Dov Waxman, a pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence and the co-​​director of North­eastern University’s Middle East Center, remem­bers his first teaching job in Ankara, Turkey, at the begin­ning of the Second Intifada. “It was a bap­tism of fire,” says Waxman, who is Jewish. “When they asked me ques­tions about the Holo­caust, because they hadn’t heard about it, it was very dif­fi­cult to respond as a pro­fessor without get­ting emotional.”

By the time I took his class a couple years ago at Baruch Col­lege, Waxman had been teaching the Israeli-​​Palestinian con­flict for a decade. He makes a point of men­tioning his per­sonal back­ground at the start of each semester. “The first thing I try to do,” he told me recently, “is to be very honest with myself about my own biases and the way in which it may shape my out­look. Because after you do that, then you can begin the hard work of trying to free your­self from it. The most dan­gerous thing occurs when aca­d­e­mics are unable or unwilling to acknowl­edge where they are coming from.”

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