'Unsafe Spaces': Supporting Israel in Modern Campus Culture: Daniel First, American Thinker, Sept. 6, 2017— The American college campus was once a place where students listened to the views of their peers, debated ideas, and derived knowledge through the examination of multiple viewpoints.
When Great Institutions Lie: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 7, 2017— Over the past week, two major US institutions have produced studies that discredit their names and reputations as credible organizations.
The War on History: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Aug. 29, 2017 — Last week, answering the call from Black Lives Matter and other statesmen, mobs destroyed or removed statues of leaders of the Confederate cause all across the United States.
You Can’t Say That!: Matthew B. Crawford, Weekly Standard, Aug. 21, 2017 — It was in the mid-1980s that I first heard the term “politically correct,” from an older housemate in Berkeley.
College Lecturer Promotes Antisemitism Through Social Media: Ben Shachar, Algemeiner, Sept. 5, 2017
Affirmative Action Policies Evolve, Achieving Their Own Diversity: Vivian Yee, New York Times, Aug. 5, 2017
PC Idiocy Killed ‘The Great Comet’: Karol Markowicz, New York Post, Aug. 13, 2017
Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 4, 2017
American Thinker, Sept. 6, 2017
The American college campus was once a place where students listened to the views of their peers, debated ideas, and derived knowledge through the examination of multiple viewpoints. Schools like UC Berkeley proudly advertised themselves as leaders of a “free-speech movement”, and discourse was not only allowed, but encouraged.
Fast forward to 2017. Students demand safe spaces. Classes are cancelled for emotional mourning over election losses. School-sponsored counselors are coddling “grieving” students, triggered by their “offensive” surroundings. Speakers are shouted down by angry mobs. Speakers are banned from campuses. Schools unapologetically cave to the demands of gangs of 18-22 years old “activists”. There are violent riots, fires in the streets, and university administrations literally taken hostage by their students.
The problem is that on many American campuses, a single set of views is all that students, faculty and administrations deem “safe”, and any dissent or opposition from the platform is viewed as “hate speech” and a threat to public safety. So, those who deviate from that singular worldview not only become pariahs among their academic peers, but they may also see their classroom grades suffer. This has affected the Jewish and pro-Zionist college experience on many campuses throughout the United States. The once apolitical decision to support the existence, growth and successes of the State of Israel — the only free democracy in the Middle East and, arguably, America’s closest, most trusted ally — has become politicized, and opposed, by mainstream campus culture.
Today, the social aspect of campus academics have increasingly been hijacked by continuing campaigns of disinformation, propaganda, and polarization about Israel. According to data from the AMCHA Initiative, 53 Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) Resolutions have been passed to isolate or entirely eliminate association with Israel in all facets of campus life. Examples include opposition to collaboration with Israeli academics and universities, and the heated and bizarre debate on the morality of carrying Sabra hummus in campus mini-marts. On another 59 major American campuses, these types of BDS resolutions have been raised, but defeated. Currently, the AMCHA Initiative is tracking 56 new campuses and three new State University Systems, which are facing upcoming BDS votes in the 2017-18 school year.
Directly spearheading much of this anti-Israel sentiment on many campuses is the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist (i.e. radical Islamic) organization (that should be designated as a terror organization). The Muslim Brotherhood founded two popular American student groups: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA). These groups have made their names on many campuses by engaging in ridiculous PR stunts such as die-ins, apartheid walls, the aforementioned BDS campus resolutions, and public protests with the intent to shut down events and speakers of opposing viewpoints.
As Muslim Zionist activist Nadiyah Al Noor explained at the Endowment for Middle East Truth Rays of Light in the Darkness Dinner, the fighting and propagandizing rhetoric of these organizations create a “narrative of anti-Semitism under the guise of anti-Zionism. I believed their hateful lies: Israel was an apartheid state, Israel was Nazi Germany 2.0, Zionism is racism and Israel has no right to exist. But then I met Zionist Jews, I met Israelis, I started to learn about Israel and once I learned the truth I became a vocal Zionist. I wasn’t going to sit back and watch my Jewish friends suffer at the hands of their anti-Israel peers.”
