The New School for Social Research plans to host a panel this evening titled “Anti-Semitism and the Struggle for Justice”; participants include the Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour (infamous for such comments as “nothing is creepier than Zionism”) and two representatives of Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization dedicated to anti-Israel propagandizing. At the same time, the panel includes no speakers with a record of opposing anti-Semitism or defending the Jewish state, or of representing any political orientation outside the far left. Phyllis Chesler, herself an alumna of the New School, comments:
The description of the panel tells us: “Anti-Semitism is harmful and real. But when anti-Semitism is redefined as criticism of Israel, critics of Israeli policy become accused and targeted more than the growing far-right. Join us for a discussion on how to combat anti-Semitism today.”
More targeted than the far-right? . . . Words almost fail me [reading the organizers’] self-serving bid for victim status: they themselves are the aggressors who maliciously conflate anti-Semitism, which they practice, with “criticism of Israel,” as if the all-powerful Jewish Lobby is now threatening to shut down even the most innocent “criticism” of its actions. The canard is so transparent that it’s amazing to think that educated people believe it. But being educated has never proved to be a bar against being anti-Semitic, or being a camp follower or appeaser of haters. . . .
It is ironic: even as charges of “appropriation” are leveled at men who write about women, whites who write about non-whites, non-gays who write about gays—the single exception is that of allowing a non-Jew like Sarsour to hold forth in an academic setting as an “expert” on a subject about which she knows absolutely nothing.
The New School panel is political theater, meant to intimidate, appease, and entertain, not to educate. It is possible because hatred of Jews is in fashion on the left these days, and because academics are in denial about Islamist violence, whether it targets Jews, women, gays, or other minorities. Therefore, they seek to appease such violence by siding with it against permissible scapegoats, beginning with the Jews and Israel. Academics who should have more nuanced views of geopolitical conflicts instead view the jihadist aggressors as “victims” and their true victims . . . as perpetrators.