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June 24, 2015 3:02 pm

Israel Project to Drexel University: Drop Honors for Chomsky

avatar by Paul Miller / JNS.org

Noam Chomsky at World Social Forum. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr.

Noam Chomsky at World Social Forum. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr.

JNS.org – The U.S.-based Israel education group The Israel Project (TIP) on Friday sent an email asking supporters to sign a petition urging Philadelphia’s Drexel University, “Don’t honor hate. Withdraw your award to hateful extremist Noam Chomsky.”

Earlier this month, Chomsky was presented with an honorary degree at Drexel’s ceremony for master’s degree graduates. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology emeritus professor in linguistics has been an outspoken advocate for far-left political policies for half a century. The 86-year-old Chomsky is also one of the most outspoken anti-Israel activists. He has gone as far asembracing the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah and calling the policies of the Gaza-ruling terrorist organization Hamas “preferable to the policies of America and Israel.” The Hamas charter calls for the annihilation of Israel and Jewish people.

“Mistakes aren’t forever,” a TIP spokesperson told the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. “Drexel University has the opportunity to repair some of the damage that has been done by honoring Noam Chomsky. The first step is withdrawing the award.”

The TIP “action alert” on Chomsky was emailed to supporters andshared on the organization’s Facebook page, reminding followers that Chomsky has been criticized for:

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  • Saying that America and Europe were “the source of far worse terrorism” than al-Qaeda and 9/11
  • Saying Hamas’s policies were “preferable to the policies of America and Israel”
  • Saying that after World War II there existed a “‘secret army’ under U.S.-Nazi auspices” as part of “the U.S.-Nazi alliance”
  • Repeatedly playing down Pol Pot’s genocide of millions of Cambodians, at one point referring to it as mere “executions” that “have numbered at most in the thousands”
  • Suggesting Israel’s actions in Gaza were a campaign of extermination
  • Saying President George W. Bush’s “crimes… vastly exceed [Osama] Bin Laden’s”

Chomsky was among 15 people honored by Drexel at this year’s commencement ceremonies. Niki Gianakaris, the university’s director of media relations, told the Salomon Center in an emailed statement that honoring Chomsky “is consistent with academia’s tradition of recognizing those from a wide variety of fields—with a broad spectrum of perspectives—who have made significant contributions to education, business, science, and civic and cultural institutions.”

“The awarding of honorary degrees does not in any way indicate endorsement of a recipient’s opinions,” Gianakaris said, adding, “As a scientist, Chomsky’s work is at the forefront of his discipline, and he is often described as the ‘father of modern linguistics.’ As a political philosopher and activist, he is widely read and debated, especially with regard to U.S. and Israeli foreign policy. He has been voted the ‘world’s top public intellectual’ in a poll by the magazines Foreign Policy and Prospect.”

TIP said it has received thousands of names in response to its email campaign on Chomsky. The names were delivered to Drexel’s Office of the President on Monday.

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