[NB: TO WATCH ASAF ROMIROWSKY’S PRESENTATION “UNRWA: THE CRUX OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT”, DEC. 14, AT CIJR’S MONTREAL OFFICE, CLICK THIS LINK—ED.]
The Radicals Have Taken Over: Academic Extremism Comes to Canada: Margaret Wente, Globe & Mail, Dec. 3, 2016 — I bet the poor guy never saw it coming.
Anti-Semitism: The Socially Acceptable Hatred: Tamar Lyons, Times of Israel, Dec. 2, 2016 — I write this in fear of what we have become and accepted as our norms.
McGill University Attempts Peaceful Dialogue Hindered by Protest: Eva Chorna, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 30, 2016 — The reason McGill University spoke to me so much was because of its emphasis on the importance of free speech and self-expression.
Universities Strive for Diversity in Everything but Opinion: Philip Carl Salzman, Inside Policy, Nov. 14, 2016 — My seminar students at McGill University told me that you can't say anything at this university without being accused of being sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, fascist, or racist, and then being threatened with punitive measures.
Academics Are Spreading Anti-Israel Message At Universities Everywhere (Audio Recording): Asaf Romirowsky, Pundicity, Dec. 7, 2016
Revisiting CUNY’s Flawed Antisemitism Investigation: Manfred Gerstenfeld & Leah Hagelberg, Algemeiner, Dec. 2, 2016
"Hate Spaces" Film Exposes Campus Intolerance: Noah Beck, IPT News, Dec. 13, 2016
Jewish Students Must Realize That SJP Is About Hate, and Only Hate: Yaakov Menken, JNS, Dec. 15, 2016
Globe & Mail, Dec. 3, 2016
I bet the poor guy never saw it coming. Until recently, Henry Parada was director of the School of Social Work at Ryerson University, Toronto’s big downtown commuter school. His career was going well and he got major research grants. Now he has stepped aside after a handful of students calling themselves the Black Liberation Collective accused him of “a violent act of anti-Blackness, misogyny and misogynoir.” What was this act? It seems that he left a meeting where a black female speaker was giving a talk. No one knows why.
What happened next won’t surprise anyone who has been tracking the steady rise of authoritarian illiberalism on the left. The Black Liberation Collective at Ryerson (which has perhaps the most diverse student body in the nation) issued an escalating series of rants demanding immediate action to address his crimes, along with institutional racism in general. Students disrupted faculty meetings. The administration has issued the standard non-response: Basically it values diversity and inclusion, and is looking into the matter. But really, it doesn’t matter what Prof. Parada did. He’s a white man, and therefore guilty.
Here’s a partial list of what’s been happening on campus lately. At the University of Toronto, psychology professor Jordan Peterson is under attack – not least by his own administration – for refusing to use invented pronouns for transgender people. (Last year, Kenneth Zucker, a renowned U of T psychiatry professor, was fired from his position at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health because his treatment of transgender kids was deemed not radical enough.)
At Queen’s, a good-natured off-campus costume party blew up into a crisis over racism. Queen’s principal Daniel Woolf denounced the event on his blog as “the unacceptable misappropriation and stereotyping of numerous cultures,” and solemnly vowed yet again to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. In other news from Queen’s, the head of a student theatre group was forced to grovel after announcing a plan to cast a white female as the lead in Othello. “There is absolutely no excuse for making a casting decision that was oppressive and caused people of colour to feel as though they were invalid,” she apologized. The production was cancelled.
At many campuses, students routinely try to shut down controversial speakers because they might make someone feel queasy. When Marie Henein, Jian Ghomeshi’s defence lawyer, was invited to speak at Bishop’s University early next year and have her lecture live-streamed to other schools, one women’s studies major at St. Francis Xavier said that Ms. Henein’s talk was a “disservice to students who are victims of sexual violence.” To his credit, Bishop’s principal Michael Goldbloom wrote a rebuttal – an unusual act of academic courage these days.
How did we get here? Here’s a very short answer. University campuses have always leaned a little left. But in the 1990s, as the previous generation of academics was replaced by baby boomers, they began to lean dramatically left. The humanities and social sciences were colonized by an unholy alliance of poststructuralists and Marxists – people who believe that Western civilization is a corrupt patriarchy that must be dismantled. According to studies of U.S. universities, 18 per cent of social-sciences professors say they’re Marxists. Only 7 to 9 per cent identify as conservative. Leftism in the academy is a positive feedback loop – and we’re now well past the point where the radicals have taken over. Those who don’t agree just shut up. “There’s no question there’s an atmosphere of terror,” one (older, white, male) professor told me.
