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.