I wonder how many charitable Jewish alumni and parents of current students know that Columbia, Barnard and NYU are hosting presentations for Israeli Apartheid Week, commencing March 11th. At Columbia/ Barnard, the topic is “Colonialism from the US to Palestine,” an interesting choice considering the recent expose of Islamist enforced slavery in Mauritania, not to mention the wholesale rape and murder of Black populations in Mali, Sudan, Somalia and other parts of Africa. At NYU, the topic is “Israel’s Deepening Apartheid,” another odd conclusion given that a million Arabs are citizens of Israel while Arabs object to any Jews living on or near territory that might eventually be turned over to them. Hamas even went so far as to destroy the intact, money-making greenhouses built by Israelis and left behind for Arabs to continue working when Israel voluntarily left Gaza. It must have been a fear of contamination similar to Wagner’s donning white gloves before conducting a piece of music by Mendelssohn.
All three of these schools have been handsomely endowed by Jewish philanthropists; a walk through any of their campuses reveals countless Jewish names on their buildings. One wonders whether African-American billionaires such as Oprah or Jay Z would support a school that participated in a movement designed to discredit any Black country in Africa. In fact, any such enterprise would fall under the purview of campus speech codes and would never be allowed to take place. As we saw a few weeks back at Brooklyn College, CUNY felt no hesitation about the Political Science Dept at Brooklyn sponsoring a talk on the BDS (Boycott/Divest/Sanction) Movement without even allowing for a rebuttal by speakers with a contrary point of view. Does academic freedom extend to indoctrination as well as education?
We already know a great deal about the pusillanimous nature of academia; colleges and universities have a long history of outright discrimination or the more subtle quota system. We know that Harvard honored a prominent Nazi, Ernst Hanfstaungl as their commencement speaker in 1934. In our own time, we know that Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia, invited Mahmud Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia despite his declared intention to destroy the state of Israel as well as his holocaust denial. The question is not what prompts academia to singularly exempt anti-semitism from its proscribed list of no-nos. The deeper question is what is it about Jewish self-hate that allows some of us to continue supporting institutions that indulge these insidious hate-fests? Why do we continue to rationalize such abhorrent behavior by pretending that this is a valid exercise of academic freedom? Jews are always at the forefront of every movement for civil rights - for Blacks, Women and LGBT’s; we scour society for any trace of discrimination or harassment of these groups and send our best lawyers rallying to their cause. But how many Jews have withheld contributions because of the anti-semitism that has become an accepted part of the college experience? How many rabbis have chosen this as their Shabbat sermon as opposed to the endorsement of a Palestinian state, or the need to perform tikkun olam, a directive intended to repair the world through bringing Torah to its inhabitants, now loosely applied to a myriad of pc causes that fit today’s liberal agenda. If there are rabbis urging parents to tear up their checks, they are not getting published on the front page of the NYTimes.
Let’s call upon our religious, political and community leaders who represent American Jews to use their considerable influence to stop supporting schools that encourage or tolerate the worsening epidemic of anti-zionism/anti-semitism. In fact, let’s try to make anti-semitism as unfashionable and embarrassing as smoking, not re-cycling or being an Islamophobe.
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