Can the Universities Be Saved?

Some of the most horrifying scenes of anti-Semitism in the U.S. have been coming from college campuses. K.C. Johnson carefully details what has been happening and examines how things have gotten this bad. He also considers what, if anything, can be done to remedy the situation.

Donors . . . looking to work through the system to create a more balanced environment on Israel are likely to be disappointed. A troubling lesson came a few years ago from the University of Washington, where a $5 million donation to endow a chair in Israel Studies wound up yielding a figure whose perspective on matters related to Israel seemed indistinguishable from that of her colleagues in Middle East Studies. The most effective response will have to come from within the academy—especially from faculty in less politicized fields such as STEM, business, or medicine. Professors from these disciplines have taken the lead in the rare joint faculty letters critical of the post-October 7 campus environment.

A lack of curiosity for why only Israel has generated such negative passion on campus could have been expressed by the leader of any major college or university in recent years. Absent outside pressure—from donors, legislators, potential employers, the media—universities are never going to explore this question. New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul stepped in to order an outside review of anti-Semitism at CUNY. Heavy pressure from alumni and a large protest by Jewish students seem to have triggered Columbia to appoint a task force to explore anti-Semitism on its campus.

If these inquiries are conducted thoroughly, they almost certainly will implicate powerful faculty and bureaucratic constituencies.

Read more at Commentary

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

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion