History Department at Connecticut College deplores Facebook post on Palestinians

Historians in the News
tags: Israel, Hamas, Gaza

Last summer, during the height of the Gaza war Andrew Pessin, a philosophy professor at  Connecticut College in New London, referred to Hamas as  “a rabid pit bull chained in a cage.”  When a student this February noticed the posting controversy erupted.  The history department issued this statement after some on campus complained that Pessin's language demonized Palestinians:

To the Campus Community, 

The history department would like to clearly state that we condemn speech filled with bigotry and hate particularly when that speech uses dehumanizing language and incites or celebrates violence and brutality. In response to the many events that transpired on campus prior to and during spring break regarding a Facebook post by a member of our faculty, we join the CCSRE in condemning hate speech.

The history department would like to note the particularly salient tactic of dehumanizing language as a means to justify brutality and lull otherwise "well intentioned" people into silence and, effectively, complicity in racism, sexism, discrimination, colonialism and the numerous genocides throughout human history. 

We make this public statement with particular attention to those students, staff, and faculty whose identities and affiliations position them as the targets of such speech. We feel a public statement is essential to supporting the well-being of various members of the Connecticut College community, their right to educational opportunity, and their right to work in a non-hostile environment. We will continue to play our part in creating spaces for productive engagements around inclusive excellence. We look forward to collaborating with others to help move the College forward in achieving our goal of full participation.

Pessin says his comments were about Hamas, not Palestinians in general.  But he pulled down the post.  

Here is what he wrote on Facebook:

Hat Tip:  WNPR

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