More on the Penn State Censorship Scandal:

[Welcome Instapundit readers! If you have not been following this story and want some further background information, you can read my previous posts on the subject here. Ironically, Professor Garoian, responsible for censorship in this incident, previously wrote a series of articles condemning censorship of the arts, including at Penn State!]

A very strong statement by the director of the Penn State Hillel, Tuvia Abramson:

Following eight days of misinformation by the School of Visual Arts and the Penn State University spokesman, which resulted in misleading information, I have decided today to issue an official statement as the executive director of Penn State Hillel.

The university is an open market for ideas, creativity, and sometimes debates. Penn State Hillel is a place where Jewish students create, learn debate, grow, and above all feel comfortable to be a Jew. The role of the Hillel Foundation on campus is to educate the community about Judaism, to maintain a high profile so in a case like Joshua Stulman's they will know that there is an organization that supports the students.

The Hillel Foundation, as stated in its charter, must represent the diversity of opinion (religious, cultural, and political) which are found in any Jewish community around the world. Hillel has no political agenda, and as I write this letter today, I have not even seen all of the pictures for Joshua's exhibit.

In my 23 years in Hillel on three different campuses, I have not seen an act so blatant as the act of censorship, discrimination, and anti-Semitism like the one which applies to Joshua Stulman [editor's note: the charge of anti-Semitism seems a bit extreme here, but apparently the Hillel director has been subjected to a flurry of anti-Semitic calls and threats, so you can understand his senstivity to the blame that was put on Hillel].

This was not a single act. This was systematic abuse and intimidation which was applied by the School of Visual Arts to coerce the student and force him to cancel his art exhibition all because of its political content.

The message of Joshua's exhibit was this: When you preach hate, teach hate, and indoctrinate children with hate, you will have terror. When you use the airways and the political system to reinforce hate, you create a mechanism by which these children will learn how and when to destroy innocent life.

This message was blocked by the director of the School of Visual Arts and its faculty without discussion or review of most of the artwork with the student Joshua Stulman. The director issued a statement canceling the exhibit stating the cancellation was based on Penn State's Policy AD42 about Zero Tolerance for Hate and that Joshua's work did not promote a democratic dialogue or cultural diversity.

The second reason stated for canceling the exhibit was due to the sponsorship of Hillel for the reception on opening night.

Both of these statements were false, misleading, and were never discussed prior to receiving the letter of cancellation. They were fake excuses to find justification to shut up the exhibit because of its political content, which did not go along with the political opinion or agenda of Professor Charles Garoian and art lecturer and advisor Robert Yarber.

The mistake was done by the School of Visual Arts, who added insult to injury when Professor Garoian offered to Joshua on Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, that he could put up his exhibit the next day if Joshua would drop the Hillel sponsorship. Joshua refused to accept the offer of removing Hillel because doing so would validate their denial of applying censorship to the artwork.

All the attempts to set the record straight and to have the School of Visual Arts issue an apology to Hillel for falsely implicating the Foundation. In February, Hillel sponsored an exhibit by the same artist in the same gallery with no issues.

An [RTF] attachment to this e-mail details six weeks worth of correspondence related to this incident.

The Hillel Foundation is thankful to [Penn State President] Graham Spanier who issued a statement against censorship. The Foundation also thanks Stephen MacCarthy for understanding the complexity and his tireless work to resolve this unacceptable situation.

On April 27 Johsua received an email from Professor Garoian, which was to represent an apology, but rather it was just a letter full of excuses.

Nowhere in his e-mail was an apology to Hillel for falsely using its name as an excuse to cancel the exhibit, nor was there a specific apology to Joshua in regard to using the Hate Code as a false excuse to cancel the exhibit.

As of today no public apology to anyone has been issued to the media. Additionally the statement from the university spokesman has not been modified. On the contrary, on April 29 Fox News broadcasted the university spokesman William Mahon as saying that it was only the responsibility of one professor.

The Hillel Foundation feels that the School of Visual Arts needs to come clean. It has given a black eye to the college of Arts and Architecture. It has given a black eye to the entire university, it mislead the media, faculty, staff, and above all it projected the university as an academic center where freedom of expression, academic freedom and freedom of speech is denied because of political correctness.

Is this the image that Penn State would like to promote? I doubt it. The mistake was done by the School of Visual Arts. The university needs to find a way to right the wrong. An investigation is necessary of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, administration, and anyone else at this university who may have been involved in this act of cancellation and the climate of discrimination.

Attached with this email is a more detailed chronology of events, which I have reprinted "beneath the fold" for those who are interested.


