Discontinuation of the contract of Lithuania’s last Jewish professor — Dovid Katz, founding Yiddish professor at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute and editor of this website — for having mounted a defense of the defamed Holocaust Survivors, and building (via the Vilnius diplomatic community, op-eds in mainstream publications, and this site) international opposition to the ‘Double Genocide’ movement in Europe, and in Lithuania.
An intrigue entailing the ethical and intellectual hijacking of the Vilnius Yiddish Institute has reduced it from proud western-grade academic independence renowned for free speech, and a huge credit to Lithuania, to the status of a government mouthpiece on Jewish issues that seeks to manipulate ‘Jewish news’, while continuing the excellent one-month summer course in Yiddish.
The VYI’s LA-based Board of the Friends, the sponsoring body, ignored seven letters concerning contract renewal, sent from June 2009 onward, one of them (here; covering email here) from six NATO ambassadors (Canada, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, UK, USA), one from the Israeli ambassador (here); an additional letter from the ADL’s Abe Foxman was also forwarded to the Board (here). The Board never responded to Professor Katz’s own letters asking about renewal, after eleven years of service to Vilnius University. It was a Lithuanian Foreign Ministry official who boasted to him that he should never have supported the Jewish partisans.
Three prominent founding members of the Board resigned in protest over the abject acquiescence to Lithuanian government pressure: Zane Buzby (Los Angeles), Prof. Sidney Rosenfeld (Oberlin, Ohio) and S. Chic Wolk Esq (Santa Monica). Those who remain on the Lithuanian-government-compliant Board, now (28 Aug 2010) enumerated on the VYI website are: Dr Daniel R. Berg of Bloomington, Indiana; Ms Tina Lunson of Washington, DC; Dr Richard Maullin and Mr Dan Opatoshu, both of the Los Angeles area of California. Any future public changes will be reported in this journal.
An example here of the ongoing effort to entangle (and entrap and quislingize) naive Western academics and institutions, often with lavish junkets, hospitality and favors. This instance evolved into ongoing attempted enlistment of Indiana University’s Borns Jewish Studies program and its AHEYM program to provide drop-in Yiddish professor D.B. Kerler for window-dressing. Comments to IU here.
Michael Cohen (UCLA) comments.