspondence, and should not now be appearing on a public blog. I don't know if this is an attempt to intimidate me or the News, but please remove at least my name and email address from the site.

I believe the representative of the Yale Daily News is incorrect, since the correspondence concerned the actions on behalf of the Yale Daily News, but have complied with the request of that representative.

By that time, I had already sent the following to the now anonymous staffer of the Yale Daily News but have not yet received a response:

I understand practical concerns, but the reason you give is not very convincing. If the Yale Daily News was a short monthly newsletter in which space was at a premium, it would be one thing, but it is a daily and there will be room another day for that for which there's no room one day.

Several of the main assertions of "fact" in Geer's letter which are used to buttress her highly questionable opinions are simply false. She further shows what is at best ignorance in one of her comments where she either shows a misunderstanding of the meaning of anti-Semitism or deliberately misrepresents it. It is a shame for the Yale Daily News to publish a letter like hers and let it go unchallenged.

The relevant portion of the comment Geer posted is shown below the text of her original letter.

Yale Daily News

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Letter: Morris should not be welcome here

That a venerable academic institution such as Yale, which two generations of my family have attended, would invite Israeli historian Benny Morris to speak has dismayed me to the point that I will not allow my grandson to apply next year.

Morris is an apologist for Israeli crimes against humanity. In a 2004 interview in Ha'aretz, he approved the 'necessity' of ethnic cleansing in 1948 of over 700,000 Palestinians and faulted Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion for failing to expel all Arab Israelis; he intimated that it may be necessary to finish the job in the future. He has spoken of the murders, massacres and the 'transfer' of the Palestinian population to other Arab nations as a necessary aspect of the survival of the State of Israel.

'Removal' or 'transfer' of a people is a word redolent of the Nazi era, for it is what the Nazis did to the Jews of Europe. The principle has now become enshrined in Likud Party policy, with Morris' blessing. It is a violation of international law, as is the indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations that occurred in the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza. Far from promoting any peaceful solution to the conflict in Israel and Palestine, Morris' ideology can only be classified as an effective recruiting tool for terrorists.

Yale should be ashamed at its invitation to an advocate of crimes against humanity.

The Rev. Christine Geer
Stonington, Conn.

The following is part of a comment Geer posted among those regarding her screed. It along with the other comments may be viewed at

On another point made by some correspondents, re/ my assertion that I would not "allow" my grandson to attend Yale, they are correct in pointing out that he, as well as my granddaughters, should go to the college of their choice. However, as the person who pays the former's tuition, I do have room for some persuasive input. Most likely He would choose another, less anti-Semitic/Palestinian institution (Palestinians being a Semitic people!). Incidentally, my granddaughters, whom I love dearly , are one-quarter Jewish, and we are all proud of their heritage.

The Jewish community around the world is beginning to understand that whatever one labels actions taken against Palestinians for the past 60 years, those actions are by objective standards and international law unjust, counter to the admonitions in Judaism to "love justice", etc. and counter-productive to Israeli security.

It's worth noting that Geer refers to actions allegedly taken by Israel against the Palestinian Arabs for the last 60 years, even though Israel had absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinian Arabs in the currently disputed territories while they were occupied by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 until 1967.

Geer, like other apologists for Arab terror, is apparently unhappy about the very existence of Israel.

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