Indoctrination Parading as History at Andover High

News Abroad

Mr. Cravatts, Ph.D., a lecturer at Boston University, University of Massachusetts, and Wentworth Institute, writes frequently about politics, culture, housing, and business.

In a country where high school students cannot even correctly identify the century in which the American Civil War was waged, and who are able to name more of the Seven Dwarfs than sitting Supreme Court Justices, at least students in Andover High School will be very familiar with the historical term “ethnic cleansing,” and how the world’s singular and most egregious example of its continued practice is, of course, found in the “apartheid Zionist regime” of Israel. Thanks to the efforts of perennial hater of America and Israel, Ron Francis, an Andover High physics teacher, and six of the School’s history teachers, students will have the opportunity of listening to the Leftist, anti-American, anti-Israel view of the “Wheels of Justice” organization, apologists for the Palestinian cause who preach a one-sided message to students that the violent Palestinian effort of self-determination against the “project”—not State—of Israel is the result, singularly, of the “colonization, occupation, displacement, apartheid and the denial of the rights of Palestinian refugees.”

There was some controversy at the end of October when Andover High’s principal, alerted to the actual nature and content of the Wheels of Justice traveling bus tour, temporarily postponed the visit until other speakers, offering a counterbalance to the dialogue, could be found. Tom Meyers, president of the teacher’s union and an outspoken supporter of Mr. Francis and his views, was “shocked, shocked” by the School’s decision to exclude the lecturers and limit someone’s First Amendment rights, although it is not entirely clear exactly whose rights were being denied. The Constitution protects an individual’s right to express their views, no matter how reprehensible, in what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes termed the broad, public “marketplace of ideas,” but nowhere is it incumbent on any institution, and certainly not public schools, to be forced to sponsor, or provide a public platform for, the ravings of any outside individual, merely because that individual has a message he or she is eager to express.  

If Fred Phelps from Westboro Baptist Church was invited to speak to Andover’s Gay Student Alliance, for instance, to preach his world view that includes such subtle observations as “God hates fags,” or the Aryan Nation had been asked to share their opinions with the school’s Diversity Club or Middle East Club (for which Francis serves as advisor), no one would be having this discussion and Mr. Meyers would not be bemoaning any threat to anyone’s evaporating First Amendment Rights. It is only when the subject of derision is Israel that any speech—no matter how hateful, historically inaccurate, or anti-Semitic at its core—is acceptable in high schools and on campuses. While it is still not acceptable in civil social circles to publicly express Jew hatred, at least in America, it has become very convenient for anti-Semites that they are able to express what David Frum has termed their “genocidal liberalism” by aiming their crypto-hatreds at Israel, instead, by relentlessly condemning it and calling for its eradication.

They do so, as Mr. Francis has done, by inviting terror-supporting speakers like Wheels of Justice and spearheading an Israel divestment project in his home town of Somerville. Though the divestment effort failed, that did not discourage Francis from publicly hailing the election of the terrorist group Hamas to lead the Palestinians, saying that their new role as State-sponsored terrorists was a bit of a “silver lining,” nor is he shy in justifying murderous attacks on Israeli citizens. “I do not condemn the Palestinian people because the actions they are taking,’ he wrote in a newspaper article, “given the circumstances they face, [are] completely understandable and within the bounds of normal human behavior. I have to ask myself, would I be any different?” Probably not, which is why, in a recent Boston protest demonstration, Mr. Francis could be seen marching along with placards with such exhortations as “Long Live the Intifada” emblazoned across them.

The fundamental flaw of these extremist views is that in his obsessive reverence for everything Palestinian and the demonizing of Israel—including the core belief that Israel will never be recognized—Francis does his students a great disservice by indoctrinating them with a worldview that can, and should, be challenged by different perspectives; in fact, it is a view so extreme and intractable that it cannot even be considered a reasonable outlook in a world where negotiation, geopolitical reality, and truth ought to come into discussions before, and in the place of, rabid ideology.

Mr. Francis, for instance, to paraphrase Professor Edward Alexander’s characterization of Noam Chomsky, is an individual who is rendered nearly speechless if unable to use the word “Zionism” and “ethnic cleansing” in every sentence. Israel is repeatedly accused of social and cultural atrocities by Francis and his same-thinking, virulent critics, a charge that is ‘absurd,’ says Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.

“While detractors make outrageous claims about Israel committing genocide or ethnic cleansing, the Palestinian population has continued to explode,” Bard notes. “In Gaza, for example, the population increased from 731,000 in July 1994 to 1,225,911 in July 2002, an increase of 68 percent. The growth rate was 3.95 percent, one of the highest in the world. According to the UN, the total Palestinian population in all the disputed territories . . . was 1,006,000 in 1950, and rose to 1,094,000 in 1970, and exploded to 2,152,000 in 1990.”

