Asians, Jews, and Harvard

A group of Asian-American students are currently suing Harvard University for discrimination, claiming that the school has an unpublicized cap on the number of Asian Americans it will accept in any given year. Yet despite its commitment to political activism—including a boycott of Israel—the Association for Asian-American Studies (AAAS), has no intention of supporting the suit. Jonathan Marks comments:

Consider the AAAS’s 2018 conference theme: “Solidarity and Resistance: Toward Asian-American Commitment to Fierce Alliances.” As the organization’s president, Cathy J. Schlund-Vials explains, that theme flows out of the history of Asian-American Studies—a field brought to life by “student activists and faculty protestors” in the 1960s. But the left-wing politics that led the AAAS to endorse the boycott of Israel and to disregard anti-Semitism within the boycott movement also blinds its adherents to some forms of discrimination against Asian Americans.

Janelle Wong, a professor of American Studies and Asian-American Studies took to the Chronicle of Higher Education last week to complain about the situation at Harvard, which is being sued over its affirmative-action policies. . . . Professor Wong’s complaint is that, well, Asian-Americans are complaining. First, Wong argues, Asian-Americans are a much higher percentage of the student body at places like Harvard and Yale than they are of the U.S. population. . . .

In 1922, Harvard’s president, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, sought to institute a Jewish quota. He had discovered that a major cause of anti-Semitism is the presence of Jews. . . . At the time, though, Jews constituted over 20 percent of Harvard’s student body and only around 3.5 percent of the U.S. population. According to Wong’s logic, they had nothing to complain about. Lowell didn’t get the quota he wanted, but new standards did put downward pressure on the troublingly high Jewish population in universities. . . .

How often does one see a person of the left, usually eager to make the leap from disparity to discrimination, mount a vociferous attack on those who acknowledge what appears to be an obvious case of discrimination? Jews see that sort of thing often, and many have stuck with the left nonetheless. Let’s hope Asian-Americans prove less inclined to shrug and let it pass.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Affirmative action, BDS, Harvard, Israel on campus, Politics & Current Affairs, University, Yale

The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law