Paul R. Brass

Anti-Semitism and the TLS

September 30, 2009

Tags: Anti-Semitism, TLS, Peter Williams

Anti-Semitism and the TLS

Pasted below is my correspondence with the editor of the TLS, protesting against their publication of a review with outright anti-Semitic content that no competent copy editor of such an important journal should have missed and failed to reject. No reply was received to my first letter, in which I did not list my professional position. I wrote again with my “credentials,” and then got an unsatisfactory response. I wrote once more, pointing out that not only the author of the anti-Semitic review, but the TLS is also responsible for publishing such a loathsome article and, therefore, owed an explanation and apology to its Jewish-American readers.

It is clear that the TLS is unwilling to own up to its responsibility in this matter. I have no choice then but to publish the correspondence as a blog.

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul R. Brass
To: letters@the-tls.co.uk
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 8:30 AM
Subject: Review by Peter Williams

Sir, — The review by Peter Williams of the books by Charles Rosen and Richard Tarushkin in the 24 July 2009 issue discredits its author as well as the TLS. It is not even subtle in its anti-Semitism, though it is also rather simple-minded. Favoring the tone of Charles Rosen’s writings over the “crude vocabulary” of Richard Tarushkin, he attributes the latter’s alleged crudeness of language to the fact that “Yiddish was spoken” in his home. Further, he remarks that, “if pressed, he [Tarushkin] admits to regarding himself as Jewish-American.” What in the world can Mr. Williams mean by such statements? Moreover, given the name, age, and New York roots of Charles Rosen, it is equally possible that Yiddish was spoken in his home and that he too might even be Jewish-American, though I do not know. In any case, it would seem that Peter Williams prefers soft-spoken Jews. I should think that Peter Williams owes an apology to all Jewish-Americans for his mild-mannered, but obvious anti-Semitic remarks.

PAUL R. BRASS
________________________________________
From: Paul R. Brass
Sent: 28 August 2009 23:48
To: TLS_Letters
Cc: mmusicology@gmail.com; president@duke.edu; evp@bnaibrith.org
Subject: Re: Review by Peter Williams
Sir,—I am sending you once again below my letter of 14 August 2009 in connection with the anti-Semitic content of the review in the TLS by Peter Williams in the 24 July 2009 issue. Given that the TLS is responsible for having allowed this scurrilous material to be published, I feel that it is obligatory that my letter be published and that an apology also be made by the TLS, along with an explanation of how this was allowed to be published in the first place.
I am also copying this e-mail to Peter Williams, the president of Duke University, Richard H. Brodhead, and B’Nai Brith.

Paul R. Brass
Professor (Emeritus), Political Science
and South Asian Studies
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
U. S. A.
http://paulbrass.com

----- Original Message -----
From: TLS_Letters
To: Paul R. Brass
Sent: Wednesday, September 09, 2009 7:40 AM
Subject: RE: Review by Peter Williams

Dear Professor Brass

Thank you for your letter. We did publish a letter in response to Peter Williams's review - by Caryl Emerson, on August 14.

Yours sincerely
Adrian Tahourdin
(Letters ed)

From: Paul R. Brass
Sent: 17 September 2009 23:14
To: TLS_Letters
Cc: evp@bnaibrith.org
Subject: Re: Review by Peter Williams
Dear Adrian Tahourdin,

Thank you for your response. I have seen the letter of Caryl Emerson, but that does not absolve TLS from providing an explanation for how an outright anti-Semitic statement of some length was allowed to be published. I continue to insist that TLS owes an explanation and an apology to Jewish-American readers.

Paul R. Brass
Professor (Emeritus), Political Science
and South Asian Studies
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
U. S. A.

Dear Professor Brass

Belated thanks for your reply. I'm sorry that you are not satisfied with the publication of Caryl Emerson's letter, which was quite hard-hitting, and which followed Richard Taruskin's own punchy response.

Yours sincerely
Adrian Tahourdin

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Selected Works

Books
An Indian Political Life focuss on the role of Charan Singh in the politics of the period, while providing a broader perspective on the major issues, controveries, and developments of the time.
This collection of essays focus on the various forms of collective violence that have occurred in India during the past six decades, which include riots, pogroms, and genocide.
Explains the persistence of Hindu-Muslim rioting in India.
Case studies of collective violence in the twentieth century.
Second edition, covering Indian politics and political economy from 1947 to 1992.
Comparative and theoretical studies of ethnic groups and nationalities in India and the Soviet Union.
Comparative studies in ethnic conflict and the interaction of ethnic identity and the state.
History and analysis of the politics of language and religious movements in northern India,
The first major study of local politics in post-Independence India.
Articles and Essays
Critique of the Social Sciences in Light of the Works of Nietzsche and Foucault
Focuses on three aspects of the Bihar Famine crisis: the process of defining the situation in Bihar; the rehtoric used in labeling it and in distinguishing it from a "normal" situation; and the responses of the authorities to the crisis.
A consideration of the consequences of curfew restrictions for the populations affected by them and the human rights issues raised by extended and punitive curfew restrictions, with special attention to India.
Discusses the problems of memorialization faced by religious/ethnic communities whose members have been subjected to large-scale, traumatic violence.
Reviews of my book by Thomas Blom Hansen, A. R. Momin, and Roger Petersen, with my response.
Text of article published in the INDIAN JOURNAL OF SECULARISM, Vol. 9 No. 1 (Jan-Mar 2006)
Biographies of Indira Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan, Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and Ram Manohar Lohia in the New Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Text of article published in the ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL WEEKLY (October 30, 2004).
Text of article published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 27 (No. 3) May 2004, pp. 353-375.
Chapter 1 in Ravinder Kaur (ed.), Religion, Violence and Political Mobilisation in South Asia (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2005), pp. 46-68.
Analysis of the 1984 parliamentary election results in Uttar Pradesh
Text of article published in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Dec., 1968), 1174-1191.
Text of article published in Modern Asian Studies, XVIII, No. 1 (February, 1984), 89-118.
Transcript of a discussion with Asghar Ali Engineer at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, Washington, D. C., held on January 12, 2004
Analysis of the killings and destruction in the Indian state of Gujarat after February 27, 2002.
Analysis of Foucault's ideas concerning power, knowledge, governing, and governance.
Conference papers
Prepared for the Panel on “Corruption as Practice and Discourse in India” at the Annual Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 19-22, 2006
Prepared for the Hiroshima Peace Institute Conference on Comparative Research into Genocide and Mass Violence, Hiroshima, Japan, March 22-26, 2004)
Methodology and ideology in the analysis of forms of collective violence