I made the claim that Associate Professor of Political Science had an article in the Axis of Logic — a cite that is clearly not, shall we say, smack in the middle of the main stream. I made the claim because, well, here is the article.

In the comments to that post and private correspondance, Professor Lynch kindly points out that he, in fact, did not seek to publish his article on the Axis of Logic. I am glad to have the opportunity to correct my mistake. In fact, Professor Lynch published the article in TomPaine.com, a public interest journal.

All of which leaves me with two questions. First, are the settlements, in fact, illegal? Professor Lynch pointed out that there is some relevant material at the Foundation for Middle East Peace (www.fmep.org), which happens to be run by Philip Wilcox ’58. See here for thoughts on the legality of the settlements. See here for a refutation. (Thanks to Max K in the comments for the link.) My conclusion is that terming the settlements illegal is biased and incorrect.

Note that this might help to explain why the anti-Semites at Axis of Logic decided to republish Lynch’s piece, as opposed to hundreds of other articles from sites like TomPaine.com that they decided not to publish. Again, just because the fever swamp folks at Axis of Logic like Lynch’s writing does not mean that he is a swamp denizen himself. But the fact that they do should give Lynch pause.

Second, why isn’t Lynch interested in a discussion of topic? He say that he is “not going to get involved in a pointless debate about the legality of the settlements in the occupied territories.” Why not? And why is it pointless? Of course, it is a free country and Lynch is under no obligation to discuss anything at ephblog or elsewhere. But, given that we have current Williams students reading and partipating at ephblog, and strongly disagreeing with what he claims to be a fact — that the settlements are illegal — I would think that he has an obligation to participate, at least a bit.

This is the interesting aspect of ephblog. We read what fellow Ephs have to say and take it seriously. Perhaps Lynch is not used to that, or at least not used to having readers of opinion pieces like this (as opposed to some of his more scholarly work) who do not already agree with him. I don’t know. However you slice it, Lynch is making a factual claim that I (and other Ephs) believe is clearly wrong. If, in a civil and public forum, he declines to defend his claim, readers can draw their own conclusions about his intellectual seriousness.

Lest this sound too harsh, let me say again that I am a fan of Lynch. Anyone with the sense of humor needed to produce pieces like this has got to be a good guy. Moreover, judging from a distance, Lynch seems to be at least as engaged with Williams students outside of his own classes as any professor at Williams. And, to the extent that you care about such things, his record of publications is one of the more impressive in the department.

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