Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Bob Y from California investigates who are the 500 academics who signed the petition to C-Span television on Lipstadt, Saturday, March 26, 2005
Who precisely are the "500" who signed the Lipstadt C-Span petition?
Some of the signatories seem odd. For example, Wendy Doniger is a Sanskrit scholar, I don't know what she is doing on this list. Ben Stein has many accomplishments, but he is not university-affiliated in Beverly Hills and at this point is probably best known to most Americans as the host of a droll TV game show. Michael Ledeen, on the other hand, has no university credentials; the American Enterprise Institute is a right-wing think tank.
Possible signees who did not sign include: Raul Hilberg, Gordon Craig, Peter Novick, Norman Finkelstein, Arno Mayer, Michael Shermer, and Walter Laqueur. All have written on either the Nazi period or the Holocaust, and their stature is rather greater on these subjects than most who signed. Assuming that they are still alive and kicking, you can expect that they will be pressured to stand on the side of the angels, that is, if this petition continues its groundswell.
The signing of petitions in a college or university context is a highly public exercise subject to subtle pressures. Departments are small, if one person signs, not signing makes the non-signatory the subject of gossip and even suspicion. Combined with the totally unfair manner in which the petition was framed (you were taped to discuss your side of the trial, not your side of the Holocaust), it is not surprising that so many signatures were obtained. Even so, I would take the second set (or third or fourth set) of signatures with a large grain of salt.
This petition is essentially a commercial for the importance of the Wyman Institute. However, to gauge properly the importance of that institute, all one has to do is read the articles posted on their site. These are little more than Op Ed pieces written from a particular Jewish point of view.
Take it for what that's worth.
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