By Amy Zewe—
One would think at least some components of independence is that so well-articulated in the notion of free speech and right to pursue happiness. These ideas can also include the right to pursue truth, discuss topics freely, engage in debate, compare and analyze data, conduct solid research, evaluate situations, get firsthand accounts of topics of study, and explore history without it being filtered. AND, avoid being forced to agree with (or disagree with) anything—all while feeling physically safe and be valued members of a community throughout the exploration process.
The classical notion of liberal democracy and progressive thinking has morphed into totalitarian thinking and woke-ism resulting in “agree (or shut up) or be cancelled” (or worse): the idea of freedom is being eroded away, and those who point this out are branded, you guessed it, racists, oppressors, or conspiracy theorists. Disagree with a woke declaration? You must be a racist, oppressor, or agree with racists and oppressors. And no need to document how those labels are even assigned in the first place.
Where is our freedom going and who is hurt in its encroachment?
Social media, in last’s week report, is unfairly and with no consistency cancelling, allowing abusive bullying, and censoring discourse and information.
Where else do we see an eroding of core values that underscore the freedoms I just mentioned? The most startling of locations—the university.
One-sided, un-thought out, never researched, and identity-driven declarations and edicts are coming out of universities all over the US all targeting a population that is less than 2% of the US and less than .2% of the entire planet. While the incidents of violence and hostility against said group is up to nearly 600% in some places!
Antisemitism—often guised as anti-Zionism—consistently targets people who never get the benefit of any social justice campaign—ironically, Jews are currently the target of social justice campaigns.
A few examples:
Yale University (read article): Jewish students are suffering isolation and even hostility when the Student Council passed a statement, adopted by the Yale College Council on Sunday, charging Israel with apartheid, genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and linked its policies to racism in the United States.
(An example of intersectionality based on lies. The charge is that Israeli trainings taught US officers how to do various choke holds, etc. In fact, trainings conducted in Israel for US police forces do NOT concentrate on street-level law enforcement but DO concentrate on first responding techniques to things such as terrorism. So the entire assertion is based on a lie CAIR came up with and that is simply not true if anyone takes time to look at the training curriculum.)
New York University (NYU) (read article): More than 400 alumni, campus groups, faculty, staff and students signed an open letter denouncing Israeli policies, calling for free campus debate on Israel and Palestine and pledging non-cooperation with NYU’s study away campus in Tel Aviv. The statement issued its solidarity with the Palestinians. Thankfully, the school is rejecting the statement. But you can imagine the atmosphere for Jewish students going to class among these signing professors, members of campus groups AND follow students.
Pomona College in California (Part of the prestigious Clairmont Consortium) (read article): After several revisions, the Student government mandated that all college groups, essentially, directly or indirectly participate in BDS or they loss funding. Example: A Jewish or pro-Israel campus group cannot buy Sabra Hummus because it is on the BDS list of companies to boycott, they cannot buy an efficient HP computer, but have to work around finding technology that does not include components or companies on the BDS list (companies from which college funds cannot be used because of perceived oppression). And yes, they are checking receipts.
University of Michigan (read article): Multiple statements vilifying Israel and lack of adequate response from leadership in the face of hostilities against Jews on campus include
Following the May conflict between Hamas and Israel, University of Michigan students, parents and alumni were astonished at an onslaught of one-sided statements condemning Israel from student organizations such as the U-M Central Student Government (CSG), the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) Student Government, an email sent by the Ross School of Business BBA Council to all its contacts, and dozens of others.
All echo the same accusatory language that Israel is committing acts of apartheid, genocide and settler colonialism. The statements’ language focuses on Israel’s displacement and violence toward Palestinians but did not condemn Hamas’ firing more than 4,000 rockets into Israel with intent to kill civilians (Gittleman).
In addition, Graduate Employment Opportunities, office, a labor union of graduate students, declared that they stand “in full solidarity with the Palestinian people facing the onslaught of Israeli State terror.”
Parents and student are understandably concerned not only of the bias coming from the school, but the uptick in antisemitic hostility on campus. And they are voicing their opinions but not receiving any substantial response.
The University’s Hillel house, which suffered its own vandalism, issued the following statement in response the ongoing tension and lack of leadership:
U-M Hillel Executive Director Tilly Shemer stated that the widely distributed, one-sided messages “made many Jewish students who are concerned about Israel in this moment feel upset, unseen and unrepresented … Jewish and non-Jewish students who have chosen to speak publicly about these statements or share their concern for Israel and how it is depicted or even just call for neutrality — whether on social media or through CSG Community Concerns — have received disrespectful, mocking and even hateful messages in response.” (Gittleman)
These are just a very few examples of what is happening on college campuses. The University was supposed to be a place that nurtured and encourage freedom of thought, critical thinking and analysis, debate, and discourse—all with integrity and safety from physical harm. Rules of engagement regarding logical rhetoric, the scientific method, and reasoned debate were supposed to separate us from the immature nature name calling and fist swinging if the ignorant.
Shavua tov, have a great week.