Talk about Anti-Semitism at a College Campus, and the Anti-Semites Will Show Up

At a conference held at Bard College two weeks ago on the subject of “racism and anti-Semitism,” a group of protesters—organized by Students for Justice in Palestine—attempted with some success to disrupt a talk by Ruth Wisse and two (Jewish) discussants. (Wisse, known for speaking her mind forcefully against campus anti-Semitism, thanked the protestors for “providing a demonstration” of the topic at hand.) Administrators and security did little to stop the demonstrators.

While such scenes are hardly remarkable in today’s universities, more notable was the flood of indignant denials from conference participants that followed an article by one of the discussants, Batya Ungar-Sargon, describing what happened. The indignation, perhaps, stemmed from Ungar-Sargon’s willingness to label the demonstrations anti-Semitic. Shany Mor, a professor at Bard and the third participant on the panel, defends Ungar-Sargon’s account and exposes the feeble excuses for the thuggish behavior of the students:

The protest was only against Wisse, I was told repeatedly, even though flyers against all three of us were distributed. This was the reception controversial speakers should expect, I was told, even though there were many far more controversial speakers at the conference. But this is a liberal campus, I was told, and the reception was always going to be worse for controversial speakers from the right than from the left. This was doubly odd, as neither Ungar-Sargon nor I can be fairly imagined as being on the right by anyone’s imagination.

And, while many of the more provocative lectures were not terribly provocative to a left-liberal audience, [others] were. There was a panelist who argued that black underachievement was not due to racism but to fathers. There was a panelist arguing that “chosenness” had distorted Jewish political thought and as such infected later European thought on colonialism. . . . . There was a panelist who argued that certain African and Asian countries might have been better off had they remained under European colonial rule. . . . Some had difficult questions from the audience; many didn’t even have that. None was protested.

This is what makes [one Bard professor’s] claim that the demonstration was motivated by nothing more than the fact that the three panelists “espouse political opinions with which the students disagree” so outrageous. It’s understandable that this is what he might want believe, but it’s verifiably false. The three of us up there on that stage actually have radically different political views from each other, and radically different views on the issue in question at that session. This would have been apparent had a civilized discussion taken place.

Indeed, notes Mor, Students for Justice in Palestine chose only to target “the one panel [exclusively] of Jewish speakers, presented as Jews, talking about Jew-hatred [at] the entire two-day conference.”

Read more at Forward

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, Ruth Wisse, Students for Justice in Palestine

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