B’nai Brith smear campaign against Anthony Hall reflects worsening threat to academic freedom


anthony-hall

Hall on the campus of the University of Lethbridge shortly after learning of his suspension.

October 12, 2016

By Craig McKee

Over his long and impressive academic career, Professor Anthony Hall has helped us all better understand how crises can be manufactured to manipulate public perception of narratives that serve the interests of established power.

Now, he is the victim of one of those contrived crises.

In the latest of a growing list of glaring assaults on academic freedom, Hall has been suspended without pay from his tenured teaching position at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada where he has taught for 26 years. As the result of an obviously faked and planted Facebook post, he has become the focus of a smear campaign by the Jewish lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, which is accusing him of being an “anti-Semitic Holocaust denier.”

The post appeared on Hall’s Facebook page in August without his knowledge. It featured an orthodox Jewish man being assaulted and was accompanied by text that called for the killing of all Jews. The face of the man actually doing the assaulting in the original photograph was “photoshopped” out and replaced by the face of cartoonist Ben Garrison, whose name also appears at the bottom of the text. The name of the person who made the post was given as Glen Davidson.

Hall has denied posting this and has said he was not even aware it had been there until well after its removal by Facebook. And indeed it would make no sense for Hall to make the post given that it does not reflect his views and it would be guaranteed to invite the very attacks he is now enduring. (It is worth noting a revelation reported on The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald that Facebook has been co-operating with the Israeli government to censor posts it claims to be “hate speech.”)

In an article on his web site American Herald Tribune, Hall writes: “What is behind the creation of the original post that set the controversy in motion? Who created it and why? Is this whole episode an engineered crisis?”

He goes on to question the purpose of the post itself and its text: “Quite possibly by design, the miniscule, densely compressed text is very difficult to read especially on small digital devices. Could this attribute be because the text was conceived not as a means of winning adherents but rather as a justification for political actions like the B’nai Brith’s current hate speech campaign highlighting my academic position at the University of Lethbridge?”

Hall’s suspension is pending an investigation by the university into whether the professor of liberal education and globalization studies has violated the Alberta Human Rights Act. In a statement released last week, the university did not offer details about how Hall is alleged to have violated the Act, nor will the administration offer further comment. Hall has retained a lawyer.

It is ironic that the university is looking into Hall’s potential violations of the Human Rights Act when it is Hall whose rights are being denied.

“This whole experience is causing me to say that academic freedom is menaced in Canada,” he said in an interview with Truth and Shadows.

B’nai Brith Canada, which is an affiliate of the worldwide organization B’nai Brith International, doesn’t seem at all concerned with whether Hall actually made the post. The organization has at the least grabbed the opportunity to push ahead with a nasty and slanderous campaign to get Hall fired from his teaching position. They initiated a petition calling for this and even got the Lethbridge police to look into the matter. Police determined no laws had been broken and closed the file.

“We must not allow the precedent to be set that there are things we can and cannot talk about,” Hall asserted. “Implicit in that is that universities become a place where we can’t have a questioning mentality because that might cause people to look at information that might be embarrassing to those in power.”

Hall says terms like “anti-Semitic,” “Holocaust denier,” “conspiracy theorist,” and even “9/11 truther” are weaponized terms that are used to discredit a person or point of view without any reference to actual evidence.

Hall co-hosts the podcast False Flag Weekly News with Kevin Barrett and is editor-in-chief of American Herald Tribune. He has also contributed to Truth and Shadows. He is the author of two widely praised volumes: The American Empire and the Fourth World (2005) and Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism (2010). Hall has tirelessly raised awareness of the plight of North America’s indigenous people.

This is the post in question.

This is the post in question. The face on the left has been photoshopped in and is the face of cartoonist Ben Garrison, who has confirmed he did not create the post.

In his writings and public statements, Hall has apparently committed an unpardonable sin: he has criticized the ideology of Zionism and the extreme human rights violations committed by the State of Israel. He has stood up for the right of anyone to discuss and debate any subject – including the Holocaust. In Canada, of course, you can actually go to prison for challenging this. This is also true in a number of other countries, including Germany. In the U.S., you may not risk jail but you can have your livelihood taken away for this and for much less. (For some examples, see the sidebar at the end of this article.)

The university administration, and president Michael Mahon in particular, have been worse than weak through all this, making no attempt whatsoever to stand up for academic freedom, let alone freedom of speech.

A petition calling for the resignation of university board of governors chairman Kurt E. Schlachter now has more than 350 signatories. From the petition:

“On October 4, 2016, tenured Professor Anthony Hall was unlawfully disciplined by the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

“This followed external accusations made by virulent Israel lobby groups, echoed by national media. The accusation was about a third-party post in a thread on the professor’s personal Facebook page.

“The Chair of the Board of Governors of the university, Mr. Kurt E. Schlachter, has failed to prevent or to correct the unlawful discipline of Professor Hall…”

In a meeting with Hall on Sept. 26 (which did not include Mahon), university officials told him that it was time the university and he “go their separate ways.” Hall says the university handbook contains a provision that allows for the dismissal of a tenured professor if both sides are in agreement. This is clearly not the case here.

“As I am being smeared and defamed, the U of L is also being smeared and defamed, and the intelligent thing to do would be to join forces, not become acrimonious,” Hall said.

Support for Hall has come this week from the University of Lethbridge Faculty Association in the form of a statement by association president Andrea Amelinckx.

“We call on the board of governors of the University of Lethbridge to ensure that the allegations that have been made against professor Hall are investigated with the speed and thoroughness they deserve, using the legal and contractual procedures already in place in the Post Secondary Learning Act and the contract with the Faculty Association.

“The president’s [Michael Mahon] action violates provincial law and contravenes the university’s contract with its faculty, which provides a process for investigating complaints, such as those alleged against professor Hall, in a fair, speedy, and thorough fashion.”

Media take predictable stance

The mainstream media have been predictably complicit in the attack on Hall, using the “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory” meme and the unfounded claim that he is a Holocaust denier.

Now magazine in Toronto carried a hit piece on Hall written by Bernie Farber, the executive director of the Mosaic Institute, whose mission statement reads: “The Mosaic Institute is a ‘think and do’ tank that creates platforms for learning and dialogue among diverse Canadian communities to advance justice, promote peace, and reduce conflict.”

In the article, we see familiar ad hominem attacks: “Hall gives every appearance of being both a conspiracy nutter and a classic anti-Semite.”

When Farber writes, “gives every appearance,” that’s code for “I don’t have to back this up with anything specific.”

Farber writes about how Facebook did not remove the offending post initially but later reconsidered: “Following a backlash on social media, Facebook sheepishly admitted it had erred in its assessment and the post was removed. To the best of my knowledge, Hall was never moved to delete this post himself.”

How would Farber know what Hall was and was not “moved” to do since he never contacted him?

Finally, the article connects anti-Semitism with challenges to the 9/11 official story.

“Like any good Jew-hater, Hall also engages in Jewish conspiracy theories. In 2009, after giving speech at the University of Manitoba, Hall reportedly linked Israel’s intelligence service, Mossad, with 9/11.”

Hall believes that 9/11 was a false flag operation.

Hall believes that 9/11 was a false flag operation.

Is it really necessary to point out what is wrong with this statement? If you examine evidence that points to an Israeli involvement in 9/11, then you are engaging in “Jewish conspiracy theories.” And if you are doing that, you must be a “Jew hater.”

The message is simple: say anything critical of Israel and we will brand you an anti-Semitic bigot. Speak out publicly against actions of Israel and we will destroy your reputation and, if possible, your career.

Hall was interviewed on radio by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (an unsympathetic interview by host David Gray: here in its raw form and here the edited version that aired). In one article on the CBC web site, police are quoted as calling the post that appeared on Hall’s page “offensive and inappropriate” but confirmed that it did not meet the standard in the Criminal Code of Canada for “advocating genocide or public incitement of hatred.”

Police also confirmed that the post came not from Hall but from a third party.

The CBC article implies that one of Hall’s offences is that he is “alleged to be promoting conspiracy theories.” How can any reasonable human being think that “promoting conspiracy theories” is something that should put one’s academic career at risk? And what does it even mean? Conspiracies take place all the time, and the conspirators make every effort to keep them hidden from public view. Anyone who points this out, it would seem, does so at their own risk.

On hand at the CBC radio interview was American activist Jeremy Rothe-Kushel (he shot the raw video of the interview), who is fighting a battle of his own. He was arrested in May for simply asking a follow-up question of the featured speaker at an event at a library in Kansas City, Missouri (more on that at the end of this article).

The Lethbridge Herald, in an article by J.W. Schnarr, wrote that Hall was being investigated “in light of ongoing claims involving the alleged spread of conspiracy theories and anti-Zionist propaganda.”

Anti-Zionist propaganda? Apparently, it’s only propaganda when you oppose Zionism. If you support it, then you’re fine. And, once again, you can accuse someone of spreading conspiracy theories without even having to define what you mean by that.

The Canadian Jewish News put it similarly, writing that Hall had been suspended for “disseminating Zionist conspiracy theories and encouraging speculation about the Holocaust.”

Shimon Fogel, the CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, praised the university for suspending Hall, adding that this “has affirmed that academic freedom does not include the right to promote hateful conspiracy theories.”

Hateful conspiracy theories? What is and isn’t hateful is in the eye of the beholder, it seems to me. It appears that anyone can say anything negative they want about a Muslim country that Israel considers its enemy. You can call Palestinians terrorists, or accuse countries like Iran, Libya, or Syria of state terrorism, and no one will bat an eye. But condemn Israel for its well-documented and decades-old history of state terrorism and its horrific treatment of the Palestinians then you have to deal with pro-Israel groups accusing you of spreading “hateful conspiracy theories.” It’s double standardism carried to a ridiculous but widespread extreme.

Academics have been coming to Hall’s defense and writing to U of L president Michael Mahon. One is retired English literature professor Robin Mathews:

“… the University of Lethbridge should realize that if steps were taken to forge a fraudulent image to post on the Facebook page of Professor Hall without his even knowing it was posted there – then attempts to slander and harm him may be in full spate.  The University of Lethbridge and President Michael J. Mahon simply cannot be complicit in such activity.  They cannot be seen or appear to be seen as complicit in planned activity intended to slander, harm, and destroy a member of their community.”

Retired Dalhousie University professor Dr. M.R. Islam points out that much more diligence should have been exercised by the university in even opening an investigation into this case:

“A tenured professor cannot be suspended as a precautionary measure. No, you don’t need to be a lawyer to understand this. You need just a bit of conscience and some ability to read the articles in a collective agreement. And no, accusations by an interest group about the persona of a professor doesn’t form the basis for even starting an investigation.”

It seems that in this age of creeping or maybe galloping McCarthyism you risk being drummed out of your job for criticizing Israel, condemning Zionism, or even challenging the official story of 9/11.

For academic freedom to exist, and regular old freedom of speech to exist for the rest of us, every person without exception must have the right, and assert it, to question anything, including the Holocaust, including actions by the State of Israel, and including 9/11, in any combination.

***

Other careers attacked or under attack

There have been a number of notable instances recently of educators and others being fired and even arrested for their political statements.

  • Steven Salaita sued University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after the university revoked an offer professorship as a result of comments he made on social media that were highly critical of Israel. Salaita received a settlement of $875,000 from the school. Including legal fees, the case cost the school more than $2 million.
  • Joy Karega, an assistant professor of rhetoric and composition, was suspended with pay in August by Oberlin College in Ohio for posts she made on Facebook charging that Israel and Zionists were behind 9/11 and the Charlie Hebdo event. The suspension came a full six months after the college learned of the posts.
  • As mentioned above, Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was arrested after asking author and diplomat Dennis Ross about the use of state-sponsored terrorism by the U.S. and Israel. When he tried to ask a second question a private security guard grabbed his arm and pulled him away. (You can see the incident here.) The guard and an off-duty police officer, both hired by the Jewish Community Foundation, pulled Rothe-Kushel out of the room and then arrested him. He has been charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. Steve Woolfolk, director of public programming for the library, tried to intervene and he was charged with interfering with an arrest. He says he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his knee when a police officer kneed him in the leg. Rothe-Kushel said he would have left on his own had he been asked. This month, R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system, came to the defence of those arrested, saying that the security guards were not acting for the library and had no right to arrest anyone for asking a question. “At this stage, I’m actually outraged,” he said. “This is a big violation of the very first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
  • Last month, Nikolaos Balaskas, a laboratory technologist in the science faculty of York University in Toronto, was fired for social media posts that the university deemed to “target identifiable groups” and “denigrate particular religious faiths including those of the Jewish faith.”
  • History teacher Jason Ali was fired last month from his job at Woodbridge High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey after it was found that on his teacher’s web page he had linked to a web site that featured an article alleging that the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11.
  • James Tracy, a tenured associate professor of journalism and media studies at Florida Atlantic University was fired earlier this year for allegedly failing to fill out certain paperwork. Tracy, who runs the Memory Hole blog, had been attacked by the mainstream media and others for his statements that the Sandy Hook event in 2012 was staged, and it appears that this was the real reason for his firing. Tracy is suing for reinstatement.
  • While it happened back in 2009, it is very much worth noting the experience of William Robinson, a sociology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He was investigated for alleged “anti-Semitism” for an email he sent out to students comparing the Israeli occupation of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland in WWII. Robinson’s right to free speech was defended by the Foundation for Individual Freedom in Education (FIRE), which had threatened a media campaign against the university if it didn’t end the investigation. The university’s Academic Senate found in Robinson’s favor.

26 comments

  1. Excellent article once again Craig!

    I’d watch your own back re B’nai Brith and the other Jewish extremist organizations. You’re not south of the border where we have the First Amendment (or do we?). You’re bound to catch their attention with this article.

  2. “We believe in the principle of academic freedom. However, we also believe in the principle of not supporting schools whose programs we, and our constituents, find to be odious and wrong.”

    Letter from NYC Council Members responding to a forum co-sponsored by a student group and the Department of Political Science, Judith Butler of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti explained(ing) and defended(ing) the agenda of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement ( B.D.S.). at Brooklyn College

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/academic-freedom-vindicated-in-brooklyn/

    “By the time the event occurred and went off smoothly, some of the hasty signatories to the two letters had withdrawn their names and others had softened their stance. Had they been in attendance, they would have heard Judith Butler give a letter-perfect account of what academic freedom is. She said to the assembled audience,

    “I presume that you came to hear what there is to be said, and so to test your preconceptions against what some people have to say, to see whether your objections can be met and your questions answered … and if the arguments you hear are not convincing, you will be able to cite them, to develop your opposing views and to communicate that as you wish.”

  3. So, with all of these examples, and so many more that are unmentioned here, what is theoretical about this particular conspiracy? I understand there are political ramifications with exercising natural and Constitutional rights these days, but it’s more than obvious these attacks are simply meant to stop people from speaking the truth. We should have hordes of free speech advocates acting against this suppression in every instance pointing out the nonsensical and unfair aspects of the attacks.

  4. Well written and eye-opening. I had no idea that it was this bad.

    If it weren’t for all of these bully tactics, most people would know that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.

    Most people probably already know this anyway, but it still is taboo to talk about. People shouldn’t be made fearful for speaking the truth. The Deans and Chancellors need to grow a backbone and stop sucking off the tit of the War Mongers and Crooks.

  5. The more these Jewish groups scream anti-Semitism when people question 9/11, Israeli actions, and the holocaust, the more it looks like they have something to hide.

    1. Peter Anderson….”the more it looks like they have something to hide.”

      They do have something to hide. There are two basic types of “Jews”, Ashkenazi and Sephardic. Over 90% of North Western Europe and North American Jews are Ashkenazi.

      These people converted to Judaism a little over 1,000 years ago and at that time were called Khasars (C-sars). There is a bit of history here but the short of it is they are the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel who were conquered and displaced to the area of the Caucasus Mountains. It is called Khasaria. Only the Nobles and leaders stayed in Judaism and these families are the Ashkenazi Jews. Only the Tribe of Judah are the real “Jews”.

      A “semite” is a person descended from Shem or a Shemite. So all the white people are from Shem, like the Germans. Originally they were called the Assyrians and the oldest city in Germany is Triere built by an Assyrian Prince.

      Abraham was from the Shem family as well all the 12 Tribes of Israel. One Tribe is called Judah from which we get the contracted form “Jew”. These are the Sephardic Jews.

      A little over a 1,000 years ago, those 10 Tribes originally called Israel then called Khasaria converted to Judaism. Only the Nobles and Leaders stayed in Judaism and these families are now the Ashkenazi Jews. They are only called “Jews” because of converting to Judaism. The bulk of the real Jews were in Spain and is the reason why the Peninsula is called Eberian (Iberian) Peninsula. The word Eber is what we now call Hebrew. It was the language Shem and Noah spoke.

      Did anyone wonder why the New State is called Israel? Because that is who they are. If they were from the Tribe of Judah they would have called it Judah.

      Something else, the leaders of the US today are all from this group and all are Ashkenazi. Why do you think every thing is controlled by “Jews”. Because they are the Nobles of Khasaria originally known as Israel. They are not real Jews of the Tribe of Judah.

