Pressure mounts on Auckland Uni Professor Scott Poynting’s anti-semitic letter

The other day I received a legal letter from Professor Scott Poynting’s lawyer saying that my calling him anti-semitic was defamatory.

I replied at length explaining  Professor Poynting’s problems with making that claim.

I pointed out the numerous public complaints on the University of Auckland’s Facebook page and now it seems one of his own colleagues is upset and has written to the Waikato Times also.

Scott Poynt­ing, in a re­cent let­ter to the Waikato Times (Novem­ber 28), made the com­par­i­son of Pales­tini­ans work­ing for So­daStream with Jews hav­ing worked for IG Far­ben.

Not only was the his­tor­i­cal con­text of the anal­ogy faulty, but the tacit ref­er­ence to the mil­lions of Jews killed by the Ger­mans dur­ing the era of the Third Re­ich was ap­palling, and seem­ingly de­lib­er­ately de­signed to min­imise the scale and sig­nif­i­cance of the Holo­caust.

Pro­fes­sor Poynt­ing must surely apol­o­gise for the hate­ful­ness of his com­ment.

Paul Moon Pro­fes­sor of His­tory, Auck­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy 

I guess I’ll be able to call on Paul Moon for my defence.

There is also a letter from David Zwartz of NZ Jewish Council:

‘‘Holo­caust in­ver­sion’’ is when Is­raelis are de­monised as Nazis and Pales­tini­ans are por­trayed as the vic­timised ‘‘new Jews’’. It has noth­ing to do with le­git­i­mate crit­i­cism of Is­rael. It has ev­ery­thing to do with a false anal­ogy aimed at dele­git­imis­ing and de­mon­is­ing Is­rael and Jews. It is a grotesque dis­tor­tion, la­belled as an­ti­semitism by the Euro­pean Fo­rum and the US State Depart­ment.

Prof Scott Poynt­ing’s let­ter (Work Op­por­tu­nity, Novem­ber 28) is an ex­am­ple of ‘‘Holo­caust in­ver­sion.’’ He draws par­al­lels be­tween Is­rael and Nazi Ger­many by com­par­ing two com­pa­nies. The Ger­man one em­ployed slave labour at Auschwitz to man­u­fac­ture syn­thetic petrol and rub­ber dur­ing World War II. The Is­raeli one makes soda syphons, pays its Pales­tinian work­ers dou­ble com­mon wages, and pro­vides medi­care. Th­ese facts were omit­ted from the let­ter.

I G Far­ben also man­u­fac­tured the Zyk­lon-B poi­son the Nazis used to mur­der over a mil­lion peo­ple.

Prof Poynt­ing’s com­par­i­son triv­i­alises the Holo­caust, des­e­crat­ing the mem­ory of those who died and min­imis­ing the mass ex­ter­mi­na­tion by Nazi Ger­many of six mil­lion Jews, as well as Roma (gyp­sies), ho­mo­sex­u­als, po­lit­i­cal dis­si­dents and many oth­ers. To sug­gest that Is­rael treats Pales­tini­ans sim­i­larly is to­tally false, and ig­nores the facts of an in­creas­ing Pales­tinian pop­u­la­tion and their as­cent to some of the high­est liv­ing stan­dards in the re­gion.

Crit­i­cism of gov­ern­ments, com­pa­nies, and in­di­vid­u­als is part of the democ­racy we en­joy. How­ever, the let­ter writ­ten by Poynt­ing, a uni­ver­sity aca­demic who him­self ad­vo­cates against hate crimes, was sick, hate­ful, and breached ba­sic stan­dards of rea­son and de­cency.

David Zwartz of NZ Jewish Council

Good luck to Professor Scott Poynting making his spurious claims stand up in a court.

Professor Scott Poynting is the one who should be apologising, not demanding retractions for legitimate criticism.

 

– Waikato Times

 


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