Eminent Literature Professor Calls Warm Welcome of Anti-Israel Poet at US, UK Universities Symptom of Campus ‘Culture of Destroyers Silencing Culture of Builders’
World-renowned Harvard University professor emeritus Ruth Wisse told The Algemeiner on Thursday that the warm welcome extended to anti-Israel poet Remi Kanazi by US and British universities is a symptom of the “culture of destroyers silencing the culture of builders on today’s campuses.”
Wisse — distinguished senior fellow at the Tikvah Fund and the former Martin Peretz professor of Yiddish literature and professor of comparative literature at Harvard – was referring to Kanzi’s ongoing appearances on campus, most recently for Israeli Apartheid Week programming Thursday at Smith College.
Kanazi, a Palestinian-American who sits on the organizing collective of the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, has encouraged “fierce resistance” against the “Israeli occupation,” accused Israel of having “methodically butchered” children,” called Zionism an ideology of “calculated racism” and mocked the Holocaust.
His appearance late last month at the University of Iowa was heavily debated in the pages of the school paper The Daily Iowan, with one Jewish student defending Kanazi as doing “[t]he job of a poet” and “facilitat[ing] dialogue.” Others found the event “troubling,” particularly in light of those behind the event including such “influential bodies” as the English department.
Neither the chair of the the University of Iowa’s English department nor Kanazi’s team immediately responded to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.