http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=519498 Since Vietnam, Israel has become the heartbeat of U.S. foreign policy and a litmus test of what can be debatedâ€”and even of who will be allowed to speakâ€”on university campuses. This year, the Congress of the University and College Unionâ€”the British lecturersâ€™ unionâ€”proposed a boycott of Israeli universities and academics for what it regards as their complicity in 40 years of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. This boycott has its counterpart in a decades-old U.S. practice of threatening, defaming, or censoring scholars who dare to criticize Israel. Two years ago at Harvard, a social scientist who was the most widely cited in his area of study but who had, in a popular book, criticized the U.S.-Israel alliance, became the subject of insinuations that he was anti-Semiticâ€”insinuations that were likely fatal to his candidacy. In recent years, at least three professorsâ€”Oxfordâ€™s Tom Paulin, DePaulâ€™s Norman Finkelstein, and Rutgersâ€™ Robert Triversâ€”have been invited to speak at Harvard and then disinvited after complaints that they had spoken critically of Israel or disagreed sharply with Harvard Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz regarding Israelâ€™s military conduct. In a 2006 faculty meeting, Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature Ruth R. Wisse vocalized the underlying rationale of such censorship as few other professors have dared. Denying that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are separate phenomena, she declared anti-Zionismâ€”that is, the rejection of the racially-based claim that Jewish people have a collective right to Palestineâ€”the worst kind of anti-Semitism. For such defenders of Israel, any acknowledgment that Zionism in principle and in practice violates Palestinian rights is tantamount to an endorsement of the Holocaust. But is it anti-Semitic to ask why the Palestinians should pay the price for the ghastly crime of the Germans? Why were the property rights of the German perpetrators sacrosanct and those of the guiltless Palestinians adjudged an acceptable casualty? In U.S. foreign policy, not all racial groups are guaranteed the same rights and protections. Otherwise, why does the U.S. rightly defend Jewish peopleâ€™s claims on European bank accounts, property, and compensation for labor expropriated during the 1930s and 1940s, while quashing the rights of millions of Palestinians refugees to lands, houses, and goods stolen as a condition of Israelâ€™s founding in the late 1940s? As a nation we seem unconscious of the hypocrisy. The convention that persecuted Europeans had the right to safe havens on lands stolen from non-Europeans was, by the mid-20th century, as outmoded as the Confederacyâ€™s defense of slavery in the mid-19th. However, what follows is the most important question for the health of the academic and moral community that we share here at Harvard: How can one engage in a critical and nonetheless loving conversation about Zionism with a community as gravely traumatized as the Jewish people? The question has become particularly difficult to answer since Harvardâ€™s previous president publicly declared that petitions against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza were a form of anti-Semitism, comparable to vandalizing Jewish gravestones. ...In my country, people tremble in the fear of losing their friends, jobs, advertising revenues, campaign contributions, and alumni donations if they question Zionism or Israeli policyâ€”despite the billions of our tax dollars paid annually for Israelâ€™s defense and sustenance. Even the Israeli military hosts freer debates about this issue than any U.S. university does. One result: Israel has now withdrawn from Gaza, an action that Summers slammed Harvard and MIT professors as anti-Semitic for even contemplating. ...Thus, my concerns about Zionism are motivated by neither pro-Arab nor anti-Jewish bias, but by the fear that those who dismiss all anti-Zionism as anti-Semitismâ€”or, equally often, as Jewish self-hatredâ€”risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Israelâ€™s defenders convince the world that all legitimately Jewish people are Zionists and that Jewish people are uniform in their opinions about Israel and its policies, then the convinced will conclude that condemning Israel or its policies requires them to hate Jewish people.