Today's Campus anti-Semitism

Ian Oxnevad

CounterCurrent: Week of 04/29/2024

CounterCurrent: anti-Semitism Edition is a monthly newsletter of the National Association of Scholars’ newsletter, which will document, expose, and explain the anti-Semitism on today’s college campuses.

The protests on college campuses across America the past two weeks are reminiscent of another era, but are yet another symptom of a world on fire. With major continental war ongoing in Europe, growing tensions between China and Taiwan in the Pacific, and the Iran-Israel conflict emerging from the shadows into the daylight, today’s campus anti-Semitism is a shot across the bow for Americans. Anti-Semitism may be the world’s oldest form of bigotry, but today’s anti-Semitism is about more than simply hating Israel or Jews. As stated by the late-Chief Rabbi of Britain, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: “the hate that begins with the Jews never ends with the Jews.” Today’s anti-Semitism is not about Israeli policy, or even just about Jewish identity; rather, it is about erasing Western civilization. If you are a regular reader of CounterCurrent, that likely includes you.

Welcome to the first (and hopefully last) edition of CounterCurrent with a focus on anti-Semitism in academia. Similar to our monthly newsletter on China’s influence in American education, this edition will document, expose, and explain the anti-Semitism on today’s college campuses. While protests, students calling for a “final solution,” besieged campus administrators, and police raids have garnered the most attention, they are nothing more than symptoms of a deep and old disease in today’s Marxist-dominated academy.

Shock is arguably the most dominant emotion playing out among many American Jews, concerned officials, and average citizens upset with the violent antics transpiring on college quads. In New York, where Columbia University became a symbolic focal point for the current protests, mayor Eric Adams expressed that he was “horrified and disgusted” with the campus’ anti-Jewish climate. The wife of the former White House Press Secretary under the Obama administration, and co-chair of Columbia’s Board of Trustees, Claire Shipman, stated that the protests are “shocking” and that we have “lost our way” as a society. CNN’s Dana Bash stated that the campus anti-Semitism is “dangerous.” In the Jewish community, Holocaust survivor Tova Friedman, called it “utterly shocking.” No one should be shocked. Anyone with a conscience in the academic profession should have seen this coming. At the National Association of Scholars, we warned not only of Columbia’s penchant for terrorists, but the pervasive anti-Semitism of today’s universities six months before the October 7 attacks.

Simply put, anti-Semitism is a social grace in today’s professorate, and part of a broader anti-Western ideology behind the teaching and research of too many professors. Shortly after the October 7 attacks, Tabia Lee, the former diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) director of Silicon Valley’s De Anza College verified the pervasive anti-Semitism of today’s campus after she made the mistake of trying to implement an honestly diverse and welcoming campus. Lee noted the school’s openly anti-Semitic environment, complete with pro-Palestinian Hanukkah parties, student motions to divest the campus from Israel. Despite being black, not Jewish, and pushing De Anza’s administration to take action, she was instead called a “dirty Zionist” and informed that Israel and Jews are part of a class of “White oppressors.” Lee’s experience encapsulates today’s academic orthodoxy.

To a casual onlooker, today’s campus anti-Semites make little sense. American students at Princeton University held up flags of the Shia Muslim terrorist group Hezbollah. At Columbia, students shouted, “We are Hamas.” Last October, shortly after the attack by Hamas, Jewish students at the private New York college of Cooper Union were blockaded in a library by an anti-Semitic mob. That same week at New York University, another protestor held up a sign saying, “keep the world clean,” and featuring a Star of David being thrown away. Just recently, another protestor at George Washington University held a sign calling for a “final solution.” Also at Columbia, a student carrying an American flag was assaulted by a pro-Palestinian protestor who lit the student’s flag on fire. These anecdotes are some of the highlights of the Jew-hating fever animating colleges at the close of spring semester.

It would be a mistake to dismiss the campus antics as just that. Student protestors and student groups in general are dangerous and have toppled governments and societies over the past century. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Nazis’ own National Socialist Student League targeted Jewish professors and students with shaming campaigns, vandalism, and intimidation. If you think that today’s multiracial and globalized student protestors are much different, students at Yale formed a human chain to block Jewish students from entering campus buildings. Today’s burgeoning left wing totalitarians are indeed learning from history, as the Nazis did the exact same thing at the University of Vienna in 1938.

In Iran prior to the 1979 revolution, it was a toxic mix of student Marxist and Islamist groups who organized and later helped topple the Shah. Marxist students in Italy during that same decade nearly toppled the Italian government. In the 1970s, the Red Brigades formed as a terrorist group founded by the student-activist Renato Curcio at the University of Trento. Students were integral to the group’s activities, which included kidnappings, robberies and assassinations. In 1978, the Red Brigades assassinated the former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Other assassinations included Rome University political economy professor Enzio Tarantelli, and United States Brigadier General James L. Dozier.

Viewing today’s anti-Semitic protestors as less dangerous would be a mistake aside from these precedents. For one, a number of elite professors have connections to Iran, or pasts with pro-Palestinian terrorist groups. Columbia’s own faculty, Rashid Khalidi was an advisor to Palestinian peace delegations. Also at Columbia, professor of Iranian studies, Hamid Dabashi, claimed Zionists to be responsible for “every dirty treacherous ugly pernicious act.” Both Princeton and Yale have agreements with former Biden administration advisor Robert Malley, who has his own ties to Iran. Last year, our report on the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement found that professors around the country support or condone groups sympathetic or connected to groups like Hamas. I can vividly remember my own Arabic class as an undergraduate student at Cal State San Bernardino, and a professor from Lebanon running his finger under a student’s neck and talking about “killing the Jews” in Arabic.

Today’s campus anti-Semites are not isolated to the campus quad. Many have the ear of members of Congress, and much of the Democratic Party. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has supported the protests, as has Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who called police action against the mob an aspect of “right-wing demagoguery.” Their own anti-Semitism is invisible to them; however, it exemplifies why the campus mobs are so dangerous. The campus mobs matter because they have access to elite institutions, political parties, and policymakers who can enact their goals. It is this that separates the left wing anti-Semitism from Jew-hating in other manifestations. This is the perversion of higher ed’s values that we will continue to expose.

No one should be shocked at this anti-Semitism. After all, this is the freshman class of 2020 reaching its graduating year. That year, they came for the statues. Today, they are coming for the Jews, and tomorrow it may be the rest of us.

Photo by Mason Goad, taken at George Washington University, April 29, 2024.

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