Monday, January 14, 2013

Selection of Israel-Bashing CSU Prof a 'Clerical Error'?

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Selection of Israel-Bashing CSU Prof a 'Clerical Error'?

by Cinnamon Stillwell  •  Jan 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm
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Manzar Foroohar
As reported last month by Lee Kaplan, writing for Campus Watch, Manzar Foroohar, an Iranian immigrant and a notorious anti-Israel activist who teaches modern Middle Eastern and Latin American history at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, was placed in charge of an Academic Senate 2012/2013 CSU committee charged with implementing the "Governor's Task Force on Tolerance and Anti-Semitism Training," an effort that originated in 2010 under former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Soon after our article was published, the committee listing mysteriously disappeared from the Academic Senate CSU website, no doubt in response to public outcry, and now it appears that CSU is covering its tracks. On January 11, Mike Uhlenkamp, director of media relations for CSU, explained to that the committee was dissolved in 2010 and that the Academic Senate CSU simply had not received word. According to Academic Senate director Tracy Butler, "It was an honest error on our part. You could classify it as a clerical error."
While a "clerical error" might explain why the Academic Senate was unaware that the committee no longer existed, it certainly does not explain why a professor known for being on the Coordinating Committee of the Israel Divestment Campaign; the Organizing Committee of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel; the author of a 2009 anti-Israel California Faculty Association resolution; an opponent of the CSU Israel [Study] Abroad program; and, according to some of her Jewish and Israeli students, a cause of discomfort and marginalization in the classroom was chosen to head up a committee devoted to combating anti-Semitism in the first place.
Nor does it explain why, when we initially asked Diana Guerin, chairwoman of the Academic Senate CSU, about Foroohar's appointment, she praised the inclusion of "divergent points of view," noted that there was "concern . . . about the potential blurring of the lines between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism," which, as she put it, "are two separate issues," and added that, "It was important for faculty to have a voice on this type of training for our students."
This doesn't sound like an "honest mistake" or a "clerical error," but, rather, as though Foroohar was chosen with exactly her anti-Israel bona fides in mind. The only problem is CSU got caught. Let the damage control continue.
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