In the Name of Equity, a College Decides That It Has No Room for a Jewish Student Group

A self-described “liberal feminist,” Anna Keating thought she would be a good fit for the role of Catholic chaplain in a small, progressive liberal-arts college. But she eventually discovered that the school’s adoption of what has come to be called “antiracism” created an environment inimical to any Catholic—or Jewish—student activities, and perhaps to religion altogether:

The drive to eliminate “whiteness,” masculinity, and “heteronormativity” on college campuses has made entire religious traditions suspect, particularly those that are absurdly lumped together as part of “Western spirituality”—despite the inconvenient fact that the majority of the world’s one billion Catholics are neither white nor Western, or that Judaism includes African and [Middle Eastern] and other non-European peoples.

Most people certainly don’t think that leveling group difference means tinkering with the religious demographics of an institution. But college administrators made it clear to me that members of certain religious groups were overrepresented on campus. This was why the college wanted to get rid of chaplaincy programs. . . . Inequity, [in the understanding embraced by campus administrators], means any difference among ethnic groups that isn’t reflected in the racial demographics of the United States.

How does this relate to religion? I didn’t think that it did. But [my supervisor] decided that because Jews—being a tiny percentage of the U.S. population—are overrepresented in higher education generally, and at the college where I worked in particular, antiracism in this instance required that the number of Jewish students be reduced. Moreover, because there were 60 students at Shabbat and only a handful of Muslim students on campus, the Jewish group should not exist.

In the hermetically sealed world of campus progressivism, the fact that all of this sounds more than a little anti-Semitic is mostly ignored. So is the idea that religion may have something to offer that wellness programs, for example, cannot. And that is precisely what the administration planned to replace the chaplaincy program with.

Read more at Hedgehog Review

More about: Academia, American Religion, Anti-Semitism, Secularism

Russia’s Alliance with Hizballah Is Growing Stronger

Tehran’s ongoing cooperation with Moscow has recently garnered public attention because of the Kremlin’s use of Iranian arms against Ukraine, but it extends much further, including to the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah. Aurora Ortega and Matthew Levitt explain:

Over the last few years, Russia has quietly extended its reach into Lebanon, seeking to cultivate cultural, economic, and military ties in Beirut as part of a strategy to expand Russian influence in the Middle East, while sidelining the U.S. and elevating Moscow’s role as a peacemaker.

Russia’s alliance with Hizballah was born out of the conflict in Syria, where Russian and Hizballah forces fought side-by-side in an alliance with the Assad regime. For years, this alliance appeared strictly limited to military activity in Syria, but in 2018, Hizballah and Russia began to engage in unprecedented joint sanctions-evasion activities. . . . In November 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury exposed a convoluted trade-based oil-smuggling sanctions-evasion scheme directed by Hizballah and [Iran].

The enhanced level of collaboration between Russia and Hizballah is not limited to sanctions evasion. In March 2021, Hizballah sent a delegation to Moscow, on its second-ever “diplomatic” visit to the country. Unlike its first visit a decade prior, which was enveloped in secrecy with no media exposure, this visit was well publicized. During their three days in Moscow, Hizballah representatives met with various Russian officials, including the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. . . . Just three months after this visit to Moscow, Hizballah received the Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov in Beirut to discuss further collaboration on joint projects.

Read more at Royal United Services Institute

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Lebanon, Russia