A+ for sentiment but C- for waffling prose; you can't denounce a "blatant... act of censorship, discrimination, and anti-Semitism" and then call it a "mistake."
5.1.2006 8:12pm
Christopher Fotos (mail) (www):
Bravo, Mr. Abramson.

Many years ago on DC's WAMU, I recall a program about apologies hosted by Diane Rehm. I think I have this right: The guest said there were three essential elements when making a sincere and hopefully effective one. First, you must acknolwedge what you have done. Second, you must make amends, to whatever extent possible. And third, you must vow never to do it again.

I congratulate Abramson and Penn State Hillel for at least trying to compel the guilty parties to acknowledge what they have really done. Penn State being PC Central, however, I wouldn't hold my breath for anyone making amends and I can guarantee you this kind of thing will happen again.
5.1.2006 9:18pm
The primary source of anti-semitism today is from the left. The reality is that the more "Liberal"-left someone is, the more likely they are to support suicide bombing of civilians (e.g. the mainstream leftist Howard Dean calling Hamas noble soldiers in a war), be insensitive to Jews (e.g. offering to show the exhibit on Friday night) and other suppression of Jewish viewpoints. Standing up against anti-semitism; standing up for "never again" means fighting the left.
5.1.2006 10:20pm
Everyone is not against Israel or the Jews.
Some Christians are sympathetic to the suffering of Palestinian civilians though, just as some were in Germany who saved their lives by protecting them even then.

A Palestinian mother and child recently were killed by soldiers in their home. To me, the 16-year-old American fighting for his life is sad; why is there never any acknowledgement of suffering other than Jewish people or is it that their lives are worth more? Where are the calls for non-censorship when it is not a Jewish person's art involved? (Corrie play, no lasting outrage at the Holocaust denier's prison sentence for expressing his personal view?)

Good luck in gaining money for your mitzvah. I am going to use my dollar to light a votive and pray for peace for people everywhere. Jews, Muslims, Persians, Christians and all others. We really are in this together, Mr. Bernstein. As human beings, living and breating.

As Sting's song goes, "I know the Arabs love their children too..."
5.1.2006 10:36pm
"who saved Jewish lives..."

Some religions teach that you do your charitable deeds quietly. Have you ever thought of reseaching and contributing to a non-Israel or non-Jewish cause that might be effective in helping others live dignified lives?

Perhaps even though it would hurt to give to the women and children of the "enemy", such kindness might be better spent there? Instead of in your own camp, I mean.
5.1.2006 10:41pm

And please, please, please,
don't ever teach that beautiful 6 and a half-month old that all non-Jews and those critical of Israel's policies hate her or want to hurt her or are out to get her.

What a waste of young love and innocence that would be. Please, teach her about the good things people do too, and don't poison her beauty by making her fear. Maybe someday she could be the one to transcend the divide and acknowledge our common humanity. Perhaps Israel/Palestinian children intermingling would make them realize their similaries, "and a child shall lead them."
5.1.2006 10:47pm
davidbernstein (mail):

I won't take the time to dispute various syrupy misconceptions in your posts, but I will note, for the benefit of those who may not be aware, that Magen David Adom (the Israeli "Red Cross") makes no distinction in employment or treatment between Jews and non-Jews.

As for the "Israel is ethnocentric so all peace-loving lovers of humanity should support the Palestinians" meme, I invite you to read the Palestinian Constitution some day, which makes it clear (even before Hamas) that the future state of Palestine is to be an exclusively Arab and officially Islamic state, with law based on Islamic law. By contrast, Israel has 20% non-Jewish citizens, and its law is primarily secular.
5.1.2006 11:09pm
Keystone State:
PC pretzels here in Pennsylvania. The risk of offending the religious sensitivities of some people in Palestine and Egypt will get your head cutoff. Professor Garoian though is free to mock and offend the Christian faith, and he gets tenure. That is something to be celebrated in terms of free speech. The least the Professor could do is not deny that freedom to other artists seeking to speak truth to the power that is gripping much of the middle east in fear and darkness ...
5.2.2006 12:00am
DCGuest (mail):

(1) I think it's bad form to tell a father how he ought to raise his daughter, especially in a blog comments section. The finger-wagging sanctimony was striking, even after reading you first half-dozen posts.

(2) The Sting song goes, "I hope the Russians love their children, too."
5.2.2006 12:39am
Smithy (mail) (www):
I'm a bit surprised that the MSM hasn't picked up this story yet. It's a big deal -- the kind of free speech debate that doesn't come up that often. It's very telling to see the biases that the academy has in this arena.
5.2.2006 1:14am
TDPerkins (mail):
Besides Just, not all the Arabs do love their children.

Some send them out to be suicide bombers.

More celebrate that.

