Thomas R. Dew was a president of the College of William & Mary. He was also an eloquent defender of immorality. “Look to the slaveholding population of the country,” he wrote in 1832 while a professor at the university, “and you every where find them characterized by noble and elevated sentiments, by humane and virtuous feelings.”
Clearly, even a professorship and some rhetorical skill don’t guarantee ideas that merit thoughtful debate. There is, after all, an entire website dedicated to “Scholars for 9/11 Truth,” and yet The New York Times has not once published an Op-Ed by the Texas A&M professor emeritus who expresses doubt that Boeing 767s were flown into the Twin Towers, or by the University of Colorado mathematics professor who similarly sees a conspiracy in the events of September 11. Their ideas are simply beyond the pale.
Nor has The New York Times offered space in its coveted opinion pages for debate about whether the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which is entangled in borders disputes and burdened by extremism, should be annulled, folded back into India from which it was carved. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the newspaper promoting arguments in favor of the elimination of any recognized, democratic country. Such ideas, too, are beyond the pale. Except, of course, when it comes to Israel.
Not for the first time, The Times has published what amounts to a call for the destruction of the Jewish state. The latest piece, which appears on the cover of the Sept. 15 Sunday Review section and is written by University of Pennsylvania professor Ian Lustick, argues the current state of Israel should be replaced by a unitary country that includes its neighbors in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
The column is not all that different than an Op-Ed the newspaper published a few years ago by Muammar Qaddafi. And while that New York Times contributor is now remembered as a ranting madman who butchered his own people, and although Lustick is most definitely neither of those, the only real difference between their pieces is that Qaddafi’s Op-Ed calling for an end to Israel is less long-winded than Lustick’s 2431-word piece, is more coherent, and at least sounds more moderate.
But never mind the tone and the drone of Lustick’s piece. And never mind the weakness of both the dictator and the professor’s arguments. The more important issue is that The New York Times seems intent on putting the very idea of Israel’s continued existence, the idea of real and functional Jewish national self-determination, up for debate. …