Showing posts with label antisemitism on college campuses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label antisemitism on college campuses. Show all posts

Monday, October 30, 2023

College Presidents: Stand up Against Anti-Semitism

On my tortuous route to Catholicism, I stopped for a while among the Anglicans. I remember a song the Episcopalians often sang: “Once to Every Man and Nation.” As I watched the rising anti-Semitism on American college campuses, the lyrics of this song came back to me.

Once to every man and nation

comes the moment to decide,

in the strife of truth with falsehood,

for the good or evil side.

Some great cause, God's new Messiah,

offering each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever

Twixt that darkness and that light.

James Russell Lowell wrote these words in 1845  as a protest against the impending Mexican War, but they ring true today as the United States faces a vicious wave of anti-Semitism.

Lowell was a Harvard graduate, and he would surely be astonished if he saw the ugly rise of anti-Jewish sentiment at Harvard University today. Indeed, racism at one of our nation's most prestigious institutions is shocking. Commenting on this phenomenon, Bill Maher observed that “Harvard makes students stupid.” Maher is undoubtedly correct.

All across the country, college students are publicly endorsing hatred toward the nation of Israel and Jews. So far, there has been minimal violence, but the rhetoric exhibited at anti-Israel demonstrations is every bit as vitriolic as the Nazi rhetoric of the 1930s.

Our nation’s college leaders have remained mostly passive about the wave of racism sweeping their campuses or have mumbled nothing but pious platitudes. They have not done what they ought to have done, which is to expel racist students and fire antisemitic professors.

Today's college leaders have a moral obligation to take a public stand against the vile racism that is spewing forth on their campuses. This may be the only opportunity they have over the entire span of their entire careers to show some courage.

Lowell’s words remind us that the opportunity for an individual to stand up to evil may come but once in a lifetime. If college presidents don’t act vigorously and quickly to thwart antisemitism on their campuses, they will show themselves to be nothing but moral cowards.

"Harvard makes students stupid."

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Are Pro-Palestian College Kids Antisemitic?

Several years ago I worked with a Jewish professor at a Texas university. I recall he had a sign on his office door that said: “ Anti-Zionism is antisemitism.”

At the time, I disagreed with my colleague. I thought it possible for Americans to be sympathetic to the Palestinians and critical of Israel’s policies toward them without being anti Semitic. Now I am not so sure.

I am shocked by the. anti-Israel demonstrations taking place on college campuses all over the nation--protests supporting terroristic thugs. And I am apalled by the cowardly stance of university administrators, who refuse to denounce these demonstrations.

The Hamas raid out of Gaza on October 7 killed 1400 Israeli citizens, including children, women, and the elderly. Reliable reports have established that Hamas terrorists raped women, slaughtered babies, and kidnapped over 200 people. Some Israelis were burned alive in their homes.

As incredible as it seems, the Hamas terrorists committed acts of savagery against the Jewish people that are equal to the Nazi barbarism of the Holocaust.

It may be true that most Palestinians do not support Hamas and are helpless bystanders to Hamas atrocities. It is certainly true that innocent Palestinians have suffered and died during the latest round of fighting in Gaza.

Nevertheless, Israel holds the moral high ground in its long- running conflict with the Arab world. The United Nations made an eternal commitment when it recognized Israel as a sovereign state in 1948. The world’s obligation to Israel can never be canceled or annulled.
The college students who are demonstrating against Israel are either antisemitic or ignorantly dismissive of the unspeakable atrocities that have been committed against European Jews. I suggest they do a little research. There are hundreds of books about the suffering of the Jewish people during the twentieth century.

They might begin by reading two books of fiction by Leon Uris: Exodus about the founding of modern Israel, and Mila 18, which is a tale about the Warsaw uprising during World War II. 

University leaders must denounce the anti-Israel protests on their campuses. Harvard University, arguably the most prestigious education institution in the United States, is a hotbed of antisemitic rants. Yet its motto is Veritas, the Latin word for truth. Unless Harvard firmly and unequivocally rebukes the idiots who are celebrating or defending anti-Jewish terrorism, it needs to change its motto to “Cowardly Appeasement.” I believe the Latin translation is Inertia Placatio.