        1. captivescientist I’m not trying to direct attention away from serious crimes.I’m totally against war and the destruction of of any Nation or people within a Nation for the purpose of gaining wealth and covering up crimes like 9/11 and all the other false flags.

          Have you ever studied who and where these people came from and who they were known as?

          Just exactly what is “Jewish”?

          Would it surprise you that the leadership of the USA and the Modern Nation of Israel are kin or brothers? Why do you think there is so much support for these people?

          Just so you are aware, my ancestry is Israel but not from Judah, so don’t accuse me of being a racist due to your ignorance. Anything is mythology to a person who is totally ignorant of where the Nations came from?

          Learn something: All “Jews” are Israelites but not all Israelites are “Jews”. The word “Jew” is short for Judah, which is one of the original 12 Tribes.

          As for “Ham” only one person got that curse so don’t go around treating all the Blacks as if they came from that one person.

          If you had a gun you would be shooting everybody because you haven’t a clue.
          Iraq is ancient Babylon.
          Assyria is modern day Germany
          Persia is Iran.

          Now here is one that will cause you to come unglued, the people of Germany come from the Shem line so that makes them Semitic. The word “semetic” is derived from the name Shem.

      1. This post is not historically accurate, and is in fact predicated on accepting patently silly notions of history derived from the bible. And it is self-contradictory. If the Khazars were converts, which is not in dispute in orthodox historical circles, then how can they be the ten tribes of northern Israel, and if they are the ten northern tribes of Israel, then the fatuous Israeli claims to indigenous status in Israel must be true. This post is complete rubbish. Studies of the human genome seem to demonstrate a tendency for Ashkenazi Jews to carry genetic markers from Turkic people, which is consistent with the Ashkenazi descending from Khazars. Again, I would ask how this post is able to pass an assessment by a moderator on a website purporting to value reason, logic and empiricism.

        1. Bobo your the one with “silly notions” because you have no idea who the Khasars are are start your verbal assalt when you know nothing about the subject.. The Assyrians conquered Northern Israel and displaced the Ten Tribes to the area under the Caucasus Mountains among a people who were already there, the Medes. They lost their identity because they quit keeping the Seventh Day Sabbath and adopted Shamanism. A little over one thousand years ago, the whole Nation of Khasaria were being pressed by the Arabs to convert to Islam and from the other side Byzantium pressing the Khasars to join Catholicism.

          A Rabbi from Spain and of the Sephardic Jews (the real Jews) went over and convinced the Kagan (King) Joseph of Khasaria to join Judaism. It was a ploy to prevent a war they would lose. So the whole Nation of Khasaria converted to Judaism. Only the Nobles stayed with Judaism the rest eventually converted to Catholicism.

          Those Nobles are the Ashkenazic Jews. The C-sars is another way of saying Kha-sars. In Aramaic and Hebrew the word ‘sar” means Nobles.

          Did you ever wonder why the people with white skin of North Western Europe and North America are called CAUCASIAN. It’s because of the White Khasars living in the Caucasus Mountain Region. That’s history “baby”.

          Now ask yourself why they don’t call that State in Palestine…. Judah???? Because the leaders are Ashkenazi who are from the Northern Ten Tribes called israel. Now make a search and find out how many Sephardic Jews are in the Knesset or any other leading position, in contrast to who is Ashkenazi.

          Next make a search of how many Ashkenazic Jews are in the Government of the USA starting with Kissinger.

          Now if you don’t mind, take five pounds of sand and blow it up your ass.

          1. Feel free to offer a shred of documentation for your claim that the Assyrians conquered northern Israel and displaced these “ten tribes”. Likewise provide some documentation that these “ten tribes” existed, and mingled into the Medes. Your story about the origins of the term “caucasian” with regard to ‘white people” is entirely false. If you don’t mind, take your infantile historical fables and bounce.

        2. Another thing Bobo about the Genetic markers concerning the Turkic people. Turkey is Esau the twin brother to Israel. They both have the same mother and the same father.

          Whereas, Israel had one father and four mothers to produce 12 boys.

          Judah was the fifth son to Leah related to Reuben who was the first son to Leah and is now France.

          1. Roger and Bobo,

            I have given some leeway on this topic but I think your discussion is not close enough to the subject of the article I have posted. If you wish to comment on some of the issues related to the article, specifically academic freedom, then you are welcome to do so.

            1. The discussion has nothing whatsoever to do with the article or even people’s responses to it. I simply responded to being subjected to Roger’s ahistorical tripe.

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