Academic freedom is the principle informing academic debate that protects scholars who pursue controversial topics against any professional repercussions. Matthew Abraham argues that academic freedom has never existed around the Question of Palestine and explains why this is. While academic freedom has been endangered by social-political forces outside the university system since 9/11, there is reason to believe it has never existed for those scholars critical of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is particularly true when those scholars turn their critical insights upon the role American Zionists play in debates about the U.S.-Israel "special relationship".When such advocacy in support of international law collides with powerful pro-Israel interest groups and intransigent belief systems within U.S. culture, an important lesson is learned: despite protestations to the contrary, the U.S. academy plays a pivotal role in disguising - or worse, actively contributing to - the war crimes of the U.S. and its client states.
This is a powerful and measured work that will appeal to anyone concerned with issues of freedom of speech as well as academics and students involved in Middle-East studies.
Matthew Abraham is an assistant professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse at DePaul University in Chicago. His work has appeared in Cultural Critique, the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, the Journal of Advanced Composition, College Composition and Communication, Logos: A Journal of Modern Society and Culture, and Postmodern Culture. He was the 2005 Rachel Corrie Courage in the Teaching of Writing award winner.