The Case for Sticking It Out in a Hostile Academia

Responding to a fellow tenured professor’s decision to resign his post rather than persist in teaching at an increasingly illiberal and anti-Semitic university, Samuel J. Abrams argues that Jewish academics can do more good by remaining in the lions’ den:

Sarah Lawrence College is not the friendliest school when it comes to viewpoint diversity; students regularly self-censor and often feel too intimidated to disagree with the prevailing—[usually] progressive—norms of the campus. . . . As an outwardly observant Jew who also publicly supports Israel even when I deeply disagree with its government, [I witness my] faculty colleagues regularly attacking Israel and me without worry. They habitually make deeply insensitive and inappropriate remarks to me and regularly assert that Israel is an illegitimate, genocidal, and apartheid state. I have found Nazi imagery on my office door over the years and have been told to make no real issue of it.

In my situation, it was made clear by the highest level of administrators and the college president that I may want to find employment elsewhere and that many would rather I no longer be on campus. But I have tenure and academic freedom; it is a sacred privilege to be a professor and I love teaching, my students, and the innovative liberal-arts curriculum that we have at Sarah Lawrence College. I promote viewpoint diversity and discourse and being able to be openly Jewish, which has backstopped scores of students who now feel far more comfortable pushing back on the anti-Semitic Zeitgeist. While I will never have a complete picture, I know that I have made many feel safer and more willing to question and express themselves.

I may not be able to stop anti-Jewish [sentiment], but I can certainly blunt it on occasion and perhaps change minds.

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Read more at Jewish Journal

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

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism