March 16, 2008

A New McCarthyism

It began nearly a year ago, when I wrote a letter to the Michigan Daily calling for my school, the University of Michigan, to divest from military companies that arm the Israeli military.

3/19/07 I receive an email from "," who quickly employed a familiar tactic: call any critic a terrorist:

Does it bother you that you advocate and support terrorism?... Thanks for identifying yourself as a lover of jihad, and a friend of terrorists.
Yours truly, Divestmentisracism

And on it went for a week or so, me and the anonymous. Selections from his/her emails ranged from the hateful and absurd, to a childish playground blather.


Your future employers will also love to read your hate speech. You can forget about ever running for political office outside of Dearborn.

Oh, when I called you a terrorist...I meant it. You support terrorists, and that is obvious.
Michael Jones

My email exchange became a disturbing glimpse into the world of crazed Zionists. I began to enjoy hitting back, fascinated but saddened by the magnitude of hatred that returned with each message.

What to say in response?:


"Be aware that by justifying the occupation of Palestinian land, you shirk the precedents of international law set forth by the United Nations after WWII to stop reckless nations like NAZI Germany and Imperial Japan from conquering their neighbors. This framework was designed to protect innocent life and to end wars of conquest. By justifying US unilateral invasion of Iraq and Israel's subsidized war on and conquest of Palestinian land, your opinions fly in the face of these human rights laws and international precedents which, had they been created earlier, may have prevented the holocaust in Europe or the Rape of Nanking by Japanese forces.

Long Live Nasrallah!
Best, Paul

My mistake was the playful "Long Live Nasrallah," which became the new rallying cry accusation of my anonymous friend:


"You ended your e-mail by saying "Long Live Nasrallah!"
This shows your true terrorist-supporting colors. Thanks for admitting your true allegiance. I am forwarding your e-mail to the relevant law enforcement authorities, given that Hezbollah is a designated terrorist group. "

But in the response, which threatened me with state action, I saw the implications of our exchange more clearly. It was not merely about two private citizens squabbling over distant politics. This exchange was about discursive power, and the normalization of racist ideas and policies in media, academia, and government. Symbiotic relationships form to govern and police the ideological boundaries of the mainstream, and to criminalize the critics of colonial projects.

to be continued...


  1. "playful "Long Live Nasrallah,"

    Sorry bud, that is the leader of a terrorist group. Nothing playful about that statement in my opinion.

  2. Has anyone tried calling the law office in Farmington Hills that was attached to the hate mail? There is an Alan J. Kaufman who is an honorary director of MSU Hillel, who lives in Farmington Hills.

  3. To Whom it May Concern at Wayne State University:

    Ms. Amy Stirling, the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity has *ironically* been caught acting as an agent of the racist hate organization, CAMPUS WATCH, in the harassment of Professor Aboud. I would strongly recommend that WSU conduct an official investigation into Ms. Stirling's affiliation with racist right-wing Zionist groups connected with Daniel Pipes. Daniel Pipes is a professional anti-Arab, anti-African racist spokesperson who strongly advocates denying Arab-Americans and African-Americans their Constitutional liberties. For Ms Stirling to be associating with Daniel Pipes as an employee of the university's Equal Opportunity office is as outrageous as if she were inviting the KKK to campus to organize Nazi skinheads to harass African American professors. Ms. Stirling should be forced to resign, but not before her emails and phone calls are thoroughly discovered, so that her links to professional hate-mongerers can be exposed and prosecuted.

    Karin Friedemann, WSU Alumni

    PAUL: If your brother decides to sue, it would be very useful for uncovering who is behind the harassment. I hope you are getting the support you deserve. I remember Professor Stern in the German Dept at WSU to be a flaming anti-Muslim racist and a Zionist activist who actually got German students to attend hate festivals against Muslims in the guise of Holocaust Memorial services.

  4. Hi Karen,
    I'm sure there is much interest to see evidence showing this connection between Stirling and Campus Watch...

  5. Hi,

    I'm Karin's husband. I spent some time in looking at the events preceding Stirling's interrogation of your brother.

    Said, Kovel, Elahi, and Abowd is a first stab at connecting the dots.


    Joachim Martillo