Posted tagged ‘Academia and antisemitism’

Normalizing anti-Semitism on campus

November 14, 2017

Normalizing anti-Semitism on campus, Israel National News, Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, November 13, 2017

Progressive students have decided, from within their own moral self-righteousness, that the Palestinian campaign for self-determination is such a sacred cause that anyone who questions it or expresses the Israeli point of view is a moral retrograde. To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid. And more than that: if you are Jewish, or even a non-Jewish student with no connection to Palestinian Arabs or Israelis who has not publicly proclaimed his or her allegiance to the Palestinian cause and denounced the Israeli one, he or she can be deemed morally unworthy of serving as a student leader or even, in the South African instance, of attending a particular university.

The student leaders who, in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, now try to suppress all thought of which they disapprove have sacrificed one of the core values for which the university exists. In their zeal to be inclusive, and to recognize the needs and aspirations of victim groups, they pretend to foster inquiry but have actually stifled it. The first victim in the dilution of academic free speech and debate has been the truth.

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At McGill University recently, three board members of the University’s Students’ Society were removed from their appointments after a vote at the Fall General Assembly due to their alleged “Jewish conflict of interest.” The ouster was led by a pro-BDS student group, Democratize McGill, which was campaigning against pro-Israel students in the wake of a September ruling by the Judicial Board that had rejected the BDS movement on the McGill campus once and for all. This was done on the grounds that the movement failed to uphold the university’s constitution by “violat[ing] the rights of [Israeli] students to represent themselves” and discriminating on the basis of national origin.

In retaliation, and to eliminate pro-Israel views on the board, Democratize McGill launched an effort to purge the board of BDS opponents. This effort was based on the cynical notion that such opponents harbored a clear conflict of interest that arose from their purported biases. Because the students in question were Jewish or pro-Israel (or both), they were labeled by Democratize McGill as incapable of making informed or fair decisions as student leaders.

In stating this premise, the pro-BDS students ignored their own obvious biases as well as the lack of any balance in their own views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They nonetheless felt entirely comfortable suppressing pro-Israel voices and Jewish students on the board, asserting that they sought to remove these students because they “are all either fellows at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), an organization whose explicit mandate is to promote pro-Israel discourse in Canadian politics, or primary organizers for the anti-BDS initiative at McGill.”

Those students were to be disqualified, in other words, for having views that differed from those of the student leaders who sought to purge them. The Jewish board member and two other non-Jewish, pro-Israel board members were subsequently voted off the board.

McGill has a history of seeking to suppress pro-Israel expression, not only in the student government but also in its press. An example is a 2016 controversy involving The McGill Daily, which made the astonishing editorial admission that it was the paper’s policy not to publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.”

“While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Leading up to this revealing editorial, a McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily – a contention apparently confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors were BDS supporters and none of the staffers was Jewish.

An attempted purging of a pro-Israel student from student government, similar to the inquisition that occurred at McGill, took place in February 2015 at UCLA, when several council members on the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body, grilled Rachel Beyda, then a second-year economics student, when she sought a seat on the board.

The focus on her candidacy was not her qualifications for the position (which no one seemed to doubt), but the fact that she was Jewish. At issue was the way her “affiliation with Jewish organizations at UCLA . . . might affect her ability to rule fairly on cases in which the Jewish community has a vested interest in the outcome, such as cases related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” as the student newspaper described it.

“Ruling fairly,” of course, meant ruling in support of the increasingly virulent anti-Israel campaign on the UCLA campus. Solely on the grounds of her religion, she failed the political litmus test that so-called progressive students, enthralled with their pursuit of social justice, see as their default position – being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.

The same thinking inspired a similarly discriminatory proposal the previous May by two members of UCLA’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which attempted to bar Jewish candidates from filling council positions if they had taken trips to Israel subsidized by the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, or other organizations. According to the activists, those organizations “have openly campaigned against divestment from corporations that profit from Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.”

Of course, there was no mention in this debate of sponsored trips to send pro-Palestinian students to Israel or the territories on propaganda excursions designed to malign Israel and teach visitors an alternate, anti-Israel narrative. Once again, in addition to trying to stack the deck against the pro-Israel argument, this proposal took it as a given that anyone not committed to the Palestinian cause was by default not to be trusted, incapable of making unbiased decisions, and morally compromised.

A particularly odious attempt to rid a campus of Jewish and pro-Israel voices took place in 2015 when student council leaders at Durban University of Technology (DUT) in South Africa floated a proposal suggesting that Jewish students be purged entirely from the institution. As the student body’s secretary, Mqondisi Duma, put it, “We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.” This is, one would think, a rather shocking sentiment from students who themselves benefited from a worldwide campaign in the 1970s and 1980s to end South Africa’s racist apartheid system.

The moral arrogance of the South African students’ proposal was breathtaking, and not only because of its grotesque version of the anti-Semitic practice of making all Jews responsible for the political actions of Israel. It revealed that the pro-Palestinian movement is so enthralled with the righteousness of its cause that anyone who harbors or expresses other views is considered a pariah, unworthy to have his or her ideas heard in the marketplace of ideas on campus.

