Henry Stark, professor emeritus of the Rensselaer Polytechnic University in Troy, sent The Jewish World a copy of the letter that he recently sent to the promotion and tenure Committee of the University of Richmond, Va. He wrote:
Dear P and T Committee:
In a remarkable display of bizarre logic and hatred for the State of Israel, Prof. Erik Nielson of your university, argues in his Op-Ed piece for the New York Times (August 13, 2018) that there is a significant risk in silencing Hate Speech. That such a claim is made by an academic with a powerful ability to influence, young, impressionable minds ̶ such as the students at your highly-rated college ̶ is cause for concern.
Nielson doesn’t like that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has identified that 25 percent of 954 “Hate Groups” (his quotes) are “black nationalists” (again his quotes). What do you do when you don’t like the data? Well, you do what demagogues do, you put quotes around it and you call it dubious without giving reasons why you think the data is tainted. This from a professor that, presumably, teaches reason and fairness.
Nielson endorses the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) widely regarded as anti-Semitic by almost all reasonable people. He doesn’t say it but hints at a pro-Jewish cabal in the New York State Senate, how else explain that they severely restrict funding for student groups that foster BDS. The fact is that they restrict such funding because BDS, largely a black and Palestinian initiative by Nielson’s own admission, is by itself a hate-movement.
Finally, even if you are willing to forgive Nielson’s incursions against Israel and the SPLC, you cannot forgive him for the essence of his argument: that hateful people like Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, an incendiary racist and anti-Semite should be tolerated and, presumably, be allowed to continue spewing his racist trash, because he occasionally does good things—like organizing the Million Man March in 1995.
By that reasoning Hitler should have been tolerated and allowed to carry on with his mission because he built the Autobahn.
Seriously, would you want your child to be taught by this man?