The other charge Israel-haters have grown fond of making is that Israel is an “apartheid State” with an “apartheid wall,” no better than the South African government much of the world rallied so hard to dismantle. Francis’s accusation that the Israeli government is based on the “privilege” of one group—the Jews—at the expense of all others, is eerily similar to the rantings of such other astute political theorists as former Klansman David Duke, who wrote an entire book about what he describes as the evils of Jewish “supremacism.” The notion is the same: ascribe to Israel and the Jews unbridled, undeserved power and show how it has transformed them from victim into victimizer. This is the core idea of the divestment campaigns, as well as the party line of such groups as Wheels of Justice.

“The idea,” says investigative journalist Lee Kaplan, “is to indoctrinate the next generation of anti-Israel activists through a false presentation of Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ (despite its being the only pluralistic democracy in the Middle East). By equating Israel with apartheid-era South Africa, the radical activists aim to suggest that it can be dismantled by international pressure.” That semantic linkage of Israel with South Africa is based on Francis’s twisted belief that such measures as the Israeli security wall and border check points have been set up, not for the legitimate reasons that they have been, namely, to impede the homicidal aggression of Arab terrorism, but rather to create and exploit, as was done to blacks in South Africa, a Palestinian underclass unable to integrate and enjoy the benefits of Israeli society and economic life.

But Francis’s oft-repeated view mangles the truth that in Israel many groups, not only Jews, enjoy the benefits of a capitalistic democracy. In fact, David Meir-Lev writes, Arabs “have 12 representatives in the Israeli Parliament, judges sitting on the Israeli courts and on the Israeli Supreme Court benches, and Ph.D’s and tenured professors teaching in Israeli colleges and universities. They are a population that enjoys more freedom, education, and economic opportunity than do any comparable Arab populations anywhere in the Arab world.”

Francis and his Leftist cohorts describe themselves as “human rights activists,” even though they seem singularly obsessed with the failings and moral lapses of Israel—and only Israel—among all countries in the world, in many of which civil strife, actual genocide, ethnic purging, enslavement, mass murder, and totalitarianism prevail. “Could the singling out of Israel,” Professor Alexander ironically asks, “possibly have anything to do with the fact that it is a Jewish country?”

Nor can Francis and his like-minded supporters refrain from questioning the fundamental legitimacy of the Israeli state, describing the “Colonial settler state” as one whose right to exist in the family of nations is still open to serious debate. No claim by the Jews to the “occupied” land of Israel—religious, historical, cultural, or political—is valid because Palestine is perceived to be eternally Arab land, while every struggle for Palestinian self-determination is justifiable, even when that process includes the slaughter of civilians. “Despite the fact that Israel is the only country in world history that came into existence via peaceful, legal, constructive means and by majority vote of the world governing body,” writes Meir-Lev, “Israel is the one and only country whose right to exist is challenged.” Mr. Francis never seems to question the legitimacy, say, of a country like Pakistan or frets about the eight million Hindus expelled from India when Pakistan was created, with a total of some fifteen million refugees and one million deaths as a result.

More important in the context of the Andover High situation is the fundamental question about what role teachers should have, if any, in promoting personal ideology, and in exposing students to one-sided, historically-inaccurate, and debatable views of difficult political issues. Why this particular issue to shove down students’ throats among all the incendiary geopolitical situations on earth? Why the linkage of Israel with the U.S.’s alleged “occupation” of Iraq, together with its anti-American sentiment and its nearly seditious fawning over Iraqi insurgents who murder Americans?  “Students are in school to be educated,” said David Horowitz, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and critic of ideology-driven instruction in schools and colleges, “and have a universally recognized right at least in American schools not to be indoctrinated.”

Like many Israel-haters, Francis also repeatedly dredges up the familiar canards about Jews and Israel: that they have great power, that they manipulate public opinion, that they have a malevolent ability to control the world media and suppress the “truth” about their political objectives (a truth, of course, that only Mr. Francis and his fellow paranoid scholars of history are able to see and reveal). "A third strategy is to control the discourse in the media about Zionism,” Francis wrote, for example, “they are also very good at this . . . ,” those cunning, deceptive Jews.  

The good news, at least, is that at Andover High School, Mr. Francis teaches physics and not journalism.

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Cravatts is obviously extremely annoyed by the endeavors of Mr Francis and his like thinking and like minded colleagues.
The Zionist Israeli propaganda line is repeated in his essay ad infinitum and ad nauseum under the pretext of rebutting Mr Francis.
His defense of everything that the Likud initiated , including the Wall, surpasses what many Israelis said in its defense and ignores what its many Israeli detractors and opponents said against it.