What love?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfp
5.2.2006 8:05am

My point is:
there are legitimate grievances on the non-Israeli side. Some non-Jewish Americans, and Jewish Americans, note them.

Your credibility would increase if you weren't always cherry-picking your examples.

What if, Israel was hated more because of the lost land and daily disruptions and deprivations than because they are Jews? The Iranian leader wondered why Britian and the UN chose their region for the homestate and not the conquered Germany.

Some of us "syrupy" dumbsters don't ignore the history of terrorism in setting up the state, or the atrocities committed by Sharon.

Or is it just easier to assume the "enemy" es loco and "hates you" because you were born a Jew?

You think the 6 and a half month old Palestinian child is all that much different than yours? I don't, but then I am not a Jew.

I'm still wondering -- if all the American billions spent on tanks and bombs and drones and guns that shoot around corners had gone toward schools, food, farming and herding improvements, if we'd be any further from war.

Christianity may seem syrupy to your ways, but there's a beauty in living in peace. Course you have to break the chain of "they hate us just because we're Jews"

I hope the Israelis love their children too...
5.2.2006 8:26am

"By contrast, Israel has 20% non-Jewish citizens, and its law is primarily secular."

It's the treatment of the "barbarians outside the gate" that you should be concerned with.
5.2.2006 8:29am
"Some send them out to be suicide bombers."

Was there much suicide bombing from the shepherds in the postwar years, when the new neighbors started moving in?

Violence begets violence begets violence begets violence

Rachel Corrie was trying to help you, not hurt you! Kick a dog, see what happens. Feed and love a dog, see what happens. Guess you're just too smart to see that TDP, ml, msl, &pfp. An insecure people will never live securely
5.2.2006 8:39am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Rachel Corrie was trying to block the demolition of a tunnel used to smuggle weapons.
How many people, Just, do you think don't know that?

I hasten to say, really know that, as opposed to lying and otherwise pretending.
5.2.2006 9:14am

So obviously, she had to be killed.
And, no play for you!
5.2.2006 9:19am
It's the treatment of the "barbarians outside the gate" that you should be concerned with.

This statement is absurd on its face. Just, please spare us your drivel.
5.2.2006 10:30am
Was there much suicide bombing from the shepherds in the postwar years, when the new neighbors started moving in?

How ignorant can you be?
5.2.2006 10:34am
Was there much suicide bombing from the shepherds in the postwar years, when the new neighbors started moving in?

I don't recall there being ANY suicide bombers pre-1967, when the West Bank was occupied and annexed by Jordan, and Gaza was occupied and annexed by Egypt. The Arab world could have set up a Palestinian state then. Instead, they made meticulous plans for killing the Jews in war. Israel surprised them by fighting back.
5.2.2006 10:37am
Meryl Yourish (www):
The president of Iran is misinforming the world when it comes to why the Jews went to Israel.

It's because Jews had a continuous presence in the land for 3,500 years, and because it is our ancestral homeland. Europe, on the other hand, is a bunch of countries that murdered two-thirds of their Jews and were glad to see the rest go.

Germany was never an option. When the Jews of Poland tried to return to their lives, the Polish citizens, recently released from the jackboots of the Nazis, massacred Jews once more.

Why didn't Jews go to Europe? That's why.

Try educating yourself before commenting on a subject. If you're looking to the Iranian president for your information, you are looking to an uninformed bigot as a source.
5.2.2006 10:50am
Meryl Yourish (www):
Here is an account of terrorist attacks before 1967 (though this page counts attacks through 1989). There were no suicide bombings, but there were regular murders via shooting attacks and land mines along the border, as well as inside Israel. I would also like to point out that these attacks began in 1952--fifteen years before the "occupation". When terrorists speak of the "occupation," they don't mean the West Bank and Gaza. They mean all of Israel.
5.2.2006 10:56am

Wasn't there something in that Barfour Declaration, though, about not evicting the people who were currently living there??

Maybe if you had respected your neighbors more in the first place, you wouldn't have the barbarians outside the gate problem right now. Just sayin...

ps. Fighting back works better if you only rely on yourself and not outside (American) support.

Private American citizens can support the cause sure, but what are the contingency plans for defense once America quits playing favorites? Just lookin ahead a bit...
5.2.2006 11:26am

"They mean all of Israel."

I think they think it's an all or nothing thing, since Israel doesn't seem to be able to compromise and treat the neighbors as they'd like to be treated.

Jerusalem will be shared one day, though your late prime minister was too mired in the past to get that. Birthright or not.
5.2.2006 11:29am

Balfour of course.
(we non-chosen are dummies, eh?)
5.2.2006 11:30am
Wasn't there something in that Barfour Declaration, though, about not evicting the people who were currently living there??

