A California College Disgraces Itself out of Hostility to Israel

Last week, the council of Pitzer College—a liberal-arts school in Claremont, California—voted to end its study-abroad program with Haifa University. The college’s president has declared he will not abide by the resolution of the council, a body made up of representatives of the faculty, staff, and students. But the results, writes Jonathan Marks, are nonetheless disturbing:

Pitzer maintains programs in China and Rwanda, both uncommonly repressive regimes with no regard for academic freedom. And look! They’re embarking on a program with the University of Zimbabwe, “conditions permitting.” . . .

So, to square its rejection of Israel with its rejection of absolutely no other country, the council’s motion focuses wholly on the specifics of Israel’s visa policy. Among other things, that policy bars from the country certain supporters of boycotting it. There is, of course, no reason to make that the line a nation must not cross. . . .

[T]he reason for the Pitzer boycott is the same as it has ever been [for boycotts of Israel]: to strike a blow against the intolerable presence and strength of Jews in the Middle East. Yes, the motion suggests that there may be ways to permit students to travel to Israel without dirtying themselves through contact with Israel’s universities. And yes, the motion allows for the possibility that other countries may one day also be deemed too filthy to touch. The American Studies Association said much the same thing when it voted for a boycott [of Israel] in 2013. Somehow, it hasn’t gotten around to boycotting anyone else yet. . . .

This is the first time that the stakeholders of a college—not a student government association, but the faculty, staff, and students of a college—has voted to ignore the protests of those in their community who consider [the boycott-Israel movement] anti-Semitic and to ignore their own responsibility to protect scholarship and teaching from partisanship. And all to spit on a country most of them don’t know a blessed thing about.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Academic Boycotts, BDS, Israel & Zionism, University

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University