The Jewish Studies Professors Promoting Anti-Semitism

With animosity toward Israel, and naked anti-Semitism, becoming increasingly common on college campuses, one might think that departments of Judaic studies would remain a redoubt against these trends. But that is not always the case, writes Jarrod Tanny:

Unfortunately, we have reached a low point in the lengths to which Jewish-studies scholar-activists are willing to go to throw Israel and its supporters under the bus, signing on to the blatant anti-Semitism being propagated by faculty (who are far more activists than scholars) in Middle Eastern studies, ethnic studies, communications, women’s and gender studies, and other academic disciplines whose mission is to achieve “social justice” rather than promote critical inquiry and education. Such anti-Zionist faculty in these fields have centered the liberation of Palestine (and the erasure of Israel) in their politics, in their scholarship, and even in their classrooms.

What is particularly disturbing is the fact that Jewish-studies scholars have no compunction in deploying anti-Semitic tropes to further their agenda. [Two such professors recently took to the Los Angeles Times to] write: . . . “Netanyahu has been a key pillar in the global movement of illiberal leaders who have taken control and altered the rules of the democratic game—including in Turkey, Hungary, and the United States in the Trump era.”

Suggesting that Israel is a “key pillar” in a “global movement” to subvert democracy implies that the tiny Jewish state exerts disproportionate power in world affairs and it is exercising such power through collusion with actors who seek to enshrine white supremacy (or a local variation of fascism) in their own domains. Interestingly enough, they do not impugn Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, or Iran, who are regional hegemons, in a manner that little Israel could never be, except in the minds of those who have read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The wording is subtle yet clear, hiding in plain sight, echoing fantasies of Jewish power that have led to unimaginable violence against Jews in modern history.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, Jewish studies

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus