An Inside Look at Anti-Semitism at Oberlin

Quoting in full a lengthy Facebook post by a recent graduate of Oberlin College on the subject of anti-Israel sentiment on campus, David Bernstein examines the fruit of the far-left’s venomous demonization of the Jewish state:

I found most remarkable [this Oberlin alumna’s] assertion that multiple students had dismissively referred to the Holocaust as “white-on-white crime,” as if the “progressive” students there found it impossible to conceive of horrific racist violence outside the parameters of paradigmatic examples of racist violence in the United States. What’s remarkable about the incidents she recounts, which range from gross insensitivity to blatant anti-Semitism, is . . . that, if the Facebook post in question is true, some of the most purportedly progressive students, those who [claim to be] most acutely sensitive to and active against other forms of racism, ignore anti-Semitism, belittle it, and in some cases participate in it.

I found the entire post of great interest, not just as a troubling sign of emerging hostility to Jews and Jewish concerns among self-proclaimed social-justice advocates on left-wing campuses, but as an equally troubling sign of the degradation of intellectual discourse at such campuses more generally, as reason, compassion, and plain old decent manners are replaced with shrill sloganeering based on which group can most successfully proclaim itself to be a victim.

Nor is there any indication, despite the purported focus on multiculturalism, that the students who engage in these antics have received anything resembling a sound education in world history and cultures, or much of anything else, as everything is shoehorned into simplistic ideological categories that bear no apparent relation to context and reality.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Idiocy, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Leftism, Multiculturalism, University


How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus