The Corner

Not Berkowitz!

This powerful letter of protest by Peter Berkowitz tells the tale of a remarkable incident at the University of Chicago. (Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.) Apparently, University of Chcago sociology professor Saskia Sassen stormed out of a panel discussion on the Middle East after discovering that Berkowitz and another invited speaker disagreed with her views. Two of the panelists at the event were critical of Israel, while two defended it. This arrangement appears to have struck Sassen as impermissibly biased. “We need to recognize that the Israeli state has operated with excess power in a situation of extreme asymmetry,” said Sassen, justifying her walkout. In other words, acknowledge Israel’s guilt or forfeit your right to participate in scholarly debate. Although she makes a show of caring about freedom, Sassen has no trouble decrying the “scandalous” differences between American democracy and Cuban communism. Sassen’s behavior at the panel shows just how little regard the academic left has for the free exchange of ideas. Her more conservative opponent, Berkowitz, on the other hand, has just edited two marvelous volumes on American conservatism and liberalism.


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