Balfour. And most who chose to leave did so because the Arab nations ordered them to. If Israel had forced them to, why would they have left the job incomplete? Large numbers of Arabs are Israeli citizens.

BY the way, at the same time, Arab nations DID expel their Jews forcibly. Israel acceped them, not putting them in permanent "refugee" camps like the Arabs did with Palestinians. The numbers are almost equal, too. So call it even.
5.2.2006 11:34am
I think they think it's an all or nothing thing, since Israel doesn't seem to be able to compromise and treat the neighbors as they'd like to be treated.

WHich is why they stil occupy all of the Sinai, since they're completely opposed to compromise.
5.2.2006 11:35am
It has been reported that Balfour's sympathy with the plight of the Israelis was influenced by an illicit relationship with the wife of a high-ranking Jewish official.[2]

Contradictory assurances
In his November, 2002 interview with the New Statesman magazine[1], the UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has blamed Britain's imperial past for many of the modern political problems, including the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"The Balfour declaration and the contradictory assurances which were being given to Palestinians in private at the same time as they were being given to the Israelis—again, an interesting history for us, but not an honourable one," he said.


"So call it even."

Says you. That same mentality -- you kill one of ours, we'll kill two of yours -- really seems to be leading to security and success, eh?


"WHich is why they still occupy all of the Sinai, since they're completely opposed to compromise."

Whoop-dee-do. Last summer, you finally confronted your extremists.

Lot more work to done before we start calling Sharon a peacemaker -- his policies weren't working and he finally realized the impracticalities. Hopefully (and I do mean this sincerely) other concessions won't come too late, if it's not too late already.
5.2.2006 11:50am

Can ya'll spin the King David Hotel incident for me too, in a way that makes Israel out to be the victim? Or those refugee camp massacres of women and six-month olds?

Honest discussion seems to be revered, right?
5.2.2006 11:53am
Whoop-dee-do. Last summer, you finally confronted your extremists.

Who's "you"? I'm neither Jewish nor Israeli.
5.2.2006 11:56am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just. Corrie didn't "have to be killed". At a certain point--long past--the presumption of good faith disappears.

The point about Corrie is that she was not "helping" Israelis, but trying to facilitate their murder. As you know, having acknowledged it.
5.2.2006 12:51pm
Willis Cook (mail):
Why don't you photograph Joshua Stulman's exhibit and display it here. Rest assured that Penn State's ability to censor speech does not extend beyond the borders of its campus. And as for those who complain about the unfair behaviour of Israel and unfair treatment of Palestine, create your own exhibit and display it instead of trying to censor Mr. Stulman's. Just as a hint, though, try to leave out the parts where you saw off the heads of those you disagree with. Thats the way things are done in a free country.
5.2.2006 1:31pm
Adam (mail):

I'll bite regarding the King David Hotel. I don't think the Jews were the victim, but try this: The King David Hotel was the base of the British mandate, and the British were actually warned before the bombing. Of course, such tactics are still not morally justified, but to equate (implicitly) a single prewarned act of terrorism against a government installation with multiple, ongoing attacks of terrorism against uninvolved civilians, including women and children, is cherry-picking if I ever saw it.

In general, your views show a willful ignorance of the facts and partisan side-taking if anyone's do. Do you think that the Palestinians and Arabs have done nothing at all blameworthy? Everyone has sinned. The question is (or at least a question is), what kind of a settlement could be reached which would provide as much security as possible for everyone, and will not reward or encourage terrorist actions.

Happy (Israeli) Independence Day :-)
5.2.2006 1:59pm
Adam (mail):

Not sure what you're talking about regarding refugee camp massacres. Maybe you mean the Kafr Qasim massacre? That of course was a grievous wrong. At least the Israelis admit it when they make mistakes.

Maybe you can spin for me how murdering a five-year-old while she plays in her parents' bedroom in a way that makes the Palestinians out to be the victims.
5.2.2006 2:09pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Willis, why isn't there a Salon de Refuses effect? Surely somebody in College Park -- some saloon or something -- has a wall and an interest in free expression.
5.2.2006 10:09pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Just wrote:

"Rachel Corrie was trying to help you, not hurt you! Kick a dog, see what happens. Feed and love a dog, see what happens. Guess you're just too smart to see that TDP, ml, msl, &pfp. An insecure people will never live securely"

No, Rachel Corrie was trying to make sure murderers were well supplied. At some point--a point she was well past--to hell with her.

It is not possible for people who do not care for their security to live securely, I believe your Q with respect to that I is far too low for you to understand that.

Nice how you compare Palestinians to dogs.

Yours, TDP,
molon labe
montani semper liberi &
para fides paternae patria
5.3.2006 1:14pm