Wednesday, October 25, 2023

While Israel Fights Hamas, Jews Fight Hamas' Defenders on Campus (Daled Amos)

By Daled Amos

At the time, it was supposed to be the first step in stemming the tide of antisemitism on campus.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 by the Lawfare Project described that matters were set in motion at San Francisco State University by:
the alleged complicity of senior university administrators and police officers in the disruption of an April, 2016, speech by the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. At that event organized by SF Hillel, Jewish students and audience members were subjected to genocidal and offensive chants and expletives by a raging mob that used bullhorns to intimidate and drown out the Mayor’s speech and physically threaten and intimidate members of the mostly-Jewish audience. At the same time, campus police – including the chief – stood by, on order from senior university administrators who instructed the police to “stand down” despite direct and implicit threats and violations of university codes governing campus conduct.
The California State University public university system settled in 2019 and agreed, among other things, to a public statement. It seemed like a major victory because that statement was not some mealy-mouthed apology. Instead, it was a statement affirming that San Francisco State University "understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity." 

And in 2021 you had An Open Letter to the Leadership of USC, in which more than 65 faculty members at USC took a stand that Zionism was a part of Jewish identity:
Jewish, Zionist, and Israeli students, as well as those who support the right of the State of Israel to exist need to hear from our leaders that they are welcome on our campus. Such a statement would not infringe on free speech or take sides in political dispute. It is a call for character and dignity. It is overdue. [emphasis added]
These kinds of statements were an unprecedented recognition of the importance of Zionism to Jewish identity. These were accomplishments that could be built upon in protecting Jewish students on campus and implemented in other campuses across the US.

Or so we thought. 

In response to the backlash against two SFSU faculty members inviting terrorist Leila Khaled to participate virtually in a class discussion, the SFSU president, Lynne Mahoney, recognized the required statement while neatly side-stepping its implications:
Let me be clear: I condemn the glorification of terrorism and use of violence against unarmed civilians. I strongly condemn antisemitism and other hateful ideologies that marginalize people based on their identities, origins or beliefs.

At the same time, I represent a public university, which is committed to academic freedom and the ability of faculty to conduct their teaching and scholarship without censorship.
While defending the right of faculty to invite a terrorist, Mahoney made sure to utter the magic words as required by the agreement:
I understand that Zionism is an important part of the identity of many of our Jewish students. The university welcomes Jewish faculty and students expressing their beliefs and worldviews in the classroom and on the quad, through formal and informal programming.
So at the same time that Jews can express "their beliefs and worldviews," terrorists are free to express their views because of the "academic freedom" of the teachers who invite them. Worse, there was no follow-up by other universities openly recognizing Zionism as an expression of Jewish identity.

And now, following the Hamas massacre of Jewish civilians, students feel free to publicly defend the Hamas atrocities and blame Israel for them.

This strategy did not work, but in reaction to campuses supporting the October 7 Hamas massacres of Israeli civilians, there is a different strategy. Earlier this month, 34 student groups in Harvard signed a letter blaming Israel alone for the then-1,200 Israelis murdered:

The backlash against the letter caused some of the groups that signed it to back out. Contributing to the pressure is Accuracy In Media, which is attacking this aggressive metathesis of antisemitism head-on.

AIM started by driving around Harvard showing names, photos of students who blamed Israel for Hamas attacks.

They set up a web page entitled Harvard Hates Jews. It encourages people to send a message to Harvard's board of trustees:
As an overseer at Harvard, you have a moral obligation to take a stand against the antisemites on campus who issued a statement in support of Hamas.

If no action is taken against these hateful individuals, we will assume that you support them.

Expel these students and kick their organizations off campus immediately. Their actions are a stain on the reputation of Harvard.

This is bringing "name and shame" to a whole new level.

But is that the right, or only, approach?

Professor William Jacobson, of Legal Insurrection, has a longer range plan for dealing with the problem. In an interview Prof. Jacobson explains the slow process by which the radical left was able to dominate the universities:
“I look at the people I graduated law school with in 1984, and the most radical students went into academia. The rest of us went and got a real job,” he said. “We woke up 30, 40 years later, and it’s, holy cow, they’re controlling everything.”

“They’ve only hired their own for two generations. That’s how we got here,” Jacobson affirmed. “We got here slowly, but I’d say – certainly in the last decade, but particularly the last four to five years – we’re in a collapse phase, and people are just waking up to that.”

“They all understood that education was where they could have the biggest impact, because they get to shape young minds,” the professor said. “They understood that that was a weakness of society and a place where they could essentially be activists.”
A long-term strategy like that cannot be undone overnight. Neither will shaming or cancelling do the job. The professor suggested an approach in the context of Cornell professor Russell Rickford, who declared he was “exhilarated” by the Hamas terrorist attack against Jews in Israel.
So I think the remedy for this professor who was exhilarated by the Hamas attack, I think the answer is not to fire him, the answer is to educate the entire campus as to why he’s wrong. The answer is to invite Israelis to speak on campus. The answer is to expand cooperation with Israel.

What Prof. Jacobson is suggesting is an uphill fight. He does not give much detail. Nor does he address the fact that attempts have been made over the years to help Jewish students at universities learn more about their Jewish identity and invite Israeli speakers. Over and over we have read about attempts -- successful attempts -- to disrupt Israeli and pro-Israel speakers.

Why should these attempts be any more successful now? Can we expect universities to suddenly grow a spine and stand up for free speech when it comes to the needs of their Jewish students? 

Following the Holocaust, the world seemed to sober up from the darkest levels of hate and apathy for the dangers Jews faced.

But look at the reaction to the Hamas massacre of 1,400 Israeli civilians and the desecration of bodies. There is a level of justification that would have been unthinkable before October 7. Even the most successful retaliation by Israel and most complete eradication of Hamas terrorists will not erase the mindless venom that has been revealed and given public validation in formerly respected areas of government, academia and media.

Is there really a path back to normalcy and sanity?

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!