In his own way Mr Cravatts is more royalist than the king himself.

Nothing new hereto: an act of total, one sided and blind defense of Israeli policies and practices that has been played and replayed indefinitely all over the USA for decades and decades.

But something is deeply troubling Mr Cravatts to the point that led him to the authorship of this essay which is, substantially, no different than an AIPAC info sheet ; a truly unprofessorial PR effort output .
The morality, legality and validity of Arab and Zionist claims re Palestine is NOT the subject of this, my, post so little will be said in refuting the endless series of lies and fabrications laid out by Mr Cravatts.
The QUESTION is what bothers him so much as to author this facile and inane essay???
I guess it is the fact that the "other" point of view is being said and heard even in secondary (high)schools....that the hitherto Israeli/Zionist monopoly in addressing young American minds is being challenged .
That must be truly troubling to the herd.

Elliott Aron Green - 11/23/2006

`Umar Ibrahim Bakr always is kind enough to give me something very false --and therefore very easy-- to respond to. As to the Wall, one might think he's talking about the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, the way he raises it as a primordial symbol. In fact, the defensive, anti-terrorism wall [a fence for most or much of its length], was not the invention of the Likud party, nor was it promoted at first by Likud. In fact, Hayim Ramon, then a leading member of the Labor Party, started calling for a defensive wall against terrorists back in 2002, as I recall. He traveled throughout the country extollng the virtues of a defensive wall. The Labor Party was then part of the governing coalition along with the Likud, while Sharon was prime minister. Ramon was so successful making noise in favor of such a wall that the Sharon govt adopted it. So the Wall, so demonized by Bakr, was not a Likud invention.

Next, Bakr claims Jewish or Zionist control over American mass media and education. In fact, teaching about the Middle East in universities is dominated by members of the pro-Arab nationalist Middle East Studies Assoc. Jews and Zionists often complain about the biases of MESA members, including such as Rashid Khalidi. Edward Said just happened to hold a very comfy tenured post at Columbia, one of the more prestigious US universities. He was treated with kid gloves by the media when he came out with his first book, Orientalism. I recall that a radio talk show host would not let me criticize Said or his book when it came out. The NYTimes has almost always been anti-Zionist, especially since the Yom Kippur War. Yet Habibna Bakr claims/whines that the Arab cause can't get a fair hearing blah blah. I forgot about PBS and NPR. Then the head of the prestigious Kennedy School of Govt at Harvard co-authored a ridiculous paper claiming Jewish/Zionist control over US foreign policy since Christopher Columbus. By the way, isn't Walid Khalidi, one of the powerful, well-connected Jerusalem Khalidis, part of the Kennedy School? For those who don't know him, this Khalidi was part of the Arab Office propaganda effort going back before Israeli statehood. Nuff said.

Elliott Aron Green - 11/23/2006

Good ole Fred Thomas likes to have that phrase "zionazi" roll off his lily white lips. It's a way of assuaging or cancelling the guilt feelings of Western Judeophobes. In fact, the Arab nationalist leadership in the Holocaust period [1933-1945] was pro-Nazi. As late as 1964, Nasser told a Neo-Nazi German editor [of the Deutsche National und Soldaten Zeitung that he admired and sympathized with the Nazis, as did most Arabs [Nasser said]. The palestinian Arab leader, Haj Amin el-Husseini [al-Husayni] collaborated in the Holocaust, urging the Germans to kill more Jews faster. He spent the war years in Berlin, met with Hitler and was friendly with Himmler. Yet Fred Thomas calls Zionists Nazis. How history gets twisted!! He can check out my article at the link below on this subject. Of course I would not expect him to change even if he read all the well documented books and articles on the subject or saw all the photos:

Yehudi Amitz - 11/18/2006

I guess this Francis boy doesn't teach much physics so his dynamics of hate follow the following laws:
1) Any Palestinian body tends to preserve its stupid movement state till self destruction.
2) Palestinian forces equal mass multiplied by accelerated stupidity.
3) Any Palestinian action is always opposed by an equal or stronger Israeli reaction.

N. Friedman - 11/18/2006

Mr. Thomas,

According to the UN, The number of Palestinian refugees was 711,000 in 1950.!OpenDocument

That figure, moreover, includes a significant number of people who, by the definition used in any other dispute, are not refugees. And the figure is substantially exaggerated, even given the definition used as more people were expelled than the census figures identify and because numerous refugees actually did return.

As for the number of Arabs - and not just Palestinian Arabs - killed in the 1948 war, the range cited is between 5,000 and 15,000. . Some percentage of those losses likely include Palestinian Arabs.

Now, you cite figures that defy imagination and fact.

mark safranski - 11/17/2006

Perhaps using a captive audience to indoctrinate rather than teach ?

These aren't adults, these are high school kids. There is an ethical obligation on the part of instructors at this level, regardless of what the issue is, not to use a classroom as a soapbox for their pet viewpoints.

Frederick Thomas - 11/17/2006

Mr. Friedman:

The figures I cite are clearly identified as the UN figures, obtained by refugee administrators. They tie into the figures asserted by witnesses on both sides, as regards the killings, though those are by their nature more uncertain than the refugees, who can stand up and be counted.

While the UN as source does not absolutely guarantee accuracy, it's the best we have, and infinitely better than the bald assertions made by hotel bombers and assassins like Begin, or mass-murderers like Shamir. You must admit that these do not make very good poster boys for human rights.

Regarding Mr. Benny Peiser, mentioned below, I believe that his source documents are a little one-sided, but at least he does not let his fellow Israelis off the hook morally.

You have an engaging style and are a fine advocate for your chosen side. I wish that could be said for more of the foam at the mouth Zionist types, who do their cause no good at all.

My apologies for the typo in Dier es Salaam, below.

N. Friedman - 11/15/2006

Mr. Simon,

I think you make some very good points.

E. Simon - 11/15/2006

Your point is well taken. At the same time, people can and should expect more accuracy from the articles than from the posters, and the accuracy on any given topic or field of interest can vary from website to website. On the other hand, you should consider that while people who are given to gross mistatements in furthering and bolstering their various hatreds, might appreciate your tone in correcting them, those dialogues may or may not lead them to further investigate the topics to a degree necessary to do anything substantial about those hatreds. And in many cases, you may be lending an air of participatory respectability to people staunchly given to hatreds that will re-emerge as suddenly as the polite nature of your topical responses suppresses them.

We are all living beneath a thin illusion of civilization and I prefer my barbarians of hatred to be exposed and to engage their hatreds nakedly in these dialogues rather than to be so easily given to airbrushing their prejudices through the respectability of polite if intelligent discourse. Respect must be earned and if they want to be engaged intelligently I believe they should phrase their posts in ways that frame the topic in a more civil manner, when beseeching your input. Call me old-fashioned.

N. Friedman - 11/15/2006

Mr. Simon,

People read this website. Allowing gross misstatements to pass unchallenged suggests that such statements might somehow be true. Hence, I answer, sometimes, the most clearly wrong such statements.

E. Simon - 11/15/2006

I'm amazed you even see a point in answering these "My Hatred of Israel is state-based and therefore not anti-semitic especially if I equivocate Israel with 'Nazis'" turdbags, given the moronic slip of that Neandertal's tongue we see above. "Dar es Salaam"! GIVE ME A BREAK!

Maybe you're right. It's just hard to see how appeals to intelligence can help with people coming from such an obviously low starting level.

N. Friedman - 11/15/2006

Mr. Thomas,

We obviously read different histories. However, 100,000 Palestinian Arabs have not died at the hands of the Israelis altogether. Not even anywhere near that number.

Further, the Israelis did not expel 1 million Palestinian Arabs; that many Palestinian Arabs did not exist. At the time of partition, there were only 809,00 Palestinian Arabs on the land that became Israel. 160,000 remained in Israel after the war. So, your figures, whether or not the above figures are precise, are extraordinary exaggerations.

The actual number of people expelled was about 50,000 people total. According to Benny Morris, "in general, Haganah and IDF commanders were not forced to confront the moral dilemma posed by expulsion; most Arabs fled before and during the battle, before the Israeli troops reached their homes and before the Israeli commanders were forced to confront the dilema." Now, in fact, people fled, in some instances, to help in the war by Arabs to, in their leaders' words, massacre the Jews.

Nice try.

Exaggeration is fun. That does not mean it is accurate.

Exaggeration is fun. That does not mean it is accurate.

Now, by the standards of what you cite for the rest - and I shall take your word for things -, what the Israelis did was small potatoes.

Yehudi Amitz - 11/15/2006

Why Cindy Sheehan is Right!
By David Duke

Yehudi Amitz - 11/15/2006

Why Cindy Sheehan is Right!
By David Duke

Carl Becker - 11/15/2006

No argument from me about Marx's position on Jews. My issue is with the accusations against Ron Francis, the teacher who I doubt anyone knows what he's really about except through a network of biased media and religious lobbies. I'm sailing against the wind on this. If Ron Francis thinks that the Palestinian reactions are understandable, that like any living organism, they are designed to survive just as the Jews are, and have that opinion by Cravatts twisted and called extremist and obsessive, well, so be it. Who’s suppressing truth and who’s cunning is all relative, it’s all absurd existentialistic crap with one side trying to turn the other around for their own ends.

