By Amy Zewe
Why Is the EU such a stick-in-the-mud? And who else is covered dirt?
Serbia and Kosovo have agreed, thanks to the Trump administration’s brokering, to seek peace with each other and recognize Israel. Serbia will move its embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo will establish one in Jerusalem. This peace between Serbia and Kosovo is over 20 years in the making and something the European Union (EU) has tried to do this entire time.
And now, the EU is upset—they don’t like the Israel component. They believe it undermines the EU’s commitment to the two-state solution. But does it? Or is it just a public foot-stomping that Israel had some good press?
In Denmark, the legislature introduced a bill two months ago to ban non-medically necessary circumcision for children under 18 years old (noting is a form of child abuse). So, clearly a target on the Jewish community in Denmark. However, it is vital to note this is a practice within the Muslim community as well. Denmark’s Prime Minister Frederiksen opposes the bill seeking to ban the nonmedical circumcision of boys, saying “Danish Jews must continue to be part of Denmark.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Frederiksen on opposing the bill. According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office: “Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that this was a matter of maintaining Jewish identity through the generations and that he appreciates how the Danish people protected the Jewish community during and after the Holocaust.”
The Prime Minister of Denmark is a hero, and the legislature, I’d say, is covered in mud just now.
In a Newsweek opinion piece earlier this month titled, “College Administrators Must Address Anti-Semitism on Their Campuses” by Lauri B. Regan and Asaf Romirowsky (SCHOLARS FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST) noted that colleges and universities across the country have expended immense resources, in particular over the past several months, addressing various claims of systemic racism on their campuses and within American culture and institutions more broadly. Yet other minority groups face discrimination but go largely ignored. With millions of dollars in initiatives to hire diversity officers, develop required curricula demanding equity and inclusion, and expand bulging bureaucracies to meet Black Lives Matter demands, universities seem solely focused on their Black students at the expense of all members of their campus communities. “We believe, however, that all minorities matter.”
The sad reality that I have reported on for at least 10 years now is that Jewish students across the United States have been facing growing, ugly and violent anti-Semitic attacks that have gone unabated and ignored by college administrators for far too long.
The AMCHA Initiative reported on antisemitism in 2019 documenting “increasing and disturbing trends” they “anticipate continuing and growing worse in the coming year.”
Here are some statistics:
Academic boycotts and other anti-Israel activities have been directly linked to a 67 percent increase in “acts involving the public shaming, vilifying or defaming of students or staff because of their perceived association with Israel,” a 69 percent increase in “acts involving the shutting down or impeding of Israel-related speech, movement or assembly,” and a 51 percent increase in “acts involving the unfair treatment or exclusion of students because of their perceived association with Israel.”
So, colleges and their administrations and their student groups must start to realize that to be academically and intellectually honest about fighting racism, prejudice, and discrimination, one must look at the whole sordid picture.
One more example of this issue on college campuses was noted on Campus Watch’s website in an article dated September 8, originally posted by JNS, titled, “MESA Defends Canceling Supporters of Israel at USC” by Winfield Myers.
Myers reports that The Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the largest academic organization for the field, has a long and ignominious record of defending apologists for Palestinian terrorism and BDS advocates, even as it opposes efforts to stem the rising tide of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses. Its anti-Israel bias is evident but its latest effort to “whitewash anti-Semitism at the University of Southern California stands out for its cynicism and deceitfulness.”
This letter signed by MESA president Dina Rizk Khoury of The George Washington University and academic freedom committee chair Zachary Lockman of New York University, attacks USC president Carol Folt’s Aug. 6 “Message to the USC Community.” The catalyst for Folt’s action was the Aug. 5 resignation of USC student government vice president Rose Ritch, a rising senior who was subjected to what she and Folt characterize as antisemitic smears on her character triggered by her pro-Zionist beliefs. I reported on Rose’s resignation a few weeks ago.
Folt’s opening sentences state this clearly:
As you may know, our Vice President of Undergraduate Student Government, Rose Ritch, resigned yesterday from her position in student government. In her heartbreaking resignation letter, Rose described the intense pressure and toxic conditions that led to her decision—specifically the anti-Semitic attacks on her character and the online harassment she endured because of her Jewish and Zionist identities.
Ritch’s own resignation letter details her experience:
Because I also openly identify as a Zionist, a supporter of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, I have been accused by a group of students of being unsuitable as a student leader. I have been told that my support for Israel has made me complicit in racism, and that, by association, I am racist. Over the summer, Students launched an aggressive social-media campaign to ‘impeach Zionist a**. Resignation is the only sustainable choice I can make to protect my physical safety on campus and my mental health.
An op-ed Ritch wrote for Newsweek further expresses the events:
Let’s be clear: This is anti-Semitism. … Nearly 96 percent of American Jews support Israel as the Jewish state, inherently connected to our religious history and communal peoplehood. An attack on my Zionist identity is an attack on my Jewish identity. The suggestion that my support for a Jewish homeland would make me unfit for office, or would justify my impeachment, plays into the oldest and most wretched stereotypes of Jews: accusations of dual loyalty and holding all Jews responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.
Khoury and Lockman of GWU and NYU, respectively, speaking for the largest academic association for Middle East studies, omitted the heart of this sordid tale and twisted a university president’s words in their quest to delegitimize Israel and its supporters by stigmatizing them as threats to academic freedom. In practice, as Ritch’s cancelation demonstrates, MESA’s lies seek to legitimize anti-Semitism, stigmatize Zionism as a form of bigotry and declare open season on pro-Israel students.
“Scholars who respect truth and value common human decency should turn their backs on this disgraced organization” (Myers).
These academic powerhouses, Khoury and Lockman, get the stick-in-the-mud award of the week. To me, they are covered in the dirt of antisemitism.
Shavua Tov. Have a great week.