Anti-Semitism at Warwick University
It transpires that Professor Pratt is a notable activist against all things Israeli, and is a leading proponent of the campaign to boycott, divest and impose sanctions. She was a signatory to a letter in the Guardian calling for Israel to lose the battle with Hamas, stating that the ‘massacres in Gaza are the latest phase of a war Israel has waged against the people of Palestine’.
Understandably, Miss Bakovic was a little perturbed by this, and asked the university to assign her an alternative supervisor. “I am not challenging Prof. Pratt’s intellectual abilities,” she wrote politely. “I’m sure she is extremely competent... (but) I would be much happier that a person who is not involved in anti-Israel campaigns be my supervisor.”
Her request was refused.
In due course, Miss Bakovic’s dissertation was awarded a ‘pass’ (60%) by Professor Pratt. This was substantially beneath the standard of the rest of Miss Bakovic’s degree work, which was of ‘distinction’ level. One of Professor Pratt’s criticisms of the dissertation was that Miss Bakovic had a tendency to ‘adopt Israeli/Zionist narratives as thought they were uncontested facts’. As an example, Professor Pratt cited the student’s point that minorities in Arab countries did not have equal citizenship rights. Professor Pratt countered: “That is not strictly correct. Minorities in Arab countries have the same citizenship rights as the majority but there are usually restraints on the freedom of religion (except Lebanon) and also limits on minority cultural expression in Syria. More significantly, there are restraints on citizenship rights in general for the whole population.”
Professor Pratt is supposed to be an ‘expert’ in the politics of the Middle East, and apparently has no knowledge at all of Egypt’s Coptic Christians or of Gaza’s gays. If minorities in Arab countries have the same citizenship rights as the majority, why are minorities so persecuted? Is she not aware of the plight of the kuffar and infidels throughout the region? Of their systematic eradication under autocratic Arab regimes? And minorities aside (since Professor Pratt is also keen on feminist narratives), is she not aware of how women are treated in Arab countries?
It is quite incredible that the concerns of a Masters level student went unheeded by Warwick University. It is equally incredible that Miss Bakovic had to contend for seven months against the pervasive Guardianista culture of the education establishment in order to have her academic thesis assessed fairly. After further consideration, the University re-marked the dissertation, and Miss Bakovic was awarded a distinction (71%). One might expect examiners at this level of academia to differ by a few percentage points, but 11% is an unbridgeable gulf.
There is little point in trying to get Professor Pratt put through competency or disciplinary procedures, because her superiors have already shown themselves to be blind to her anti-Semitic views. Of course, had this been a Muslim student complaining against a Jewish professor, the University would have bent over backwards to address the student’s concerns (and the Jewish professor would probably have been summarily dismissed for racism). The academic world appears to be oblivious to the fact that by calling for a boycott of all things Israeli, or by singling out Israel alone as a target for sanctions, amounts to an irrational hatred for Israel and loathing of Jews.
There is prima facie evidence that Professor Pratt's personal political opinions prejudiced her academic objectivity. His Grace would advise Miss Bakovic to leave Professor Pratt to progress her career (the LSE would welcome her with open arms) and focus on suing Warwick University for breach of contract, breach of trust, and failing in their duty of care. This blog stands ready to support her every step of the way.