Samir Amin, Director of the Third World Forum, reckons Joel Kovel’s new(est) book Overcoming Zionism “is absolutely fundamental for those who reject the unfortunate confusion between Jews, Judaism, Zionism and the State of Israel — a confusion which is the basis for systematic manipulation by the imperialist power system. It convincingly argues in favour of a single secular state for Israelis and Palestinians as the only democratic solution for the region.” According to Joel, the book’s publication has served as a trigger for his dimissal from his post as Alger Hiss Chair of Social Studies at Bard College.
On February 7 I received a letter from Michèle Dominy, Dean of the College, informing me that my contract would not be renewed this July 1 and that I would be moved to emeritus status as of that day. She wrote that this decision was made by President Botstein, Executive Vice-President Papadimitriou and herself, in consultation with members of the Faculty Senate.
This document argues that this termination of service is prejudicial and motivated neither by intellectual nor pedagogic considerations, but by political values, principally stemming from differences between myself and the Bard administration on the issue of Zionism. There is of course much more to my years at Bard than this, including another controversial subject, my work on ecosocialism (The Enemy of Nature). However, the evidence shows a pattern of conflict over Zionism only too reminiscent of innumerable instances in this country in which critics of Israel have been made to pay, often with their careers, for speaking out. In this instance the process culminated in a deeply flawed evaluation process which was used to justify my termination from the faculty…
Joel’s dismissal has been welcomed by some: Ron Radosh of Pajamas Media writes ‘The Dismissal of Joel Kovel: Sanity in Academia’. “The dismissal of Joel Kovel… is a victory for sanity in academia. It has been a long time coming. At last Bard’s students will not have to suffer the shibboleths Kovel offered as part of a supposedly solid academic curriculum.” Others are less excited: see Academic Freedom News: Ward Churchill, Joel Kovel (Maximilian Forte, Open Anthropology).
- Pajamas Media was established in 2005 by scriptwriter Roger L. Simon and Charles ‘Little Green Footballs’ Johnson; they’re the mob that in January hired Joe the Unlicensed Plumber to be their Johnny-On-the-Spot in Israel. Its attempts to turn right-wing bloggery into $ ends at the end of March. See also : Time to Hang Up the Pajamas, Daniel Lyons, Newsweek, February 7, 2009.
See also : Campus Watch (December 18, 2006) | “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of Australia?”, Or; Campus Watch comes to Australia (October 22, 2008) | The Enemy of Nature, Book Review by Alison Smith, January 2008 | Nature’s Coming Revolution: A Review of Joel Kovel’s The Enemy of Nature, Ted Dace, Counterpunch, June 14, 2003 | Capitalism Nature Socialism