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Hamilton College's Other Leftist Problem By: Thomas Ryan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, February 03, 2005

By now, it is well known that New York state's Hamilton College invited, then uninvited, to its campus a radical professor who has repeatedly stated the victims of 9/11 deserved to die. What is less well known is that the professor who sponsored Ward Churchill's talk has a long history of radicalizing her college, shares ideological and family ties to domestic terrorists -- and is still being well-compensated for her efforts to spread anti-American hatred among that college's student body.

Nancy Rabinowitz, who started teaching at Hamilton in 1978, is Hamilton College's professor of Comparative Literature and director of the campus’ Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture. In addition to the Ward Churchill invitation, Rabinowitz extended a job offer to domestic terrorist and last-minute Clinton pardon recipient Susan Rosenberg on behalf of the Kirkland Project.


However, Rabinowitz's ties to violent anti-Americanism go beyond mere emotional support; she has family ties to those who seek to overthow our government. Her father-in-law was renowned Communist proponent and lawyer Victor Rabinowitz, whose law firm -- Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky and Lieberman -- has represented domestic terrorists, accused spies, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Rabinowitz defended his partner Leonard Boudin’s daughter and Weather Underground member Kathy Boudin, who was personally involved with the murders of three policemen. Throughout the 1970’s, the Weather Underground was responsible for the bombings of the National Guard offices in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Capitol Building; the New York City Police Headquarters; and the Pentagon. (Susan Rosenberg belonged to a group closesly associated with the Weathermen.)


Victor Rabinowitz’s law firm served as the primary counsel to the National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (NECLC), an organization that filled its ranks with members of the Communist Party, and sought to represent radicals individuals and groups seeking to destroy the U.S. Constitution. In the early 1960’s, Rabinowitz was identified in Senate testimony as being a member of the Communist Party USA. His partner Leonard Boudin’s participation was exposed by a defense memorandum based on declassified summaries of secret FBI files on the Weather Underground that came to light in December 1980. The NECLC’s Washington-based office also housed the law offices of the late National Lawyers Guild (NLG) attorneys David Rein and Joseph Forer, who were also associated with Rabinowitz’ law firm. Rein has been identified as a CPUSA member, while Forer served as co-counsel for the Communist Party with John Abt, a founding member of the NLG, who, in addition to serving on the CPUSA Political Committee, also directed a Soviet spy group in Washington (the “Ware Group”). In 1997, the NECLC merged with the far-Left Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and amended its clientele to include not only Communists, but also proponents of Islamic terrorism. (CCR's latest suit, filed in Germany, claims Donald Rumsfeld is a war criminal.)


Nancy Rabinowitz has made it clear she shares affection for her father-in-law's son and his causes.


Hiring Domestic Terrorists


In 2004, Hamilton’s Kirkland Project director offered a teaching position to domestic terrorist Susan Rosenberg -- a member of  “The Family,” a radical left-wing terrorist group that was affiliated with the Weather Underground.


In 1981, Rosenberg became a suspect in the robbery of an armored car, which resulted in the deaths of two police officers and an armed guard. She was indicted for both the plotting of the robbery and driving the getaway car; however, these charges were later dropped, when, in 1984, she was sentenced to 58 years in Federal prison for the illegal possession of dynamite and weapons. Upon her arrest, Rosenberg exclaimed, “We’re caught, but we’re not defeated. Long live the armed struggle!”


Rosenberg’s sentence was commuted by Bill Clinton on his last day in office, and four years later, she was offered the position at Hamilton by Rabinowitz, who renamed the position from “artist/scholar-in-residence” to “artist/activist-in-residence.” Rosenberg eventually bowed out of the position, when her past was exposed. She was to teach the creative writing course “Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity and Change;” one of her accreditations having been that she had won awards for her writing while in prison. One of her poems is a paeon to a convicted cop-killer, entitled “To Free Mumia Abu Jamal.”


Writer Roger Kimball reported that when Hamilton alumnus and official class representative Brendan McCormick attempted to alert his classmates of the appointment of Rosenberg's appointment in 2004, Hamilton College’s development office refused to send out a letter from him, although the practice is considered routine. McCormick later stated that he had to point out to them “the hypocrisy of sending out a press release claiming that you do not censor speech and then turning around and doing just that.” However, public controvery -- stirred in no small measure by FrontPage Magazine's expose -- cancelled the appointment.


Legitimizing Foreign Terrorism


Then came the invitation to Ward Churchill. Far from an abberation, he is notable only for his justification of jihadist terrorism and his virulent “Native American” Marxism. This was the “wisdom” Nancy Rabinowitz hoped his audience at Hamilton would imbibe.


