Why Give Universities an F in Combatting Antisemitism?
We are coming to the close of the fall semester at most colleges and universities in the Western world.
We pray for all students who must travel to have safety; and for those who have no families to return to, that they may find comfort in the communities they find themselves, always praying the local church can reach out and provide meaning and purpose during the most wonderful time of year, which is also the loneliest for many.
College-aged students are faced with pressures that include, unfortunately, the lies and deceit of materialistic post-faith culture and this most assuredly trickles into their campus life, curriculum, and even their sources of entertainment. In a culture where free love and tolerance is supposed to abound and anyone with a non-woke opinion is considered a “hater” let us look at a snapshot of what students, Jews, and others, are feeling on campuses where a tyranny of thought seems to be overtaking the roots of the Enlightenment that supposedly are the backbone of higher education:
According to an article this week in the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
- Fifty-five percent of students surveyed report being a target of campus antisemitism.
- Seventy-two percent report that university administrators fail to take both verbal expressions of antisemitism and threats to Jews’ physical safety seriously.
- Fifty-five percent of students said that they hide their support for Israel, while
- Seventy-three percent report hiding their Jewish identity on campus.
“Even with a generously overstated standard deviation, this is a failing report card on the state of Jew-hatred on U.S. university campuses.”
Among Ivy League schools, the most expensive, exclusive, and arguably the most progressive in the US, flagship schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia have nurtured the BDS campaign and its publicly declared goal of dissolving “apartheid Israel” and replacing it with an idyllic “Palestine.”
This is a blatant call or genocide laid atop a false narrative about the history of the Middle East, Jews, and the populations of what is now modern-day Israel.
The article posits that rare would be the case that students and faculty would lash out against African students while exposing and protesting, for example, the “ANC-ruled South Africa as corrupt, or delegitimize Nigeria, Chad or Niger as ‘genocidal’ because of Boko Haram’s or other extremist Islamist terror groups’ religious and tribal-based acts of oppression or murder. Yet, this is not the case with Jewish students, who suffer the consequences of the defamation, delegitimization, and dehumanization of Israel.”
The article goes on to quickly chronicle the most recent evolution of Jew hate, which for a few decades was summarily rejected by universities (and much of society at large) was replaced by a hate for Israel (or rather morphed into a hate for Israel). Antisemitism turned political.
The late Bernard Lewis, a professor of Near Eastern and Islamic studies at Princeton, first identified the deception inherent in political antisemitism. Lewis called both individual and collective manifestations the phenomenon “Judeophobia,” in a pathbreaking article in the December 2005 issue of the American Scholar.
Lewis asserted that while religious and racial forms of antisemitism had become unacceptable in the West, particularly in the United States in the postwar era, political antisemitism that declared Israel the world’s Nazi, an apartheid state, or a genocidal, racist home to war criminals, triggers little or no public opprobrium. Rather, its appeal fills college auditoriums and classrooms with students and faculty who resolutely support bigoted representations in the name of BDS, pro-Palestinian activism, and “justice for Palestine.”
This political antisemitism, which I will call anti-Zionism, is rooted in part in the BDS movement (boycott, divest and sanction Israel). The connection was so obvious that by 2019 the “German Bundestag condemned BDS as an antisemitic movement that ‘recalls the most terrible phase of German history.’”
The rise of a society-wide, systemic hate of Jews and the desire to eliminate them (or their state) from the planet is a direct reflection of the era of the holocaust.
What can we do to combat this trend? I may not have time here to outline an entire plan that may take a generation (or more) to come to fruition, but we can start by educating our young people outside the indoctrination they are getting at schools that cost tens of thousands to attend.
The Jerusalem Connection is doing what it can through its Hebrew University scholarship program (donations for this are welcome) and attempts to send at least one Christian US College student to Israel for a full semester of study within their chosen field to return to the US with insight and passion to convey the truth of Israel’s history, nature, and people.
Additional steps we can all take is to withhold alumni contributions to schools that display this bent towards BDS and antisemitism. Research your alma mater and let them know specifically why you will not give or will withhold your contribution. Monitor the schools in our own towns and communities. Offer to help with organizations on campuses that help provide the truth about Israel as well as support for Jewish Students (and all those on campus who support Israel’s right to exist who otherwise feel pressured into keeping their stance and opinions to themselves).
Be in prayer for the collective populations on college campuses as these populations are eventually the leaders and influencers of tomorrow. Pray for changed hearts. Continue to follow our weekly Red Alert as I update you on progress made in the UN, at Federal levels, and even at more local levels as the IHRA definition of antisemitism is growing in adoption and application in cities, schools, colleges, universities, even workplaces, and other organizations. And, with said adoption comes awareness and public action for those to seek to disparage Israel and Jews under the notion of political debate and free speech. I am all for free speech, but that means we speak up and counter these positions of lies and deceit that poison our wells—the spring waters of the next generation.
Shavua Tov, have a great week.