Professor Stanley has put up a fairly lengthy comment in reply to my earlier post, for which I thank him. He has graciously acknowledged that his original article was unclear, and he has accepted responsibility for the consequent “misunderstandings.” I am glad to have that cleared up, and especially to see Stanley’s robust commitment to open exchanges and freedom of speech.
Nonetheless, Stanley continues to blame Yudof and Waltzer for threats that have “literally placed Paur's (sic) life in peril.” Such threats are despicable. Stanley has received them (following his writing on prisons), and so have I (when I write something favorable toward Israel). But what is a critic to do? Stanley does not come out and say so, but his argument implicitly calls for precisely the sort of silencing that he otherwise abhors. Should Yudof and Waltzer have kept their opinions to themselves? How does that advance discourse?
Stanley also argues that the lack of objection during Puar’s Vassar lecture indicates that “what she was saying wasn't that objectionable.” Really? Does he apply that same standard to, say, Donald Trump, whose Islamophobic rantings draw only cheers at his rallies? Audience agreement tells us little or nothing about the content of a speech.
I can only assume that Stanley has not read a transcript of Puar’s Vassar lecture. Here are a couple of choice passages that have been widely reported:
Some speculate that the [Palestinian] bodies were mined for organs for scientific research.
Prehensive time thus also signals a weaponized epigenetics where the outcome is not so much about winning or losing nor a solution but about needing body parts, not even whole bodies, for research and experimentation.
Does Stanley truly find these comments inoffensive? Or can he now recognize that the reaction (including much applause) of the Vassar audience indeed indicated something troubling on that campus?
Note: As I was writing this, Stanley posted three more comments that somewhat walked back the first (there may be more by now, as I have not been able to keep up). One of them accused me of propaganda (which I suppose is in the eye of the beholder), and another of misrepresenting Puar’s views about harvesting body parts. Regarding the latter, please see the above quotes, which Puar does not appear to have denied making. Yudof and Waltzer were quite explicit about Puar’s Vassar speech, which I have now confirmed from a transcript. They and I have both represented her statements accurately. Let’s hope that Stanley is willing to post another correction.