Anyone who has ever been to Israel knows that what Al Noor said is the truth. Israel is truly a ray of light in the darkness that is the Middle East. In Israel, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Baha’i, Druze, Bedouin, the members of the LGBTQ and the straight communities, the religious and the secular groups of all religions, all live together in a free, peaceful, and thriving land that the Jews have continuously inhabited for the past 4,000 years. On a Mediterranean coastline, surrounded by the atrocities of Islamist terrorists and dictatorial regimes, Tel Aviv and Haifa sit as diamonds In the rough…
Unfortunately, the anti-Zionists are winning in the battle for the hearts and minds of American college Jews right now. In a recent study released by Brand Israel Group, in 2010, 84% of U.S. Jewish college students supported Israel, but by 2016 only 57% did. At this rate, by 2018, support from Jewish American college students is projected to dip below 50%. Relentless propagandizing and an anti-free-speech campus culture, complicit in spreading such slanderous lies about Israel, have lead us to a point of reckoning.
It is now the start of a new school year, a new beginning with countless memories to be made. There is no doubt we live in a polarized society, but this year, put your partisan views aside at least on this issue. Jewish college students as well as college students from all backgrounds are going to have to stand up for what is right, by supporting the State of Israel and denouncing those who spew anti-Semitic rhetoric and hatred. I know I will, but will you?
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, Sept. 7, 2017
Over the past week, two major US institutions have produced studies that discredit their names and reputations as credible organizations. Their actions are important in and of themselves. But they also point to a disturbing trend in the US in which the credibility of important American institutions is being undermined from within by their members who pursue narrow partisan or ideological agendas in the name of their institutions…
The first study was produced by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. It dealt with the Obama administration’s policies regarding the war in Syria and specifically the acts of mass murder undertaken by the Assad regime. Authored by Cameron Hudson, a former Obama administration national security official who now serves as the director of the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, the report absolved the Obama administration of all responsibility of the bloodbath in Syria.
As reported by Tablet magazine, the paper argued that “a variety of factors, which were more or less fixed, made it very difficult from the beginning for the US government to take effective action to prevent atrocities in Syria.” The paper’s claim was based on “computational modeling and game theory methods, as well as interviews with experts and policy-makers.” It argued that had then-president Barack Obama not ignored his own redline and actually responded with force to the regime’s 2013 chemical weapons attack at Ghouta, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
In the last months of the Obama administration, Obama appointed several of his loyalists, including his deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, to positions on the board of the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Rhodes was one of the architects of Obama’s Syria policy. After sections of the report were released to Tablet and the report was posted on the museum’s website, its findings were angrily rejected by prominent Jewish communal leaders and human rights activists…
While distressing, the impact of the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s action is limited to a historical falsehood. The goal of the second study published this week by an esteemed institution is to distort and indeed block discussion about a problem that is ongoing. This week, Stanford University’s Research Group in Education and Jewish Studies published a report which purports to show that there is no significant antisemitism on US college campuses and that Jewish students do not feel threatened by antisemitism.
The Stanford’s conclusions fly in the face of a massive body of data, collected by researchers over the past decade, which all show the opposite to be the case. If the Stanford study is believed, it will discredit the work of hundreds of professional researchers and academics, journalists and Jewish and academic leaders throughout the US. But that’s the thing of it. The Stanford study is utter nonsense.
As the researchers, led by Associate Professor of Education of Jewish Studies Ari Kelman, made clear in their report, their study is the product of interviews with a deliberately chosen, nonrepresentative group of 66 Jewish students from five California campuses who are not involved in Jewish life. The researchers said that they deliberately chose only Jews who aren’t involved in Jewish life on campus, since they make up the majority of Jewish students on campuses. The researchers claimed that reports on campus antisemitism are generally distorted, because they generally highlight the views of the minority of students who deeply involved in Jewish life at their universities. Their views, the researchers said, are different from the views of Jews who aren’t involved.
There is certainly a valid argument to be made for researching the views of uninvolved Jewish students about antisemitism on campus. But the researchers didn’t do that. They didn’t survey a random, and therefore statistically meaningful sample of uninvolved Jews. They went to great length to ensure that the “uninvolved” Jewish students were their sort of “uninvolved” Jewish students. As they wrote, “We screened students with respect to their activities in order to determine whether or not they fit our general criteria so as to minimize those with vastly different definitions of ‘involvement’ than ours.”
Armed with their painstakingly selected, nonrepresentative 66 Jewish students, Kelman and his team concluded that all the researchers who have conducted statistically relevant studies of Jewish students on US university campuses are wrong. There isn’t a problem with antisemitism on campus. All the Jewish students the researchers spoke with felt perfectly safe on their campuses as Jews.
This academically worthless finding, published under the Stanford University letterhead, would be bad enough. But the fact is that this finding is the least sinister aspect of the study. The real purpose of the “study” was to use this deliberately selected group of students to shut down debate on the most prevalent and fastest growing form of antisemitism on campuses: anti-Zionism. The survey found that their interlocutors “reject the conflation of Jewish and Israel.” “They chafe at [the] assumption that they, as Jews, necessarily support Israeli policies. They object to the accusation that American Jews are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government, and they express similar discomforts with the expectation that all Jews should be Zionists.”
At the same time, they really don’t like Israel much at all. The survey’s Jewish students “struggle with Israel,” whose actions “generally often contradict their own political values.” Here we begin to see the ideological purpose of the pseudo-academic Stanford study. First things first. The uninvolved students who think that Israel’s actions “generally often contradict their own political values” told Kelman and his colleagues that they are offended by “the accusation that American Jews are responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.” And this makes sense because that accusation is self-evidently a form of antisemitism. Like antisemites who accuse Jews of killing Jesus, antisemites on campuses is ascribe responsibility for the alleged “crimes” of the Jewish state to American Jewish students in California.
So by “chafing” at the allegation, the students his researchers deliberately selected acknowledged that they are offended by antisemitism. But then, helpfully, they agreed with the researchers that antisemitism isn’t antisemitism. The study went on to explain that its student correspondents have been intimidated into silence by the “tone of campus political activism in general, and around Israel and Palestine specifically.” That tone, they said, is “severe, divisive and alienating,” and the students wish to avoid paying “the social costs” of involvement…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Bayview Review, Aug. 29, 2017
Last week, answering the call from Black Lives Matter and other statesmen, mobs destroyed or removed statues of leaders of the Confederate cause all across the United States. At a press conference on August 15, 207, President Donald Trump — who has, after all, been at the forefront of more movement for change (good or ill) than any figure in recent History — stepped up at once to note the inspiration behind it all.
There were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee, I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists because they should be condemned totally… [But where is it all heading?] … George Washington was a slave owner …So [he asked the assembled reporters] will George Washington now lose his status, are we going to take down statues of George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson, what do you think of Thomas Jefferson? Are we going take down his statue, because he was a massive slave owner, now are we going to take down his statue? You’re changing history, you’re changing culture.
No great gift of prophecy was required to arrive at this, but only a talent for discerning mob mentality. Sure enough: “Bishop” James E. Dukes of Chicago’s Liberation Christian Centre has demanded that Mayor Rahm Emnanuel of Chicago rename the Washington Park. He finds the First President undeserving of this and all his other honours because he was a slaveholder. So was President General Andrew Jackson – for whom another local park is named. Around the country, countless memorials standing on private ground are now in the crosshairs.
Meantime, a bust of Abraham Lincoln erected elsewhere in Chicago has been set in flames and defaced. How this is related to the ongoing campaign of vilification of Confederate leaders is anyone’s guess. In any case, local police have declined to investigate this matter. The President was right, of course. Inevitably, enthusiasm for eradicating the memories of bad persons cannot be contained to the figures known to have been active in the overlapping causes of States Rights and defense of Slavery.
Jim Quinn, writing for the website www.zerohedge.com, offers some background: “Liberal mayors and city councils across the south are falling all over themselves wasting time and taxpayer money to remove statues of Confederate generals to appease the left and make a display of how anti-racist they can be. Meanwhile, their cities are bankrupt, their infrastructure is decaying, black crime is rampant and their education systems matriculate functionally illiterate deranged snowflakes into society … Do we get rid of all dollar bills and quarters? Do we change the name of our capital? Do we change the name of Washington & Lee University to Obama & Spike Lee University?”…
Politicians all around the land, caught unprepared, have been calling out for overtime all the manpower available to them so that under cover of darkness, statues dedicated to Lee and Stonewall Jackson and other champions of the Lost Cause could be dismantled without fuss. Baltimore’s Mayor, Catherine Pugh, squeeked that “with the climate of this nation,” ordering Confederate monuments under cover of darkness “was in the best interest of my city…It’s very important that we move quickly and quietly.” No amount of discussion should be allowed to stand in the way of righteous action.
