Curiouser and curiouser: a footnote to Yale's Islamophobia-phobia

[See the update at the end of this post.]

In the September issue of The New Criterion, out on September 1 at www.newcriterion.com and at newsstands everywhere, the Editors devote the Notes & Comments section to the saga of The Danish Cartoons and Yale University. As readers of Roger's Rules, you may feel that you know all there is to know about that disreputable episode. In fact, there are a few new wrinkles that anyone concerned with academic freedom and/or the American character of American universities will want to know about and I hope you will consult the piece in The New Criterion when it appears.

For the time being, though, I want to share just one item from that note. It concerns the role of Ambassador John Negroponte in the affair. I had heard through the proverbial grapevine that he was one of the "two dozen" mostly unnamed "experts in the intelligence, national security, law enforcement, and diplomatic fields, as well as leading scholars in Islamic studies and Middle East studies," that Yale consulted in order to justify censoring Jytte Klausen's book The Cartoons that Shook the World. He seemed like a natural choice: as a former Director of National Intelligence and former United States Deputy Secretary of State, he had occupied top spots in the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic apparatus. He had also been U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, the U.N., and Iraq. He was also in the neighborhood, having recently been appointed a fellow to at Yale's MacMillan Center of International Studies. More to the point, Ambassador Negroponte was part of a State Department that seemed more concerned about "offending" Muslims than dealing with jihadists. Indeed, it counselled its employees to avoid even using terms like "jihad," "terrorist," and "Islamofascism" because it might upset the poor dears. He was, I surmised, a natural for Yale to consult since he could be counted on to deliver the verdict Yale desired.

I tried to confirm Ambassador Negroponte's role, but no one at the Yale Press would do so. Nor would the Ambassador's Washington office do so. Indeed, I would describe his aide's response as dismissive, bordering on rude, as he spat out the words "No Comment."

Fortunately, The Yale Daily News has come to the rescue, at least I think it has. Last night at 7:00 p.m., the newspaper posted the following story.

Negroponte