Don’t Rely on College Presidents to Restrain Campus Anti-Semitism

March 26 2019

In three recent instances, the presidents of Pitzer College, Cornell University, and the University of Michigan separately stepped in to prevent, and in one case to punish, efforts by faculty and/or students to institute boycotts of Israel. While all three acted commendably, and two explicitly acknowledged the intrinsic bigotry of such boycotts, K.C. Johnson cautions against hoping their counterparts elsewhere will act similarly:

Relying on university leaders to do the right thing . . . is an inherently risky strategy. Administrators are notoriously disinclined to stand on principle. . . . In an environment where Democratic members of Congress are reviving anti-Semitic tropes or backing the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS)—even as applied to academic exchange programs—university leaders seem unlikely to continue to check passionate BDS advocates. That’s especially so given that the internal pressure on university administrators seems likely to intensify. . .

A sounder approach is more aggressive resistance to BDS efforts from other campus constituencies, for which some models exist. . . . [Last week], San Francisco State University settled a lawsuit filed by two Jewish students who alleged religious discrimination in one of the nation’s most virulently anti-Israel campus environments. The university agreed to spend $200,000 on “educational efforts to promote viewpoint diversity (including but not limited to pro-Israel and Zionist viewpoints).” The school also released a statement reiterating “its commitment to equity and inclusion for all—including those who are Jewish,” and affirming “the values of free expression and diversity of viewpoints that are so critical on a university campus.”

The [successful faculty-led effort to combat a BDS resolution at the American Historical Association] and the experience at San Francisco State show how how faculty and students can successfully resist BDS efforts—albeit at considerable cost in terms of time and resources. But absent such efforts on behalf of the academic freedom of students and professors who want to engage with Israeli institutions, administrative opposition to BDS seems likely to give way—despite the recent, commendable trend.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, University

The Attempted Murder of Salman Rushdie Should Render the New Iran Deal Dead in the Water

Aug. 15 2022

On Friday, the Indian-born, Anglo-American novelist Salman Rushdie was repeatedly stabbed and severely wounded while giving a public lecture in western New York. Reports have since emerged—although as yet unverified—that the would-be assassin had been in contact with agents of Iran, whose supreme leaders have repeatedly called on Muslims to murder Rushdie. Meanwhile U.S. and European diplomats are trying to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Stephen Daisley comments:

Salman Rushdie’s would-be assassin might have been a lone wolf. He might have had no contact with military or intelligence figures. He might never even have set foot in Tehran. But be in no doubt: he acted, in effect, as an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Under the terms of the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, Rushdie “and all those involved in [his novel The Satanic Verses’s] publication who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death.” Khomeini urged “brave Muslims to kill them quickly wherever they find them so that no one ever again would dare to insult the sanctities of Muslims,” adding: “anyone killed while trying to execute Rushdie would, God willing, be a martyr.”

An American citizen has been the victim of an attempted assassination on American soil by, it appears, another American after decades of the Iranian supreme leader agitating for his murder. No country that is serious about its national security, to say nothing of its national self-worth, can pretend this is some everyday stabbing with no broader political implications.

Those implications relate not only to the attack on Rushdie. . . . In July, a man armed with an AK-47 was arrested outside the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian dissident who was also the intended target of an abduction plot last year orchestrated by an Iranian intelligence agent. The cumulative weight of these outrages should render the new Iran deal dead in the water.

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Read more at Spectator

More about: Freedom of Speech, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy