"All Jews should be sterilized"in his lecture. Naturally, this upset one of his students, Sarah Grunfeld, who says "that’s pretty serious," and so she emailed Oriyah Barzilay, the president of an Israel advocacy group on campus who then sent a press release to media and other Jewish community groups calling for Johnston to be fired.
If this were all the story, I might sympathize with the outrage and the demands for Mr. Johnston's resignation. But, you see, that isn't what he said at all.
What he did say was
Everyone is not entitled to their opinion. “All Jews should be sterilized” would be an example of an unacceptable and dangerous opinion.See what happens when you add the context? It's quite significant. But not to Ms. Grunfeld, who states
“The words, ‘Jews should be sterilized’ still came out of his mouth, so regardless of the context I still think that’s pretty serious.”No, Ms. Grunfeld, you are wrong. It is not serious that he mentioned those words. Just like if I write the word "nigger" on this page, that does not mean that I am calling anyone a nigger or exhibiting racism. If you remove the context of the words you change the meaning of the words. And there is a major difference between using a word and mentioning it.
Ms. Grunfeld is adamant, however, that she is correct and doubts that Mr. Johnston is, in fact, Jewish, as he claims he is, and says that maybe if he IS, he just thought that he could talk "smack" about Jews. That statement made so little sense that I thought my head would explode.
Ms. Grunfeld: You owe Mr. Johnston an apology. You were wrong when you misunderstood a perfectly reasonable statement and so caused trouble for him, and now you are wrong when accuse him of lying about his background and questioning his motives. It's time to back down and admit that you were wrong. Please do it now before you become even wronger.