According to classic Marxist ideology, people’s degree of oppression is determined by their ancestry and class. Today’s identity politics simply swaps in race and gender. But the anti-liberal thinking is the same. When your goal is revolution, dissent becomes intolerable, and you have a moral licence to shut down free speech. As the very liberal Jonathan Chait wrote in New York magazine: “Liberalism believes in political rights for everybody, regardless of the content of their ideas. Marxists believe political rights belong only to those arguing on behalf of the oppressed.”
Social sciences and humanities make up only part of universities, of course. Other disciplines – engineering, physics, B-schools – are relatively apolitical. So how is it that the radicals wound up running the show? Here’s Jordan Peterson’s answer: “Engineers and scientists are interested in things. They say, you guys are all insane, just leave us the hell alone.” And by the time they look up, the power positions have been taken over by the radicals. Not so long ago, I thought this craziness would pass. Now I’m not so sure. When institutions cave in to radicals, their demands will only escalate. As for Prof. Parada, his is a cautionary tale. He believed in the revolution. And it devoured him.
Times of Israel, Dec. 2, 2016
I write this in fear of what we have become and accepted as our norms. I write this reflecting on the anti-Semitism I was privy to on my university campus. I am a student at Ryerson University. On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, I attended the Semi-Annual General Meeting (AGM) to show my support for a motion that stated that, the Ryerson student union should provide programming to educate people during Canadian Holocaust Education week.
To be clear — this was not a political statement or a controversial topic. This was simply to raise awareness to learn from the past in order to better our future. Meant to educate, it shows that less than a century ago, people were burned, gassed, and killed for being different. They were persecuted for having a different religion skin colour, or sexual orientation. Things we millennials are fighting for today!!
Today’s millennials pride ourselves on social justice. We pride ourselves on fighting for the oppressed, don’t we? At the meeting, I was trying to actualize my calling, to be deserving of the hero cape I wear so proudly everyday, and to let people know that hate and division lead to the worst atrocities ever committed by humanity. I lined up to speak at the microphone in favour of this motion. Three people including the President of the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and vice president of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), were ahead and opposed the motion. SJP claims to be against anti-Semitism (after tonight I can attest that it clearly does not live up to that standard) and stand up for social justice of the oppressed.
I stood behind them, politely welcoming them. I was then aggressively told by the president of the MSA and Vice President of SJP to “sit down” because there are too many people with my opinions. Excuse me? You think that just because I wear a Jewish star on my necklace you can assume my positions? Well, unfortunately for these individuals, they attacked the WRONG Jewish girl.
The opposition to the motion continued. A young individual from the Social work Union requested that all recordings be shut off reasoning that, “Holocaust education is not inclusive to all students, and it’s not fair to recognize this genocide.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She further explained that we should include within this week the Somali Genocide, the “Palestinian Genocide,” and a few others. We attempted to clarify that by morphing all of these genocides together, we pose the issue of degrading them. These genocides are different and deserve individual attention. Ryerson can hold awareness weeks for these at other times, Holocaust education week doesn’t have to be the only one.
Moving on, the opposition quickly realized that the more they continued to speak, the more controversy they created. Their strength is in numbers, and they chose to use that against us. As if rehearsed, they formed an unofficial walk-out in which they guarded the doors, patrolled the hallways and aggressively pressured attendees to leave the room so that there would not be enough people present to hold a vote or hear the “pro” voices. The president of the MSA then called for a recount on quorum. Out of a room of 200 of my peers, the audience was reduced to less than 50. The meeting was adjourned.
This act was motivated purely by anti-Semitism and an attempt to try to erase our past. They weren’t interested in discussion or the chance to hear us speak. They were not interested in providing education to the Ryerson community. Their only interest was to walk out of that meeting to ensure the Jewish voices not be heard. How is this social justice?
NOTHING is more inclusive than history. History has proven repeatedly to be cyclical. By raising awareness of the holocaust we wanted to make sure that as a race no one should ever suffer the way we did. This education would benefit everyone in our campus community. Our screaming of “never again” as all social justice leaders screamed in the past, has been silenced by these groups against the motion. As we were trying to express our hope for a better world and pay our respects to the ones that paved the way to our freedom, 200 students walked out making sure that quorum would not be met. Those students, confident in the justice of their action, walked out not only on the Jewish students, but they walked out on history. They walked out on every minority that was ever persecuted for being different.
Holocaust Education Week could have paved the way to discussions on genocide, awareness, and unity. By walking out, they turned their back on social justice. They turned their back on equity. They showed us tonight, that they only stand against “some” forms of oppression. They showed me that their definition of anti-Semitism is non-existent, because to them, it is irrelevant and doesn’t exist. These student leaders are repeating the same exact mistakes that lead to the worst moments of our history.
