Sunday, October 24, 2010
U.S. lawmakers concerned by professor's anti-Israel remarks
Video of a September 3 rally in Washington, D.C., shows tenured literature
professor Kaukab Siddique saying Israel must be destroyed, if possible by peaceful means.
Lincoln University History Professor Kaukab Siddique is in the eye of a new storm in the United States, after several statements he made calling for the destruction of Israel prompted US senators to urge an investigation in the matter.
Speaking at a recent Labor Day rally, Siddique said: "We must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel – if possible by peaceful means... For the Jews, I would say, 'See what could happen to you if the Muslims wake up.' And I say to the Muslims, Dear brothers and sisters – unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism.'"
Siddique's statements followed several articles in which he questions the validity of the Holocaust and calling it "a hoax."
Originally from Pakistan, Siddique, 67, is a vocal critic of what he calls "Israel's record of human-rights abuses in the Palestinian territories." Nevertheless, he maintains that his Labor Day statements have been misunderstood.
'I don't believe in laying low'
The professor's remarks sparked outrage among pro-Israeli groups and as Lincoln University is a Pennsylvania State-sponsored school, State Senator Daylin Leach – and numerous other members of the State Assembly – have urged Lincoln president Ivory Nelson to ensure the professor's "anti-Semitic diatribes" had not made their way into the university's classrooms.
"We support academic freedom and certainly a professor has the right to criticize Israel, or any other entity or policy he wishes," they wrote. "However… the Holocaust is not a theory or opinion. It is historically documented fact, denied only by those with a hateful or anti-Semitic agenda."
A Lincoln statement said it had "not been made aware of any instance in which Siddique's views were taught in his classes or shared in any public forums on campus."
Siddique said Thursday that he stands by his statements and "would not back down from detractors out to threaten academic freedom," adding that he had the support of his faculty and students and that he would continue to speak his mind, despite pressure from those who have referred to him as an "anti-Semite."
"I got a little fired and said a few things that were pretty strong," said Siddique. "That doesn't mean I wouldn't say them again. I don't believe in laying low."
"When I refer critically to the 'Jews' I am referring to the current leadership of the 'state of Israel' and to their major supporters, not to the Jewish race as a whole," he said in an email to CBN News.
"Most of my readers and listeners understand this; if it was taken to mean otherwise, then I offer my apologies to those I have offended.
"I am not anti-Semitic. . . . I am certainly not hostile to, nor do I discriminate against the Jewish people because of their lineage," he maintained.