instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Blog

Anti-Semitism and the TLS

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
2 Comments
Post a comment