Jerusalem Post, Nov. 30, 2016
The reason McGill University spoke to me so much was because of its emphasis on the importance of free speech and self-expression. Coming from France, I often found I was not given a platform to express my support of Israel and was silenced by the necessity to prioritize my safety. Here, I was in a safe space, where my differences were not only embraced, but appreciated… or so I thought.
Over the past year and a half, I found myself disappointed by the relentless hatred that has brought three anti-Israel divestment resolutions to our campus over a two-year period. After all the ignorance and blind accusations I encountered, I decided that I wanted to learn more, and participate in fruitful conversations rather than passively witnessing a lot of hateful slogans thrown around. Therefore, I became a StandWithUs Canada Emerson Fellow, and have been given the tools and the facts to initiate those dialogues. The question remains, when will they happen at McGill? On November 8, I brought a program to McGill that I thought best represented the vibrant, spontaneous and optimistic nature that I experienced upon visiting Israel. I wanted to expose Israel – creative, multi-ethnic, inclusive and sometimes messy – to my friends and peers. Artists 4 Israel was the perfect vehicle. I wanted to use art as a platform to engage in meaningful and constructive conversations, that would help others develop a better understanding about a country that is too often wrongly criticized and misrepresented.
I wanted students to learn about Israeli culture and that it is a democracy with respect for all minorities – especially its 20 percent Arab population – who have full rights (including serving as the presidents of academic institutions, members of the Supreme Court and the Knesset). Soon enough, this event – one that so desperately tried to set aside political differences to share our common desire for peace – attracted negative attention from angry anti-Israel students on campus. They unfurled banners, elicited hateful slogans, and physically trapped us behind their sheets. Some of these individuals even interviewed us, before putting away their note pads and joining the crowd.
These same students reported about the event in the school newspaper, The McGill Daily. The biased article distorts our goals and further misrepresents Israel. As pro-Israel students on campus, we never imagined that an art exhibit intended to convey coexistence, diversity, culture and peace would become a flashpoint for an anti-Israel demonstration. Given the open-minded and safe-space approach taken, maybe now it’s time to question the real motives.
We can’t deny the facts: if the mural had been brought by any other culture club on campus, it would have never seen the opposition that it was subjected to. Various organizations present events to share their cultures, and introduce the community to some of the wonderful differences that make McGill so unique. In early November, the McGill Mexican Student Association (MMSA) brought an event to celebrate El Dia De Los Muertos, which had a great turnout and highly positive response.
So how did we get to a point that when pro-Israel students bring an event to campus – even in the most peaceful of scenarios – they can’t display a flag that brings us so much pride in representing our democratic values, without experiencing such strong opposition and backlash? The facts are that in the McGill Daily article (which touts itself as representing the voices of students), the art installation about Tel Aviv graffiti was labeled as an “insensitive concept and erasure of Palestinian voices.” To me, this is beyond belief.
The fact is that the violent silencing and blocking of this event is what should be considered insensitive, and an erasure of Jewish and Israeli voices. The protesters were unhappy about the fact that “Palestinian people, along with any Palestinian flags or symbols, were entirely absent from the event.” Yes, that is absolutely correct. This was a display about Israel. It was not designed to be a political statement. It was a display of the art of Israel’s streets. Seriously? Comparing an art exhibit to what they call “an apartheid wall” is ridiculous. Once again, it distorts and misrepresents, and in the end was simply their effort to deny Jewish and Israeli students the right to free speech in sharing their perception of Israel with their fellow students.
This experience shed light on a very upsetting reality – their problem is with the sheer presence of Israel, and not the dialogue or message it tries to promote. The fact that they protested a display calling for peace just because it had something to do with Israel is precisely this type of intolerance that hinders efforts to resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians on the ground.
We are no longer talking about political disagreements, given that this installation negated this. The issue is much more worrying. Now, we are talking about a fundamental disrespect for a difference of opinion. It is precisely this type of intolerance that results in these ugly attempts to silence any voices except those of McGill Students in Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR). We object strongly to the kind of partisanship that would result in the views of only one group being heard – and we object strongly to the characterization of this article, which seems to condone this kind of intolerant, and borderline racist behavior.
Philip Carl Salzman
Inside Policy, Nov. 14, 2016
My seminar students at McGill University told me that you can't say anything at this university without being accused of being sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, fascist, or racist, and then being threatened with punitive measures. They felt silenced by the oppressive atmosphere of political correctness. Nothing significant — sex, religion, relationships, public policy, race, immigration, or multiculturalism — could be discussed. Only the acceptable opinions could be expressed without nasty repercussions.
