A few weeks ago, participants on an anti-Semitic Web site became angry when a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles refused to participate in an exchange of e-mail messages.
The professor was Jewish, and the Web site responded by placing photographs of and biographic material about UCLA professors and anti-Semitic diatribes online. In recent days, the Web site -- Vanguard News Network -- has expanded its campaign, which it says is designed to draw attention to the high percentage of Jewish professors on law schools' faculties.
The Web site is now publishing a variety of information -- photographs, results of Google searches, phone numbers -- of faculty members who are Jewish (or have Jewish-sounding names) at leading law schools all over the United States.
Among the institutions who have faculty members discussed by name on the Web site are Georgetown, Harvard, New York, Stanford and Yale Universities; and the Universities of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Most of the comments attack Jewish faculty members at law schools, with a theme being that they make up a larger share of law school faculties than do Jews in the U.S. population, and that this over-representation signifies Jewish control of American society.
But some of the professors attacked are not Jewish or law professors. A black female professor is described as "Mammy Stormtrooper for Jooz."
And a few professors who are listed teach in other disciplines. Harry Jaffa, a professor emeritus of government at Claremont McKenna College, is described by one of the Web site's authors (verbatim) as "a troll jew at CMC, next to my school, Pomona, in Claremont. He's the major Lincoln liar -- the leader of the school that refurbishes reality to fit current jewish political needs, ie claiming lincoln was a liberator rather than dictator."
Jaffa, author of such books as Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, says that he is Jewish and he does believe Lincoln was a liberator. The site on which he is listed generally sickens him.
"These people are old-fashioned racists who are defenders of slavery," Jaffa said, adding that it was "a badge of honor" to be hated by the people who produce Vanguard News Network.
Several professors contacted said that they were just learning that they were being discussed on the Web site, and some said that they were shook up by being there.
John C. Jeffries Jr., dean of the law school at Virginia, which had a number of professors named, said in a statement: "Despicable hate-mongering is facilitated by the Internet. For reasons both technological and legal, such speech is impossible to control. It should nonetheless be condemned and, to the extent possible, ignored."
Carl C. Monk, executive director of the Association of American Law Schools, said he was "very concerned" about law school faculty members being singled out for being Jewish -- or for any discriminatory reason.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said that the Web site's tactics were particularly offensive because of the pattern of anti-Semites' first trying to publicly identify Jews, and then waiting for others to attack them in various ways. "History has taught us that this is the way it starts, and then all it takes is one crazy person."
The Vanguard News Network, he said, "is all about hate, to facilitate bigotry, prejudice, racism and anti-Semitism."