On this edition of Parallax Views, Dr. Lara Sheehi, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at George Washington University and co-author with Dr. Stephen Sheehi of Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine, joins us to discuss the complaint filed against George Washington University about her that she believes was lodged because she is an Arab woman involved in pro-Palestinian activism. Dr. Sheehi makes the case that the Israel affinity group StandWithUs, in collaboration with right-wing media organizations like Fox News and the Washington Free Beacon, have targeted her with spurious accusations of antisemitism due to her being an Arab woman engaged in pro-Palestinian activism. A complaint has been filed against George Washington University concerning Dr. Sheehi that Sheehi and others who supporter her believe has grave implications for academic freedom, free speech, and the silencing of Palestinian voices in society. From Fox News to Reason Magazine, Dr. Sheehi has been attacked. This is her side of the story.
In this conversation we delve into:
– Dr. Sheehi gives a detailed overview of the complaint and her case as well as the misrepresentations of her class syllabus and a brown-bagger event that was voluntary and held off-site
– Antisemitism; Dr. Sheehi’s opposition to antisemitism; the weaponization of antisemitism against critics of Israel
– How accusations that pro-Palestinians activists are “Ayatollahists”, “Iranian spies”, “Hamas agents”, and “Hezbollah operatives” mirror antisemitic tropes about Jews having “dual loyalties” or “Fifth Columnists”
– Islamophobia, the concept of the “Palestine Exception” in discourses about oppression and human rights, and the burden put on Arabs and Arab-Americans to prove that they are not antisemites that is not put on other marginalized groups
– The violent threats and cyber-harassment that Dr. Lara Sheehi and her husband has received, including an message that was undeniably lewd and sexist
– Psychology, trauma, identity erasure, and the silencing of Palestinian and Arab voices
– Why Dr. Sheehi believes that she was targeted by an organized smear campaign
– What are the stakes of Dr. Sheehi’s case; the potential chilling effect on free speech and academic discourse
– The George Washington University trauma center and its denial of services to Palestinian students; the group UK Lawyers for Israel and the removal of children’s artwork from a London hospital because it was made by Gazan children
– Support for Dr. Sheehi by her colleagues and students; GWU’s independent newspaper The GW Hatchet’s op-ed by Karina Ochoa Berkley on her case; the cancellation of Emily Wilder, who was fired from the AP due to her being a pro-Palestinian activist in college; cancel culture and the Palestine Exception; Dr. Sheehi discusses her relationship with her students
– And more!