Thursday, April 25, 2024

  • Thursday, April 25, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

I created this cartoon after reading two NPR interviews of people on Columbia University campus.

One was with Rabbi Yuda Drizin, director of Columbia's Chabad, who emphatically said three times that he will not speak for or against Columbia's administration. He stated Chabad's position that Jews should not run away while emphasizing the dangers Jewish students faced:

 DRIZIN: For the Jewish students here, my wife, Naomi, and I see firsthand, like, what they're all going through. But at the same time, the response cannot and should never be fear or to [be] scare[d] away. And we have extra security. We have heightened security. There is - we have walking escorts to get to the Chabad house, to get back. But there is never a time to turn away and especially not at Passover, when we have to stand strong and remember our redemption and celebrate together as a family.

SUMMERS: You mentioned that you and your wife, Naomi, have seen firsthand what students have experienced there. You've said that you're horrified by what you witnessed during protests on Saturday on and near campus. Can you just give us a snapshot of what you have seen there?

DRIZIN: Yeah. To be honest, I don't like to amplify those elements of what's happening on campus. It's all out there. But, you know, I'm seeing students being told, go back to Poland. You know, you are just colonizers. You have no place. You know, it's really horrendous stuff. And this is to Jewish American students. ....

SUMMERS: I have to ask you. How do you separate the concern over safety for Jewish students from the rights of all students - and, I should say, including Jewish students - to peacefully protest the state of Israel?
Who is talking about peaceful protests? 

NPR's message is , sure, Jews have the right to be safe, but other students have the right to make their lives hell! How do you balance the two? 

While Rabbi Drizin does not want to wade into politics or what Columbia's  response should be, the other Jew that NPR interviewed revels in it. 

Debbie Becher, an associate professor of sociology at Columbia who has joined the antisemitic protesters,  tells NPR, without any pushback, that Jews at Columbia are perfectly safe and that all the incidents of threatening Jewish students are fiction made up by right-wing outsiders:

In my campus, it actually feels quite safe and peaceful. It's unfortunate that leaders are telling Jewish students who support Israel's war on Gaza that they are unsafe and that the national news and some social media had been portraying our campuses as rife with violence and protests. In fact, the center of attention - there's an encampment, a pro-Palestinian encampment, at Columbia right now - has been a place of sharing and community building. Students have watched movies there. They hold teach-ins. They study. They eat together.

Last night, I attended a Passover seder in the middle of it with about 75 Jewish students, a dozen Jewish faculty and many non-Jewish students and faculty. It was beautiful to see so many different cultures participating in a seder in a pro-Palestinian space. And I think it's important to say that we can't keep one group safe by punishing and repressing others.

So what's happening is that, in the name of preventing antisemitism, the university has suspended a dozen or more Jewish students for taking part in nondisruptive, peaceful action. Does their safety matter? What about the safety of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, Black and brown students arrested by the NYPD at Columbia's request and those kicked out of their dorms by Barnard College?

MARTÍNEZ: So you're saying there is communication happening, that people are talking to each other face to face.

BECHER: Absolutely. There is more talking happening now in the last week that protests have resumed, even though the university is calling them unauthorized. I think what I want people to know is that the actual crisis here is the university leadership's failure to stand up to pressure from right-wing actors. These actors don't care about universities or student well-being.

We wanted our leadership and have wanted our leadership to support student and faculty rigorous debate, to support the way that we teach and learn. And instead, they're capitulating to right-wing actors who want to gut universities for what they see as our woke indoctrination. They don't care about our students.

There's communication between Jews who hate Israel and non-Jews who hate Israel! This is the rigorous debate that makes life at Columbia so wonderful for Jews!

This gaslighting and outrageous discarding of the feelings of Jewish students goes on unchallenged for four minutes. And when the NPR interviewer gingerly brings up the topic of Jewish students upset at antisemitic language being hurled at them during protests, Becher says the only antisemitism comes from the people who object to antisemitic language from the anti-Israel side:

MARTÍNEZ: What would you say, though, Professor, to a student, a Jewish student, who feels that maybe their - that what's going on now has gone to antisemitic language?

BECHER: I would say that antisemitism is something that needs to be approached seriously. It's everywhere. It is not a tool in a political game. And it's being used by Congress and universities in the last six months as a tool in politics. Antisemitism deserves rigor. That means we need procedures in place for investigations. What we don't need is panicking and caving in response to external pressure.

What we've seen is that congressional Republicans and Democrats are going along with those who are panicking, and the university is going along with the Republicans and Democrats and getting immediate results in the form of firing, suspensions and expulsions. That's political point scoring, not student well-being. And it's making it worse, not better. When the university uses this kind of disproportionate power in the interest of one group, supposedly, this is just going to reinforce for them and their peers the idea that Jews have disproportionate power, a core antisemitic belief.
Yes, protecting Jews on campus foments antisemitism, according to this as-a-Jew  "authority."

And Becher herself admits that her own anti-Israel positions are based on ignorance of the topic she cares so much about. As she wrote in November for the Columbia Spectator in an article charging Israel with imminent genocide as well as apartheid:
Though in the past few weeks I signed letters written by groups of Columbia and Barnard faculty, this is my first time speaking publicly, in my own words. I am neither a long-term activist nor an expert on the issue or the region. I am writing this editorial to others like me: nonexperts and non-activists who have thus far been quiet, but who are terrified by what we have been seeing.
That article called on people to protest Israel without researching the actual issues ahead of time. Really: "As a Barnard student said to me yesterday, 'You can be learning and taking action at the same time; in urgent times, action has to come first.'"

An instructor at Barnard says that students should protest before knowing anything about the topic. Like her. This is today's academia.

It reminds me of this video recently posted of how ignorant the people jumping on the anti-Israel bandwagon are:

In short, Becher is a lying ignoramus who is teaching hundreds of students and is proud of her ignorance. And this makes her a perfect person to be interviewed by NPR.

To its tiniest credit, NPR added a footnote to the story: "In a statement to NPR, Columbia University said Columbia students have the right to protest, but they are not allowed to disrupt campus life or harass and intimidate fellow students. They went on to say they are acting on concerns expressed by Jewish students to ensure the community remains safe." It completely contradicts what Becher claimed for the four minutes she was interviewed but it was not used to point out that she was lying about "peaceful protests" as well as about the safety of Jewish students on campus.

(h/t Irene)

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

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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