Animosity against Jewish students going strong
There is a crisis of cowardice on US college campuses. And it's the adults — the college presidents and fellow administrators — who are failing their students.
As detailed by Heather Mac Donald of City Journal, college presidents grovel before students — the ones aggressively bullying others and shutting down speakers — in the name of protecting the protesters' safety. At the same time, Jewish students are subjected to intimidation and raucous demonstrations designed to maximize their discomfort on campus, according to Carly Pildis in Tablet.
Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, is an early contender for most craven. In 2015, Yale sociology professor and master of one of Yale's undergraduate residential colleges Nicholas Christakis was surrounded by screaming students for two hours after his wife Erika penned a letter suggesting that college students should be old enough to pick their own Halloween costumes without guidance from college bureaucrats warning against "cultural appropriation." One female student cursed at him and shouted, "You should not sleep at night! You are disgusting!" When Christakis demurred to the claim that free speech is a cover for campus violence against minorities, he was loudly informed, "It doesn't matter whether you agree or not.... It's not a debate."
After a meeting with the protesting students, Salovey expressed his appreciation: "I have never been as simultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged.... You have offered me the opportunity to listen and learn from you." The female student who shouted "it's not a debate" and another student tormentor were awarded at graduation that year an award for fostering better race relations at Yale.
Prior to the 2016 election, minority students at Atlanta's Emory University burst into the office of college president James Wagner to protest someone chalking on campus sidewalks "Trump 2016." Wagner responded by thanking the protestors for teaching him about the ways in which they are victimized and announced that "our commitment to respect, civility, and inclusion calls for us to provide a safe environment that inspires and supports courageous inquiry."
Evergreen State College's Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services (I'm not making this up), issued an edict on their Day of Absence to white faculty to cancel all classes and stay off campus for a day. When staunchly progressive professor Bret Weinstein refused to comply, students stormed his biology class, swore at him, and announced once again, "This is not a discussion." Next they turned their expletive-filled wrath on Evergreen president George Bridges, who predictably reiterated his "gratitude for the passion and courage you have shown me and others. I want every one of you to feel safe on this campus." The aggressors' self-image of themselves as victims was reinforced by the threatened president himself.
Students at Middlebury College, already infamous for the student disruption two years ago of a panel discussion with Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute — protests that sent faculty moderator Allison Stanger to the hospital with a concussion and whiplash — recently issued an ultimatum against the appearance on campus of a Polish representative to the European parliament, Ryszard Legutko, to speak on "Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies." When the director of the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, one of the sponsors, labeled the student ultimatum "highly inappropriate," the students sniffed, "In the future, we would appreciate not being accosted in person and in such an unsettling manner." They complained as well that the college has not provided them with "financial compensation" for arranging the protests.
Despite the rare rebuke from the director of the Rohatyn Center, the college provost and vice president for student affairs announced that they could not, and therefore would not, ensure the safety of "students, faculty, staff and community members" from the protests that were sure to follow.
When students invaded a presentation of US Custom and Border agents at a University of Arizona job fair and ordered the two members of the "murder patrol" off campus, for once, the university president, Robert Robbins, was not amused or sympathetic to the "disruption." But this time, a coalition of "professors of color" took up the banner of the protesting students urging a "learning environment that not further traumatize or disrupt the emotional, physical, psychological, and holistic well-being of our students."
THE CONTRAST could not be more stark to the total lack of solicitude for Jewish students by campus administrators at any of the 37 campuses at which Israel Apartheid Week, a weeklong hate fest designed to promote the BDS movement against Israel, took place this year. Harvard even threw in a couple thousand dollars to sponsor the festivities.
As described by Carly Pildis, the purpose of Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) — making Jewish students feel uncomfortable and even threatened — is not a by-product of the events, but their goal. Thus Jewish students entering into the campus Hillel or centers for Jewish students have to run a gauntlet of harangues about their being complicit with the murderous, apartheid state of Israel, built on stolen Palestinian land.
Shabbat dinners have been targets of demonstrations. And Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the principal sponsor of IAW, explicitly called for a student boycott of both Hillel and Chabad at Emory University. One favorite activity of IAW activists is to place eviction notices on the doors of Jewish students in the middle of the night announcing that they have been evicted in the name of "ethnic cleansing" or "Judaization."
Now try and imagine how long a group of Jewish students would be allowed to stand outside a Muslim student center waving posters of atrocities committed around the world by Muslim terrorists.
Jewish students feel genuinely menaced when IAW events take over a campus. A Columbia professor told Pildis, "Even as a 35-year-old professional, my heart beats fast, and I'm scared to see the shouting and anger that comes with IAW. I avoid the main campus as much as I can during IAW for my own mental health. I'm scared as a Jew — not as a Zionist." A researcher at a Boston-area university described what it was like to sit in his office during IAW demonstrations directly outside his office door: "I genuinely felt fear when I could hear the speakers' voices amplified and reverberating and hear the crowd reaction." A Swarthmore college student could find no escape even in her college dorm, where "diversity peer advisors" were very vocal about Israel being an apartheid state and their support for BDS. "IAW changes my day. It changes how I walk to class. It changes how I act. It makes me more insular," says Barnard College senior Leoro Einleger. "I don't think the Barnard or Columbia administration is focusing on the wellbeing of Jewish students — at all."
And the animosity directed at Jewish students shows no sign of abating. At Williams College, the top-rated liberal arts university in the United States, the student council recently denied recognition to the Williams Initiative for Israel, a student group that promotes Israel's right to exist, 13–8. It was the first such denial of recognition in over a decade. (To her credit, college president Maud Mandel expressed her "disappointment" in the decision and informed the group that they would be provided the same access to Williams' facilities as any student group.)
SJP and Jewish Voices for Peace recently advertised a speech by cartoonist Eli Valley (yes, Jewish) with some of his work. As described by Jewish law student Ari Hoffman in the Stanford Daily News, Valley's work depicts Jews and Jewish rituals in "grotesque terms": yellow stars, concentration camp uniforms, blood rituals, and reliable hook noses. Even the vile SJP apologized to the Stanford Jewish community for having posted and distributed the cartoons out of the context of Valley's actual speech exposing Israeli evil.
There is little gainsaying Pildis's conclusion: "[W]e are now watching as students who are members... of a historically oppressed minority people — who were the primary targets of the largest genocide of the 20th century — are harassed across American universities."