LETTERS

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November 12, 2002

Letter to the Editor

Morgenstern gets it wrong

To the Editor:

Josh Morgenstern's Viewpoints article ("Take responsibility for words," November 8, 2002) is an embarrassment to this university and those who are educated by it. His writing shows selective research and a complete lack of understanding for the situation surrounding Rashid Khalidi and the Web site campus-watch.org.

I hope by now that Morgenstern has had the opportunity to read the beautiful letter to the editor directly below his article ("Accusations on Campus Watch," November 8, 2002). Here, the faculty writers understand and speak to everything that Morgenstern was too dogmatic to see.

The letter to the editor explains that what is McCarthy-esque about Campus Watch is not that it is "a document of alleged anti-Semitic anti-Israel incidents" as Morgenstern claims, but rather that it is used as a form which "encourages students to inform on and denounce their professors." Campus Watch and those who use it are not simply creating a database of information, but rather creating an atmosphere where any single statement can be taken out of context and used to smear someone's image. Intellectual freedom and differences of opinion are no longer allowed.

Moreover, the faculty letter uses a word notably missing from Morgenstern's arguments, anti-Semitism. Morgenstern claims that Khalidi and his colleagues are distraught because they were accused of being anti-Israel. In fact, their true anger seems to stem from claims of "anti-Semitism and 'abuse of power,'" as the letter put it. This is the difference between accusing someone of disagreeing with the policies of a state and stating that they hate all people worldwide in a particular ethnic group. I hope that Morgenstern's limited vocabulary allows him to understand this difference.

Which brings me to my final point. I am not sure what Morgenstern believes his qualifications to be. However, I know that it is both arrogant and disgraceful that a recent graduate of this university can suggest that members of this faculty are unnecessary or unwanted. I suppose he is entitled to his opinion. However, to put it in the press and make it appear either factual or supported by any means beyond personal prejudice and misinformation is both harmful to the University and a demonstration that you wasted your four years and $140,000 here.

Morgenstern, those who think like him, and those who took the time to read his one-sided defamatory rant should take the time to become fully informed on the situation; Morgenstern's article was not the first step.

David Muraskin

Second-year in the College

davemu@uchicago.edu.