Friday, June 21, 2019

Letters in defense of Peter Schäfer

CONTROVERSY: Jewish Studies Scholars Support Resigned Director of Berlin’s Jewish Museum with Two Public Letters. Leading Jewish studies scholars came out in defense of Peter Schäfer, himself a prominent Talmud Scholar, and called accusations of anti-Semitism against him “false” and “outrageous” (Hakim Bishara, Hyperallergic). This situation only came to my attention very recently. As regular readers know, I have had other things on my mind.

Professor Schäfer is a superstar in the field of Jewish studies. His work has had a massive influence on mine. I have the highest respect for him and confidence in him. That does not mean I always agree with him. I have yet to meet that person.

To be quite clear, I utterly reject BDS. I also respect free speech. Let controversial ideas be debated so that the bad ones can be debunked and discredited through rational discourse.

It is also worth underlining that the twitter account* of the Jewish Museum of Berlin clarified that the link to the article in question was not intended to take a position against the resolution against BDS by the German Bundestag. I accept that clarification.

Sometimes people do not express themselves clearly in the first instance. I don't want to live in a hell world where they can't clarify what they say. Or, for that matter, even change their mind upon reflection.

Beyond that, I should let Professor Schäfer speak for himself. He addresses the major points of criticism in this interview in Der Spiegel. Google English translation here.

For some past posts on Professor Schäfer, see here.

*The original link to the twitter account was incorrect. Now corrected. Sorry for the error.

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