David Goldfield, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, applauds the strategy of pre-emptive demolition of the statues of evil persons. “The fact that it’s done fairly expeditiously is not surprising because if you do it quickly the opposition can’t build up, and the confrontations that we’ve had, not only in Charlottesville but elsewhere, will not materialize.” Mayor Pugh told the New York Times that she did not know where the statues were moved or where they will end up. And here is the most Orwellian line of the week: “She suggested plaques be installed that describe ‘what was there and why it was removed.’” Does she want General Lee remembered or forgotten? Are these cowardly public officials anticipating visits from the ghosts of the gents on the horses?…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Matthew B. Crawford
Weekly Standard, Aug. 21, 2017
It was in the mid-1980s that I first heard the term “politically correct,” from an older housemate in Berkeley. She had a couple glasses of wine in her and was on a roll, venturing some opinions that were outré by the local standards. I thought the term witty and took it for her own coinage, but in retrospect she probably picked it up from one of the magazines that she would leave on the kitchen table: Commentary, or maybe the New Criterion. The Cold War was in full bloom at the time, and it was clear to all in Berkeley which side deserved to win. She was on the other side. I was in my late teens; her treasonous perfidy was exciting.
Through the ’80s, ’90s, and into the new millennium, the phrase “politically correct” would crop up here and there. Among people who were credited as being sophisticated, use of the term would be met with a certain exasperation: It was needling and stale. The phrase had been picked up by the likes of College Republicans and Fox News, and if you had an ear for intellectual class distinctions you avoided it.
Originally a witticism, the term suggested there was something Soviet-like in the policing of liberal opinion. When it first came into wide circulation, was it anything but humorous hyperbole? Is that still the case today? A sociologist might point to a decline in social trust over the past few decades—they have ways of measuring this—and speculate about its bearing on political speech. One wonders: Who am I talking to? How will my utterances be received? What sort of allegiances are in play here? In the absence of trust, it becomes necessary to send explicit signals. We become fastidious in speech and observe gestures of affirmation and condemnation that would be unnecessary among friends.
The more insecure one’s position (for example, as a middle manager who senses his disposability, or a graduate student who hopes for admittance to the academic guild), the more important it is to signal virtue and castigate the usual villains. In some settings these performative imperatives lead us to mimic the ideologue. But from the outside, mimicry may be indistinguishable from the real thing. This uncertainty heightens the atmosphere of mistrust, as in the Soviet world where one could never be sure who might be an informer. Such informers need not be ideologues themselves, just opportunists.
Ryszard Legutko is a professor of philosophy in Krakow who has held various ministerial positions in the post-Communist, liberal-democratic governments of Poland and is currently a member of the European parliament. Under communism, he was a dissident and an editor of the Solidarity movement’s samizdat. He is thus well positioned to make comparisons between two regimes that are conventionally taken to be at polar ends of the axis of freedom. In his book The Demon in Democracy—published last year, with a paperback edition scheduled for next year—Legutko’s thesis is that the important differences between communism and liberal democracy obscure affinities that go deeper than any recent sociological developments. He finds both tyrannical in their central tendencies and inner logic. Legutko’s tone is darkly aggrieved, and he sometimes overstates his case. But his biography compels us to consider seriously the parallels with communism that he asserts, for as a former dissident under a brutal regime he knows what real oppression looks like. He is no intellectual crybaby or talk-radio crank…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
CIJR Wishes Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!
College Lecturer Promotes Antisemitism Through Social Media: Ben Shachar, Algemeiner, Sept. 5, 2017 —In December 2016, the Israeli Students Association (ISA) at York University received numerous complaints from Israeli students at Ryerson University. The complaints concerned the social media use of Valentina Capurri — a contract lecturer at Ryerson’s Department of Geography & Environmental Studies.
Affirmative Action Policies Evolve, Achieving Their Own Diversity: Vivian Yee, New York Times, Aug. 5, 2017—Just a year ago, after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions program by a single swing vote, the question seemed to be edging, at last, toward an answer: Colleges could, the justices ruled, consider race when deciding whom to let through their gates.
PC Idiocy Killed ‘The Great Comet’: Karol Markowicz, New York Post, Aug. 13, 2017—‘There’s a war going on out there somewhere.” So goes the catchy opening song from the Broadway show “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.” The idea is the war is happening far away, and the characters of the show, safe in a swinging Moscow, are untouched by it.
Cultural Approbation: Weekly Standard, Sept. 4, 2017—The Delta Sigma Phi fraternity chapter at the University of Michigan had what it thought was a delightful theme—antiquity on the Nile—for a party kicking off the school year. They invited guests to come as a “mummy, Cleopatra, or King Tut, it doesn’t matter to us. Get your best ancient Egyptian robe and headdress and be ready to party in the desert.”