Monday, May 28, 2007

Shiraz Dossa, In His Own Words

In December 2006, Shiraz Dossa, a tenured professor at Nova Scotia's St. Francis Xavier University, turned up at what was widely labelled a Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran, and caught shit for it from varius media pundits, including John Ibbitson and Rex Murphy, with Mr. Ibbitson demanding that Mr. Dossa be fired. Now Mr. Dossa has responded to his critics with a rather convincing piece in the Literary Review Of Canada. He defends both his trip to Tehran and his specialty, the study of how the Holocaust functions within Israeli and Western propooganda. My favorite bit:

"It was followed by a declaration of war on me by its “pundits” John Ibbitson and Rex Murphy, dilettantes extraordinaire on the Holocaust and the Middle East. Neither of these journalists has credibility in either field. Ibbitson hectored me in his usual CNN mode, got most things wrong and casually libelled me in the process.4 Since 9/11, he hasn’t let up on Islam or Muslims. Murphy, in his column “Eichmann in Tehran,” displayed his cerebral deficits and his ignorance of Islam, Iran and Hannah Arendt with enviable facility.5 Like Ibbitson, Murphy impresses those intellectually just a cut above the Trailer Park Boys. It is worth noting that these Christian boys have unlimited latitude in The Globe and Mail to trash Muslims even as they defend “civilization,” Israel and Jews."

Actually, I think this libels the Trailer Park Boys. After all, Julian and Ricky speak in clear, simple English, where it probably takes Rex Murphy forty five minutes to order a cheese-burger at MacDonalds.


Ti-Guy said...

When this was all the outrage du jour, I did in fact think Ibbitson and Murphy were abusing their public pulpit; I wonder if Dossa can sue them?

The issue of academic freedom is thorny, but the discussion on the limits of that freedom is appropriately held within the confines of the institution and the academic community at large; any asshole can have an opinion about it of course, but when you command a place in the public forum, it's irresponsible to start calling for people's heads without knowing what the hell you're talking about. There was no way Ibbitson and Murphy could have had all the information they needed at the time to start calling for people to lose their jobs and/or to bluster incoherently.

Oh well...Ibbitson's been shipped off to Washington to steer G&M readers' toward a more conciliatory reaction to the inevitable crash-and-burn of America's rightwingers (he seems intent on humanising religious nutcases and ethically-challenged and morally-vacuous Repulicans) and Rex Murphy seems to be in full-blown dotage.

Maybe they can try to re-balance things by calling for Philippe Rushton to be burned at the stake?

Jay said...


Good one on Rex. I have had the displeasure to be stuck on very cramped planes out of Newfoundland with him. Probably the only time I had wanted to be in a plane crash.

Rex is a tired old crank, so full of piss and vinegar that I don't know why they parade it on tv weekly.

Anonymous said...

Good for you jay, we always knew you were a Rhode's scholar.

So which Liberal leadership candidate was Dossa backing?

Ti-Guy said...

I imagine he was backing Wajid Khan. Don't all them Muslimoids stick together?

Roundhead said...

"rather convincing case" huh?

-attack your critics as "Jews"
-declare columnists who condemn your Holocaust denial as "islamophones"
-invoke Juan Cole to deny what no one else does, that Iranian asshole said he wants Israel wiped off the map
-and get praised by Big City Lib!

how easy you are, bigcity guy, you don't even need to get drunk to get seduced...

Anonymous said...

The fevered burst of furious anti anti semitism that strangely slides over into plain anti semitism is still pretty tame stuff when you take a look at the Israelis at work. May 30 the Jerusalem Post featured quotes from a letter a prominent Rabbi had sent to the Israeli PM. Mordechai Eliyahu RULED that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive in Gaza aimed at stopping the Rocket launchings. So now crimes against humanity have a hand made Biblical authority. If there are bad men in the city you can kill every man woman and child with religious impunity. After all, the Palestinians have killed 23 persons with their rockets in the past year (the Israelis have klled nearly 700). This prominent newspaper also publishes some very extreme letters such as one on June 1 suggesting that Hamas "detainees" be placed in an open field where quite a few of the rockets have landed.
So those who advocate the same unlimited criminal violence against a subject population and amuse themselves with humor the like of what you could see in the Germany of 1939, get all flustered about how terrible it is that Dossa was at a conference where a few rejected viewpoints were heard. Take a look at the blog Angry in the Great White North to see these Israeli lobbyists at work. Not even at closing time Friday night at the Kamloops legion could such murderous wits be found. They KNOW they are burping up BS with their beer; Angry and his pals may not.