Asians, Jews, and Harvard

Oct. 11 2018

A group of Asian-American students are currently suing Harvard University for discrimination, claiming that the school has an unpublicized cap on the number of Asian Americans it will accept in any given year. Yet despite its commitment to political activism—including a boycott of Israel—the Association for Asian-American Studies (AAAS), has no intention of supporting the suit. Jonathan Marks comments:

Consider the AAAS’s 2018 conference theme: “Solidarity and Resistance: Toward Asian-American Commitment to Fierce Alliances.” As the organization’s president, Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explains, that theme flows out of the history of Asian-American Studies—a field brought to life by “student activists and faculty protestors” in the 1960s. But the left-wing politics that led the AAAS to endorse the boycott of Israel and to disregard anti-Semitism within the boycott movement also blinds its adherents to some forms of discrimination against Asian Americans.

Janelle Wong, a professor of American Studies and Asian-American Studies took to the Chronicle of Higher Education last week to complain about the situation at Harvard, which is being sued over its affirmative-action policies. . . . Professor Wong’s complaint is that, well, Asian-Americans are complaining. First, Wong argues, Asian-Americans are a much higher percentage of the student body at places like Harvard and Yale than they are of the U.S. population. . . .

In 1922, Harvard’s president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, sought to institute a Jewish quota. He had discovered that a major cause of anti-Semitism is the presence of Jews. . . . At the time, though, Jews constituted over 20 percent of Harvard’s student body and only around 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. According to Wong’s logic, they had nothing to complain about. Lowell didn’t get the quota he wanted, but new standards did put downward pressure on the troublingly high Jewish population in universities. . . .

How often does one see a person of the left, usually eager to make the leap from disparity to discrimination, mount a vociferous attack on those who acknowledge what appears to be an obvious case of discrimination? Jews see that sort of thing often, and many have stuck with the left nonetheless. Let’s hope Asian-Americans prove less inclined to shrug and let it pass.

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More about: Affirmative action, BDS, Harvard, Israel on campus, Politics & Current Affairs, University, Yale

Israel Should Try to Defang Hamas without Toppling It

Feb. 22 2019

For the time being, Hamas has chosen to avoid outright war with the Jewish state, but instead to apply sustained, low-intensity pressure through its weekly border riots and organizing terrorist cells in the West Bank. Yet it is simultaneously engaged in a major military build-up, which suggests that it has not entirely been deterred by the previous three Gaza wars. Yaakov Lappin considers Jerusalem’s options:

In recent years, the Israel Defense Force’s southern command, which is responsible for much of the war planning for Gaza, identified a long-term truce as the best of bad options for Israel. This is based on the understanding that an Israeli invasion of Gaza and subsequent destruction of the Hamas regime would leave Israel in the unenviable position of being directly in charge of some two-million mostly hostile Gazans. This could lead to an open-ended and draining military occupation. . . .

Alternatively, Israel could demolish the Hamas regime and leave Gaza, putting it on a fast track to a “Somalia model” of anarchy and violence. In that scenario, . . . multiple jihadist armed gangs lacking a central ruling structure would appear, and Israel would be unable to project its military might to any single “return address” in Gaza. This would result in a loss of Israel’s deterrent force on Gaza to keep the region calm. This scenario would be considerably worse than the current status quo.

But a third option, in between the options of leaving Gaza as it is and toppling Hamas in a future war, may exist. In this scenario, the IDF would decimate Hamas’s military wing in any future conflict but leave its political wing and police force in place. This would enable a rapid Israeli exit after a war, but avoid a Somalia-like fate for Gaza with its destructive implications for both Israelis and Gazans. . . .

On the one hand, Hamas’s police force is an intrinsic support system for Gaza’s terrorist-guerrilla forces. On the other hand, the police and domestic-security units play a genuine role in keeping order. Such forces have been used to repress Islamic State-affiliated cells that challenge Hamas’s rule. . . . Compared to the alternative scenarios of indefinite occupation or the “Somalia scenario,” a weakened Hamas might be the best and most realistic option.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security