On September 12, 2001, while much of the world mourned the tragic loss of innocent life, Ethnic Studies professor and Native American activist Ward Churchill published a paper in which he placed blame for the 9/11 attacks on America itself. In the paper, entitled “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” Churchill detailed his belief that the dead of 9/11 earned their fate through the larger actions of the “Christian West” against the “Islamic East,” stemming back to the time of the Crusades. Churchill states:


The most that can honestly be said of those involved on September 11 is that they finally responded in kind to some of what this country has dispensed to their people as a matter of course. They did not license themselves to target innocent civilians.” There is, of course, simply no sane argument to be made that the Pentagon personnel killed on September 11 fill that bill. The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple -- as did those in the World Trade Center.


Churchill’s precepts of 9/11 go beyond assigning blame for the attacks on the U.S.; he has gone so far as to correlate the workers in the World Trade Center to the Nazis overseeing concentration camps. Churchill has said:


If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”  


(Adolf Eichmann was the maniacal Nazi who oversaw the extermination of European Jews during the Holocaust.)


Churchill has made clear that he believes in no halfway measures: he wants the United States wiped off the face of the earth. In a 2004 interview with the magazine SATYA, he affirmed, “I want the state gone: transform the situation to U.S. out of North America. U.S. off the planet. Out of existence altogether.” To this end, he has maintained that “it may be that more 9/11s are necessary.”


Churchill has not shrunk from violence himself, having participated in an attack that left a one Carol Standing Elk with a broken wrist, spitting on the elderly Indian woman. The attack was in retaliation after for the pivotal role Standing Elk played in expelling Churchill from AIM in 1993 for “misdirecting, disrupting, and sowing division in order to discredit and neutralize the leadership of
the American Indian Movement.”


Churchill propagates his opinions through such books as Marxism and Native Americans, and Struggle for the Land: Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide, and Colonization. He has served as a national spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. (Peltier, formerly with the socialist American Indian Movement, was convicted of murdering two FBI agents during a standoff at Pine Ridge Reservation.) Churchill regularly shares his anti-American views with college students as part of “Speak Out - Institute for Democratic Education and Culture,” which promotes “progressive speakers and artists on campuses and in communities.” These include Amiri Baraka, Medea Benjamin, Angela Davis, and Noam Chomsky. (Read The Anti-Chomsky Reader for more on Chomsky's academic jihad.)


On February 1, two days before a scheduled talk by University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, Hamilton College officials canceled the panel discussion, titled “Limits of Dissent,” citing “credible threats of violence [which] have been directed at the College and members of the panel.” The alleged threats struck no one as terribly “credible”; an outraged national public -- reportedly including many big-dollars university contributors -- kept Churchill from collecting his honorarium at Hamilton. The same day, Churchill resigned his chairmanship of the University of Colorado Ethnic Studies program, although he retains his tenured position and its $90,000 salary.


Rabinowitz explained her invitation to Churchill, saying, “We try to train [students] to be critical thinkers and to respond intelligently to what they hear. I think the students should hear his whole argument before they boil it down to a few sound bites.” But in this case, the soundbites have it right: Ward Churchill believes America deserved 9/11 – and so did its victims. Why did Hamilton students need to be subjected to that in order to become critical thinkers” -- unless Rabinowitz hoped they would adopt his diseased point of view?


Throughout, Rabinowitz has pretended the backlash against inviting Churchill represents a threat to “academic freedom” and infringes on the right to free speech. Before Hamilton canceled the Churchill appearance, Rabinowitz said, “The college is still supporting Ward Churchill coming, but because of its timing, this review could send the signal that it doesn't support the Kirkland Project. So it looks like a veiled attack on free speech.” She further whined, “This whole event and the way it unfolded raises significant questions about academic freedom, about who decides who is fit to speak, who is fit to teach.” Hamilton President Joan Hinde Stewart cited it as justification for Churchill’s speech on many occasions. However, the fallout over the Churchill speech showed that both Hamilton and Rabinowitz had overplayed its hand.


On January 28, the Office of the President at Hamilton College appointed a faculty committee to review the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture, announcing that Nancy Rabinowitz would be stepping down as the Kirkland Project director.  There can be little doubt of Nancy Rabinowitz’ motives: through her attempts to secure the speaking engagement for Churchill and the scholastic position which she offered to Rosenberg, Rabinowitz is trying to bring to Hamilton College the types of groups and individuals that her Communist father-in-law represented in court. The parents of Hamilton College students -- current and prospective -- should be aware. And Hamilton should be ashamed.

You may e-mail Thomas Ryan by clicking here.

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