Ian Lustick compares
himself to Muhammad Ali
A BRIEF ANALYSIS by Francisco Gil-White
In one of Paul Rozin's emails to me, he reports, concerning Ian Lustick, that,
There is no reason to doubt that Lustick said this to Rozin because when Lustick was asked to comment on my performance as part of my reappointment process to a second Assistant Professor contract, he said the same:
Above we see once again the claim that Lustick supposedly offered to engage with me about my claims concerning the history of the PLO, but that I supposedly was not interested in hearing his feedback. This is false, and the demonstration follows.
After circulating to the Asch Center listserv my investigation of PLO origins, I was slandered by someone on the list, one Mikhail Lubyansky (Kenyon College). He claimed that I was a liar who had privately boasted to him that I made up stuff in my academic work, and that therefore nothing I said should be believed. When challenged to produce the email in which I had supposedly said this, he did, and in so doing demonstrated to everybody that I had said no such thing. Lubyansky eventually gave me what he believed was an apology and conceded publicly that he could find no factual errors in my investigation of the PLO.
Following this, Lustick sent an email to the Asch Center list saying that he was removing himself from the Asch Center listserv. So I approached him directly to see if this meant that he would not comment on my piece, even privately. Lustick replied:
To this I said, by return email:
To which Ian Lustick replied:
This establishes that I went out of my way to get feedback from Ian Lustick, but he would not even read my piece on the PLO, he explained, because I am not important enough. In his estimation, he is the scholarly equivalent of Muhammad Ali, and I am a rookie not even deserving of a quick knockout punch -- he won't bother.
Something else deserves comment. Above, Lustick says that I have never treated him with disrespect. This contradicts what he told the psychology department when he wrote a letter evaluating my performance as part of the reappointment process. There he said that, "[Francisco] began lecturing (and hectoring) about topics well outside his professional training..." What should a bystander believe? Was I hectoring people, as Lustick's letter to the psychology department affirms, or else should we believe Lustick's letter to me, which says that I have always treated him with respect?
Professor Douglas Massey's testimony is helpful for resolving this question, because he is not an interested party, but merely an observer. He witnessed my interaction with my Asch Center colleagues when I presented my work on Kosovo, for instance, and he has testified that my work was head and shoulders above anything else he saw at the Asch Center in terms of professionalism and careful documentation, and moreover that the people at the Asch Center were the ones treating me with disrespect and behaving in a manner very different from that ideally expected in a scientific forum.
NOTE: The email from which my exchanges with Lustick were extracted is below.
Below is the email Ian Lustick sent to Francisco Gil-White, unedited. The bottom part of the email contains the exchange that had preceded this email. For ease of use I have colored Ian Lustick's text in this manner.
I've been away Francisco. You may actually have misunderstood what I am offering. I did read, or scan at least, your paper. I found it, well, not ready for serious scientific consideration. Science is not a free for all where anyone with an opinion gets to have it refuted or see it stand as uncontested truth. It's a bit more like boxing, where a few boxing lessons might have led me to publicly challenge Muhammad Ali, but would not have allowed me to claim that since he did not respond, I could rightfully say that my belief that I could defeat him stands in some convincing way.
What I will offer you is bibliographical suggestions on one of the many areas you refer to and, having digested some serious material (Howard Sachar is a wonderful old guy, and he's a long-time admirer of mine, but hardly an authority on the kinds of things you're interested in--all he's providing is the standard narrative (and by now, I'm sure, in the area of Mizrachim, he'd be the first to acknowledge that)), I'd look forward to discussing some specific question you might have.
Of course whenever anyone criticizes something I myself have written, and doesn't do it in a personally insulting way (something you have never done), I'm all ears and ready to both respond and to learn.
Francisco Gil-White wrote:
> > At 10:47 PM 10/2/2002
-0400, you wrote:
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