By Amy Zewe—
Over the last three weeks we had discussions with two experts on the issue of growing antisemitism in the US (and worldwide) while the ongoing hostilities occurred with over 4000 rockets being shot from Gaza towards civilian populations in Israel. And, Israel retaliated with 1500 surgical strikes against military targets complete with warning for civilians to clear out.
As we can expect, the atmosphere on college campuses reflects a so-called discussion on what has been happening in the Middle East. Clearly, in the college setting, one should expect that world events would be topics of conversation and concern for college students seeking to learn about the world and the faculty entrusted with teaching our young people to gather valid data, research history and context, critically think through problems and formulate fair and just solutions.
This is where I want to focus out attention today.
Western Colleges and Universities with renowned reputations that many achieved over decades, if not centuries, of devout study and intellectually honest work ethics are starting to erode those coattails of trustworthiness as faculty and student bodies disguise history’s oldest hatred in a cloak of woke-ism and a false marketing line of some concern for human rights for all identity groups worldwide.
What were healthy and robust institutions of learning, study, and advancement for society are being eaten away by a cancer—a cancer of hate, lies, and sinister agendas. Intersectionality: where antisemitism is bleeding into every cause and doing so under the guise of being part of a benevolent progressivism.
Antisemitism, also known as anti-Zionism, is targeting the Jewish nation of Israel and by default Jewish individuals and communities outside Israel…all with false allegations of white supremacy, genocide, ethnic cleansing, colonialism, and occupation. (These same labels also get assigned to America as a whole—maybe because America and Israel have much in common.)
How is this manifesting on our campuses even as they break for summer?
Just a few examples from many:
In Canada this spring’s Israel Apartheid week went on in full force and blanketed Canadian campuses with anti-Israel campaigns including outright lies. Case in point, so-called “medical apartheid” falsely claiming Israel was distributing the vaccine based on ethnicity. This is a lie; all citizens of any ethnicity were eligible, and the literature distributed was in Hebrew and Arabic. Moreover, as of June 3, 2021, only 4 cases of covid exited in Israel. Israel was the fastest nation on earth to inoculate its citizens—all of them. Moreover, it was not the Israeli government’s job to vaccinate those under PA rule, just like American was nor responsible to vaccinate Canadians or France to vaccinate the Swiss. That said, Israel still provided 1000s of doses of vaccine personnel to the PA who then publicly refused to use it…
Rutgers University in New Jersey—Chancellor Christopher Molloy, during the hostilities last month, made a public statement condemning the rise of antisemitism on US soil…and then retracted the statement apologizing for implying that concern for antisemitism somehow endorses anti-Palestine sentiments. And then went on to condemn islamophobia—not currently a problem in the US in terms of numbers. The Palestinians at Rutgers were offended of the condemnation of antisemitic attacks. Think about that.
Michigan state university voted to condemn Israel for its role in the recent hostilities—a position of self-defense.
At the University of Toronto, a recently appointed medical doctor to an educational role had a petition circulated for her dismissal as many antisemitic posts were found on her social medica sites.
At the University of Minnesota, a professor of Jewish studies resigned over its department anti-Zionism and silence on antisemitism
At the University of Chicago, the student body issued and published a statement (including on social media):
We stand against the ideology of Zionism that has been used as a justification for the murder, displacement and traumatization of Palestinian people. From the river to the sea, the USG supports a Palestine that is free.”
This was published on Shabbat and during a time when an uptick in antisemitic violence was already occurring on and near campus. The student body is considering a retraction after push back from several Jewish campus organization and certain members of the student body who said the original statement was released without authorization.
None of these examples even touch on the curriculums and texts being used in programs of study for international relations, Jewish Studies, Middle East studies and more. Many of which are erroneous in their assertions and biased against Israel. I personally have seen these texts at universities I have taught including simple courses such as a Western Civ survey.
In good news: Fordham University, a Jesuit college in NYC, officially banned a pro-BDS group on its campus.
And, Toronto’s Mayor not only is condemning antisemitism but also calling for its study to be part of the public school curriculum—exact opposite of the US’s Critical Race Theory curriculum.
The battle is in the weeds, my friends, and the Devil himself lies in the details. Little things like words, statements, and social media posts–result in Jewish diners on a street corner getting assaulted. Jewish cemeteries being vandalized. Jewish communities being targeted with rockets and Jewish communities being condemned for protecting themselves. And eventually, a repeat of 1930s Germany where Jews and any dissenting voice to the mainstream drumbeat, a drumbeat fueled by lies, propaganda and the illusion of your best interests, leaves us all in danger of extermination….extermination by a society that will not have any remorse —and later claim they didn’t know.
Stay vigilant, armed with truth and evidence, and ever prayerful.
Shavua Tov, have a great week.