Frederick Thomas - 11/15/2006

And in hades you can brown nose your mentor Stalin.

Your comments about "Lisa" are straight from the gutter, as expected. May I suggest a remedial course in English idiom, which you would flunk today?

David Duke (KKK) and Cindy Sheehan (Soros). You are kidding, right?

Mr. Amitz, you disprove in your post any claim to intelligence among Zionazis.

Frederick Thomas - 11/15/2006

Mr. Friedman,

Thank you for a reasoned post, a rarity for this subject matter. To expand a little on your points:

The US did indeed attack Afghanistan, but it was attacking a regime which was controlled by a Taliban minority which was in turn controlled by a smaller minority of Al Quaida, and which was thus constructively at war with the US after 9/11. The US did not keep the captured country, expell or kill the inhabitants, and replace them with our own, as Israel did, according to the UN commission on refugees. The approximate figures are 100,000 killed and 1,000,000 expelled, exactly as Ben Gurion had planned in 1935: 1 killed equals 10 who flee. Big difference with Iraq.

The case against Iraq is likewise. Whether the casus belli is agreed or not, and whether it was the neo-cons who made it happen behind the scenes or reasoned argument at cabinet level, there was no desire to exterminate or expel the Iraqis and insert a substitute population.

I have no idea who blew up the building in Buenos Aires, but if it was Iran they had a Herculean day. This is a society of often intelligent people who run around waving Q'Ran's and saying death to America. I am not sure whether they had the stuff to pull off an international hit such as Israel routinely does, but I doubt it.

In the late 40's when Ben Gurion, Begin and Shamir were butchering their 100,000 Palestinians, in Qiryat Sh'mona, Dar es Salem, the King David hotel, etc, there were indeed reprisals in other areas against Jews, as one might expect.

You may have cited the many examples of horrific abuse of civilians in recent history. Here are some more:

The treaty of Versailles, which starved 2-3 million Germans to death (according to Hoover, who was trying to arrange aid and was prevented). This and the dismemberment of Germany led to ethnic violence WW II.

Stalin's killings: something like 40 million over the years. I include in this the orders to rape all German women and nail the first pretty one found in a given village to a wall somewhere to make the others flee. Israel used the same technique later, except applied to men, and minus the rape.

The deliberate fire bombing of cities civilian areas by the allies during WW II.

Napoleon, who killed off an entire generation of European kids.


The things which even these, excepting the Soviet murders, shyed away from is clearing off or killing a population, and replacing them with their own. That's the problem I have with Israel.

N. Friedman - 11/15/2006

Mr. Becker,

I was not referring to Marx criticism of Antisemites. I was referring to his position about Jews and, for that matter, blacks. He was, frankly, rather bigoted.

Frederick Thomas - 11/15/2006 be at such a loss for words.

Mr. Kovachev seems to resort to the lowest level of Ziosupremicist epithets, none of them above second grade level, when he has nothing to say.

A physical threat to you, Peter? Not a chance, little boy. It would be like punching a Hitler Youth.

The above posts merely show that the Zionist claim of intelligence is, much like their myth making about Israel and the Palestinians, just so much hot air.

Peter Kovachev - 11/15/2006

Mr. Simon,

The "E" could also stand for "effort," which in the case of your attempt to shine the light of reason for Freddie is, I regret to say, totally futile.

Freddie is not stupid, he knows all that stuff, it's just that Freddie is a raging Holocaust denier and a rabid antisemite, something which even his intelligence is unable to obscure for more than a post or two. Take a look at the offal that is his record here and witness that there is nothing Jews can do apart from self-destructing one way or another that will soften Freddie's special passion.

In my case I no longer restrain my words with Freddie, that is whenever I'm bored enough to exchange a word or two, especially since he issued a clear physical threat to me a while back. Like most neo-Nazi trash out there, he has a short and violent fuse and labours under the assumption that one can spew mental vomitus and still be couited as human. The high standards of scholarly debate enforced by HNN apparently do not cover such things as blatant threats. I guess that's for our RCMP here to sort out with your security organs. For that reason, I know that I can bluntly remind Freddie about what he is, namely a filthy antisemite who should be given the finger everytime he comes out to be-crap these forums, with utter impunity. So, whenever the mood hits you, whenever you've had a bad breakfast or tiresome day at the office, feel free to vent at Freddie. It would be time well spent, as they say.

Carl Becker - 11/15/2006

There is antisemitism among left wingers as there are among right wingers

Historically, antisemitism has been identified with left wingers, but who wrote that history? Left wingers?

Carl Becker - 11/15/2006

Mr. Friedman,

I don't assume that a Jew would not be antisemitic but it is unlikely he would be.

I haven't read every single word of Marx. Just because he wrote about antisemtic Jews doesn't put the argument totally in your favor.

There is antisemitism among right wingers as there are among right wingers. Historically, this has been slanted in the US.

Maybe you should learn more about theis teacher. No one seems to go to the trouble; that's how rumors get bigger.

Professors and students should be express whatever opinions they want. Our culture is dominated by certain ideas: the ideas of patriotism, nationalism, ideas of capitalism and success in terms of wealth and prestige; students are already exposed to all sorts of ideas. Professors should be free to express their ideas because it serves as an example to students. For them to bring their ideas into the classroom is to bring their own cart to the marketplace of ideas. Professors need to express those opinions; when a professor holds back and is timid, he is setting an example of timidity in the classroom.

Barrie Lambert - 11/15/2006

My experience of a "clash of views" entertainment (for want of a better word) is that it's all to often a clash between one more or less well rehearsed liar and another. A lot like life, I suppose.

Barrie Lambert - 11/14/2006

Another, and more sensible, way to view it is, simply, as a storm in teacup; an exciting storm to be sure, with drops of tepid liquid being splashed around for a moment or two, until some benighted soul decides to fill up the cup again, plus a few more just to keep it going and, maybe, make it into an even more exciting non-event

Look at some of the arguments in the following extract from the original article, for God's sake. Sensitive to the difference between individual rights against being exposed to hate crimes, and a country's non existent right against fair, or indeed, unfair criticism, or a jounalistic psychotic episode, or what?

"If Fred Phelps from Westboro Baptist Church was invited to speak to Andover’s Gay Student Alliance, for instance, to preach his world view that includes such subtle observations as “God hates fags,” or the Aryan Nation had been asked to share their opinions with the school’s Diversity Club or Middle East Club (for which Francis serves as advisor), no one would be having this discussion and Mr. OATERS would not be bemoaning any threat to anyone’s evaporating First Amendment Rights. It is only when the subject of derision is Israel that any speech—no matter how hateful, historically inaccurate, or anti-Semitic at its cores acceptable in high schools and on campuses. While it is still not acceptable in civil social circles to publicly express Jew hatred, at least in America, it has become very convenient for anti-Semites that they are able to express what David Rum has termed their “genocidal liberalism” by aiming their crypto-hatreds at Israel, instead, by relentlessly condemning it and calling for its eradication."

So criticising/hating Israel as a specifically Jewish state - because it IS a self consciously Jewish state operating exclusions policies, currently with 20% or so of its existing population under threat of ethnic cleansing by its new deputy prime minister because they just ain't Jewish - is needlessly unkind. Israel is a state which continues to illegally occupy its neighbours' territory with US support and despite numerous UN resolutions, attacking them militarily (and murderously) at will, just as Israel also attacks the territory of its unoccupied neighbours as well, inter alia, yet to Mr Cravatts attacking the policies and behaviour of Israel is seen at best as a declaration of anti-Semitism to some, or downright old fashioned Jew hating to others. Wierd stuff to any rational mind, I would have thought.

Mr Francis’ continued existence in post is the only thing which comes out well from this otherwise tawdry and sensationalised piece of inflammatory journalism. One moral, though, physicists are trained to assess hard evidence: useful in the case of Israel especially when the Jewish lobby is breathing heavily down your neck, so why not make sure that your school employs a full complement of well trained physicists with an interest in the broader world?.

Or am I missing something?

E. Simon - 11/14/2006

I love Francis' claim that Hamas suffers from, basically, a problem of media bias - i.e. it's essentially an image thing.

The cognitive dissonance it takes to believe that is discrediting enough of his presented case of just wanting to be "balanced." Give me a break. If that's the other perspective America has to be more accomodating to in order to be more objective, then may we never be as two-sided, balanced and unpatriotic as Mr. Becker would hope us to be. The other name for creating false equivalences between two different sides is equivocation - the real version of which, appeals to balance should take as a given. Hamas' position is nowhere near as defensible as the Israeli narrative. Nor does it encompass or allow for as much detail and divergent conclusions and opinion. There's something to be said for that alone.

N. Friedman - 11/14/2006

Mr. Becker,

Why would you think that a Jew could not be an Antisemite? You evidently never read any of Marx's writings about Jews and "Jew-niggers." There were even some Jews who supported Hitler. And, both people on the Left and the Right can be Antisemitic. As for the Left, the USSR was fanatically Antisemitic over the course of decades. Antisemitism among right wingers requires no reference as it is, historically, too well known to deny.

Now, I know nothing about the noted teacher. However, people who refer to Israel as the "apartheid Zionist regime" are more than likely Jew haters.

N. Friedman - 11/14/2006

Mr. Thomas,

You claim that Israel behaves different from other countries. On your telling, "Perhaps Israel should have responded to military attack with a military counterattack against the attackers, as a civilized country would have done."

We should put to the test what civilized countries do. Let us try our own country, which I, for one, believe to be civilized. After the 9/11 attack, we attacked Afghanistan, which had not attacked us. We overthrew the government in that country as it was complicit with bin Laden by allowing him to have training camps and a center of operation in Afghanistan. Then, the US, along with some countries not attacked, such as those paragon of civilization, Britain, Spain and Italy, attacked Iraq, which had not attacked us and was not even a base for bin Laden's group.

On the other side of the world, Iran, which does not like Israel, rather than attacking Israel directly, attacked Jews living in Argentina. In fact, evidently, the former president of the country was involved, as he was indicted and there is a subpoena for his to appear in Argentina.

Russia, upset with a separatist movement among people in Chechnya, destroyed much of Chechnya, without discriminating between friend or foe.

In the 1940's and 1950's (and after that as well), Arabs, angry at Israel, turned on their Jewish neighbors and drove them away, most of whom ended up in Israel.

So, has Israel behaved differently than other civilized countries? It would seem to me that Israel's actions are comparable to the US attack on Afghanistan. By no stretch of the imagination has Israel behaved in an unusual manner by world standards or by the standards of so-called civilized countries.

You say that Israel has engaged in mass killing of civilians from the start. It seems to me that the US killed more Iraqis in a few weeks of war in 2003 than have died in all the wars fought between Israel and its various enemies. And, since the war in Iraq began to this day's date, the US has killed many, many times more people than have died in all of Israel's wars.

You, of course, are entitled to magnify Israel's sins to your heart's content. But, the annals of history do not remotely support your contentions.

Yehudi Amitz - 11/14/2006

In Tehran you will be able to brown-nose Ahmedinejad.
About the bones Lisa has in her body, I am not privy to the details of her private life, as you are. Another proof that people alike come together, like David Duke loving Cindy Sheehan the same as you and Lisa.

Carl Becker - 11/14/2006

These charges against Ron Francis are likely false and have been blown out of proportion up by far Right-wing pundits and websites like Frontpage Mag. There is a former member of SMEJ involved in this who is also Jewish, who would disagree with this douch-bag who calls himself a Ph-D a lecturer, perennial hater himself: of the Left, among other things. So here he is parading crap disguised as scholarship. Talk about one-side views. Views about the Jewish-Palestinian conflict have always been one-sided in America, promoted by powerful Jewish lobbies, and any dissenting opinion is shot down using patriotism and other isms as cover for their simple-minded hypocrisy because anyone who disagrees is a Nazi.

One former student at Andover who worked for Francis gives his account:

E. Simon - 11/14/2006

I suppose it takes one who relies only on epithets (such as Zionazi) to know which of them work, right Fred? This says a lot for someone like yourself who is as apparently as fond as you are of the term "Nazi."

I am wondering if you could enlighten us on what specifically Palestinian vision of the civilized world it is that you invite others to join you in being a part of?

E. Simon - 11/14/2006

Which of your thick-headed insinuations is anyone endorsing, let alone cheering on?

Nazi Germany was a human rights disaster and no one called for Germany's reunciation to its political right to exist as a nation.

E stands for capable of "Engaging" brain.

It's hard to comprehend what kind of cognitive dissonance allows one to appeal to human rights and rail against evil, while nonchalantly welcoming a nuclear policide/genocide, but I guess that kind of hair-brained positioning is not meant to be reconciled with comprehension anyway.

Frederick Thomas - 11/14/2006

...says Mr. Amitz against Ms. Kazmier, who probably hasn't got a hateful bone in her body. Look in the mirror, bubba.

Shows the desperation of the Zionazi contingent. Not a single one of their schoolyard ephithets works any more. What's a little Zionist to do? Kill more Palestinian kids? How about joining the civilized world for a change?

Frederick Thomas - 11/14/2006

Just give it up, old boy. You've lost bad. Israel has been a human rights disaster from its beginning to today.

It has totally poisoned the discourse in the Middle East and Europe, and subverted US foreign policy to evil ends. It never should have happened, was handled in the most primitive and cruel way, and will come to an evil end, perhaps among high radiometer readings. But the little soldiers like yourself just keep marching on like robots, parroting the party line and cheering lustily whenever lots of civilians are killed.

Whew. What does E stand for?

Jason Blake Keuter - 11/14/2006

The most annoying thing about this kind of situation is the tendency to respond to controvery over politicizing the curriculum by simply inviting in someone who "disagrees" with the fanatical, fact- deprived view. Under the guise of "free speech" one half of a platform is given to people who have no business being on it. The whole show is cast as a "clash of views" when in point of fact, it's generally a clash between someone who is credible and liars. The relativistic canard is thrown out about "who" decides what is truth and what is fiction? Someone of good faith and intellectual integrity will do that and should deny a voice to propagandists. In no way does this deny them free speech, any more than not assigning reading from "www.iliveinmymother'" is denial of free speech.

E. Simon - 11/13/2006

Well, she also doesn't seem to distinguish between criticism and hatred, so at least one can't conclude that her confusion is necessarily selective. But then again, most kinds of antipathy also tend to be of a generalized nature.

The mere fact that she presumes Carter even has a clue in his pronouncements on these sorts of things is pretty telling, as well.

mark safranski - 11/13/2006


One can be critical, sharply critical in fact, of Israeli policies without being either an anti-semite or anti-American.

On the other hand, enthusiastically cheering the idea of Israel's destruction, no doubt along with a substantial portion of Israel's population ( though admittedly few anti-semites are willing to call for genocide in public, other than avowed Nazis and radical Islamists) indicates that the speaker is an anti-semite, if the word is to have any meaning at all.

Why HNN, a fine site devoted to historical argument, has attracted such a substantial number of twisted Jew-haters in their comment section,is beyond me. Isn't there some kind of Julius Streicher fan site out there that would be more to their taste for them to congregate and exchange conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial mythology ?

Yehudi Amitz - 11/13/2006

Denying the right of self-determination to the Jews is pure and simple hate, so your "add on" here is normal.

Lisa Kazmier - 11/13/2006

It occurred to me that one unexamined assumption of this article/diatribe is the lumping of being a hater of Israel and hater of America. Why are the two synonomous? Apparently one can't be a critic of Israel without hating America, according to this author's thinking. It sounds pretty simplistic, among other things.

And I agree that Israel's moral standing has suffered in recent years, which has given more fuel to critics. The other assumption here is that Zionism and Israel are one and the same and I thought the point of Carter's peace initiative was to separate the two -- that Israel can exist but more harmoniously in its region.

E. Simon - 11/13/2006

Or they could direct misanthropes like Thomas to such "alternative" news sources as Reuters, or whichever outlet allowed Photoshopped and staged photos to help show the public what journalism meant to them.

Also, Frederick, its "Israelis," not "Zionists." The "Zionists" already achieved their objective 58 years ago of achieving Jewish political autonomy in their homeland. I know this bristles your tender, if ill-informed Mid-Eastern sensitivities, but seeing as how the U.N. has long since sanctioned the decision it took to approve that, won't you kindly be more honest in disclosing how your alternate, personal agenda has an uphill battle to be won in the legitimacy department. Misusing language to mislead others is surely something best left to different sorts of clods than yourself, right?

I fully anticipate your extensive and undoubtedly expert military analysis of what occurs in conflicts between Israel and Lebanon. The legal analysis, as we can already see, clearly could stand some brushing up in the "pretending you know jacks--t of what you're talking about" department.

Yehudi Amitz - 11/13/2006

Maybe has something to do with biases.

Frederick Thomas - 11/13/2006

Perhaps Israel should have responded to military attack with a military counterattack against the attackers, as a civilized country would have done.

Instead, true to form, Israel attacked population centers all over Lebanon and killed civilians almost exclusively, which was disproportionate and crassly immoral to the point of near genocide.

Ms. Paul's comments on Israel losing the moral high ground are valid. On the other hand, Israel has engaged in mass killings of civilians from the start, Zionist spin notwithstanding.

The difference is that now Zionists' near-total control of mass media has crumbled all over the world. It was a particular loss to Zionists when they lost Europe's press and intelligencia. There is almost no one left to blindly parrot their propaganda anymore. Poor Zionists. Whatever will they do now? Kill a few hundred more kids in Gaza perhaps?

Peter August Kurilecz - 11/13/2006

And what should Israel have done about the rockets fired by Hezbollah on Israel? Sit back and shake its head and wag their finger?

Lorraine Paul - 11/13/2006

Perhaps Israel lost the moral high-ground when it attacked Lebanon. A lot of people sympathetic to Israel's validity as a state were shocked.