It is generally held today in the West, if not elsewhere, that diversity is a good thing. Diversity in origin, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual preference is now regarded as not only desirable, but mandatory. Universities strive to increase their physical diversity. The currently accepted theory in Western academia is that physical diversity reflects diversity of experience and thus an enriching diversity of viewpoint.
McGill's committee on diversity proposed that we no longer define excellence as intellectual achievement, but as diversity. Their view is that a university populated by folks of different colours or having different sexual preferences is by virtue of this diversity "excellent."
However, among this excellent diversity, what is not encouraged or accepted is diversity of opinion. Only politically correct views are welcome. On the very first day in last year's seminar, students challenged my assignment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel on the grounds that "she is a controversial figure." These students felt that university was not a place to explore controversial issues, but only to repeat what everyone agrees with. Several students dropped out of the seminar saying that they disagreed with Ali's politics. They were apparently unable to tolerate ideas with which they disagreed.
Ali is a critic of Islam. To my students that is a violation of strict cultural and ethical relativism, which dictates that criticism of other cultures and religions is unacceptable. That Ali was an insider who had grown up in a Somali Muslim family, gone to Islamic schools, lived in Islamic communities and countries, and had at one time been rigorously observant, cut no ice with my students. Although they themselves were largely ignorant about Islam, they insisted they would not accept Ali's account as authoritative. Many of the students, notwithstanding their unfamiliarity with Islam, made an effort to defend it. What they were really defending, of course, was political correctness — in this case, upholding relativism by rejecting criticism of a foreign culture.
Ali's criticism of Islam focuses on the treatment of women, their second-class status (receiving one-half of a male share of inheritance, and their court testimony worth half that of a male), the forced marriages, polygamy, the requirement of obedience to men, doctrine-justified beatings of wives, and so on. One might have thought that these concerns would be of interest to women — and cultural anthropology these days is dominated by women. The sex ratio in my classes is usually around seven females for every male; in last year's seminar, there were 21 women and four men. The ratio of female to male professors also increases from year to year. Almost all would identify as feminists. My female colleagues are militant feminists who prefer to hire other female feminists. But their feminism stops at our borders. They, like the stalwarts who man the national feminist organizations, would never criticize other cultures for their treatment of women, and certainly not Islam. Cultural and ethical relativism trumps even feminism.
Blocking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from visiting Concordia University in 2002, shouting down Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's first Bedouin diplomat who spoke last year at the University of Windsor, the abuse of pro-Israel students at York University — these are par for the course at institutions infamous for Israel Apartheid Week. Canadian departments of Middle Eastern Studies and university speaker panels on the Middle East commonly represent only the Arab and Palestinian narratives, excluding any neutral or pro-Israel speakers.
No less than Infidel did, I shocked my students with my views of anthropology and of the world. My students repeatedly told me that they had never heard opinions such as mine at university. I was told that I was "out of the mainstream." This did not surprise or frighten me; I have been an anthropologist for over 50 years, have long been a tenured full professor, and have observed closely the development of my field. Classic liberal political views such as mine are unusual among the many Marxists and fellow travellers in the social sciences and humanities…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link]
Philip Carl Salzman is a CIJR Academic Fellow
CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
Academics Are Spreading Anti-Israel Message At Universities Everywhere (Audio Recording): Asaf Romirowsky, Pundicity, Dec. 7, 2016—Renowned academic and author Dr. Asaf Romirowsky joined WIBC Morning Host Tony Katz to lend his expertise on an issue that Tony has addressed repeatedly – the anti-Israel movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sactions, or BDS.
Revisiting CUNY’s Flawed Antisemitism Investigation: Manfred Gerstenfeld & Leah Hagelberg, Algemeiner, Dec. 2, 2016—The recent official investigation into antisemitism at the City University of New York (CUNY) was so lacking in professionalism that we believe it requires a more focused analysis. This is particularly necessary because antisemitism both in its classic and its anti-Israel forms is also manifesting itself at a number of other American universities.
"Hate Spaces" Film Exposes Campus Intolerance: Noah Beck, IPT News, Dec. 13, 2016—A new documentary, "Hate Spaces," exposes the epidemic of campus intolerance favoring Muslims and anti-Israel activists over Jews and Israel supporters when it comes to free speech, academic freedom, and protection from abuse.
Jewish Students Must Realize That SJP Is About Hate, and Only Hate: Yaakov Menken, JNS, Dec. 15, 2016—When students from Toronto’s Ryerson University Hillel proposed to their Student Union that the school participate in the broader Canadian Holocaust Awareness Week, they did not anticipate the jeers, snickers and eventual walkout staged to prevent a quorum from approving the motion. Nor did they anticipate that this hateful behavior would be led by members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). In this respect, their shock is itself surprising.