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    The New School claps back at Germany’s anti-Palestinian bullshit.

    Dan Sheehan

    April 8, 2024, 12:27pm

    When a formal letter begins with “Albertus Magnus would have been appalled!,” you know it’s gonna be good.

    That’s how The New School interim president Donna E. Shalala opened a blistering missive to Rector of the University of Cologne, Prof. Dr. Jaybrato Mukherjee, after the latter made the decision to withdraw an invitation to Prof. Nancy Fraser to take up the 2024 Albertus Magnus Professorship—a visiting position (named after the medieval philosopher-friar) that the university considers a “special honor”—because Professor Fraser had been one of several hundred signatories of a November open letter expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

    New School Letter

    Shalala’s letter goes on to remind the venerable rector that “Academic freedom has been a critical component of great universities,” and that “Article 5 of your constitution guarantees freedom of speech, expression and opinion.”

    She closes by expressing her deep disappointment that this censorious decision by the University of Cologne has disrupted the New School’s “decades-long ties to Germany”:

    As you well know we rescued intellectuals seeking refuge from the Nazis. We continued the body of critical thought that has been wiped out—promoting the remarkable traditions of the German academy.


    Since Israel’s brutal assault on Gaza began six months ago, Germany’s various Powers That Be have disgraced and debased themselves in ways far too numerous to mention here. Politicians, university presidents, film festival organizers, literary big-wigs, and craven sycophants of every stripe have fallen over themselves—in ways both sinister and comical—to demonstrate unwavering featly to a rogue ethnostate as it unleashes an apocalypse upon the people of Gaza.

    At a moment when another illustrious New York City university is doing everything in its power to quash pro-Palestinian speech, it’s heartening to see that there is still some courage and humanity left in the boardrooms of American academia.

    As Brussels-based academic and author Omar Jabary Salamanca wrote on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today:

    This letter by The New School in support of Nancy Fraser should be the normal response of higher education institutions to the censorship and criminalization of students and staff calling out Israel for genocide, demanding a boycott and voicing support for Palestinian liberation.

    So kudos to Donna Shalala; Nancy Fraser; the philosophy professors of conscience throughout North America, Latin America, and Europe; and, of course, his holiness Saint Albert the Great.

    May the cowardly academics of North Rhine-Westphalia keep your sainted name out of their mouths, Al.

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