Progressive students have decided, from within their own moral self-righteousness, that the Palestinian campaign for self-determination is such a sacred cause that anyone who questions it or expresses the Israeli point of view is a moral retrograde. To support Israel is to risk being deemed a racist, an imperialist, a tacit supporter of apartheid. And more than that: if you are Jewish, or even a non-Jewish student with no connection to Palestinian Arabs or Israelis who has not publicly proclaimed his or her allegiance to the Palestinian cause and denounced the Israeli one, he or she can be deemed morally unworthy of serving as a student leader or even, in the South African instance, of attending a particular university.

The student leaders who, in the context of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, now try to suppress all thought of which they disapprove have sacrificed one of the core values for which the university exists. In their zeal to be inclusive, and to recognize the needs and aspirations of victim groups, they pretend to foster inquiry but have actually stifled it. The first victim in the dilution of academic free speech and debate has been the truth.

Dr. Richard L. Cravatts, President Emeritus of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, is the author of Dispatches from the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.

 

Not Satire | Penn State Greens: Israeli Tree Planting is Environmental Racism

November 13, 2017

Penn State Greens: Israeli Tree Planting is Environmental Racism, Watts up with That, November 13, 2017

h/t Nick – If there was one Israeli initiative you would think radical greens would support, that would be Israeli efforts to restore ancient forests and improve national CO2 sequestration with a massive tree planting programme.

But no – according to Penn State Student organization “Fossil Free Penn”, the tree planting initiative is environmental racism.

Penn Students Hold Presentation on Environmental Racism

By Daniel Tancredi

The student group Fossil Free Penn held a discussion on environmental racism as part of its weeklong engagement project called “Divestfest” Wednesday afternoon.

In discussing environmental racism, the speakers highlighted the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Jewish National Fund, an organization that plants trees in Israel, was a major subject of discussion. After asserting that the organization acted unjustly by purchasing land from Palestinians in the early 1900s in deals from which the Palestinians did not profit, the presenters looked into the symbolism of “making the desert bloom,” a phrase the students argued connected the forest environment to whiteness, evoked the notion of “a vacuum that the European savior can come nourish,” and ultimately incentivized “artificially making these areas look more like Europe.”

The students found a particular problem in the planting of pine trees in Israel and the West Bank, drawing a “connection between pine trees, forestation, and the way they further the colonialist agenda through capitalistic (sic) means of timber production.

While pine trees are an invasive species and can be bad for certain environments, the solution is not merely to plant native trees like the olive tree.

“If we are talking about environmental justice, we have to consider intersectionality,” one of the presenters said. “We have to consider the way that different environmental agendas are being used in order to romanticize and support things that may be in violation of human rights and ancestry rights.” Additionally, the students urged the audience to “look for the complexity in the way that issues are whitewashed.”

Read more: https://statesmanonline.org/2017/11/03/students-hold-presentation-on-environmental-racism/

Penn State, the place where your kids can learn from greens that planting trees is wrong, unless they are planted by people with a politically acceptable pedigree.

The Best University Chancellor in America

October 25, 2017

The Best University Chancellor in America, Power LineSteven Hayward, October 25, 2017

Of all the minority populations considered “marginalized” or “vulnerable” on college campuses, Jews are probably the most in danger of “hate speech” attacks and discrimination. Keep in mind that the “alt-right” white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville chanted “Jews will not replace us!”

But Jews also face severe animosity from the campus left. For example, here’s the cartoon the Daily Cal student paper printed about Alan Dershowitz’s recent lecture at Berkeley on “The Liberal Case for Israel.”

And as previously mentioned, a poster promoting Dershowitz’s visit was defaced with a swastika, almost certainly by a leftist.

Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, has written to the Daily Cal to condemn this cartoon in no uncertain terms:

Your recent editorial cartoon targeting Alan Dershowitz was offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing. I condemn its publication. Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old “blood libel” that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder? I cannot recall anything similar in The Daily Californian, and I call on the paper’s editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups. We cannot build a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome if hatred and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes become an acceptable part of our discourse.

I’m generally not fans of university administrators, and had some sharp words for the previous Berkeley chancellor, Nicholas Dirks. I typically joke that the job description for college administrators specifies that a spine removal is a job requirement. But Christ is showing not only a spine, but considerable shrewdness in defending free speech from the assault of the Antifa left that held the Berkeley campus hostage most of the last year. If you want a hint of how well she is doing this, consider that she’s drawn praise from the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and is being attacked by leftist students on campus.

Incidentally, I sent word to the chancellor’s office that as I know the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff a bit, I could try to get them to rescind their editorial and attack her instead if that would be more useful. But fortunately most campus leftists don’t read the Journal (enjoy The Onion parody, “Berkeley Campus on Lockdown After Loose Pages of the Wall Street Journal Found on Campus“), and so she’s at little risk of blowback from it.