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How The Academic Left Came To Hate Israel

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D.

Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D.

Most curious has been the betrayal of Israel by some liberal Jews who, poisoned by a pathology that enables them to deflect the hatred of others by absorbing it themselves, have reacted by attacking the Jewish state, the hatred of which is unavoidably tarring them, as Jews, in a prejudice they are unwilling to have be directed at them.

In their zeal to confirm that their liberalism is pure and that they still reflexively support victims, not oppressors, some of these Jews have betrayed Israel and Zionism, to use Ruth Wisse’s words, by attacking today’s core source of Jew-hatred: Israel. Normal Finkelstein, as one example, late of DePaul University and the author of the invidious screed The Holocaust Industry, has made a career as an ideological hit man against Israel, using the fact that his parents were Holocaust survivors to inoculate himself from charges of anti-Semitism, even while he demeans the Holocaust, praises Hizbullah as morally upright freedom fighters yearning for peace, and lectures on campuses about the irredeemable evil of Israel, the racist character of Zionism, and the complicity of Jews who actually support the Jewish state.

Finkelstein’s mentor, MIT’s Noam Chomsky – whom Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz has called the “godfather” of anti-Israel thought – when he is not lecturing on the evils of American capitalism and its ruthless lust for “empire,” busies himself by blaming Israel for every problem of the Middle East’s highly dysfunctional, authoritarian regimes.

Professor Jennifer Loewenstein, director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin, has glorified Palestinian resistance and the yearning for Arab self-determination while describing Israel as a nation that “speaks with a viper’s tongue over the multiple amputee of Palestine whose head shall soon be severed from its body in the name of justice, peace and security.”

Then there was the late Tony Judt of New York University, who claimed Israel is “an oddity among nations” that no one wants to have in existence “because it is a Jewish state in which one community – Jews – is set above others, in an age when that sort of state has no place.”

The nearly total rejection by the Left of any recognition of goodness on the part of Western countries, favoring without hard judgments severely flawed societies of the Third World is, according to commentator Melanie Phillips, symptomatic of academics’ belief in their own moral superiority, a feature which, at least in their own minds, gives them a more genuine and principled worldview.

“In the grip of a group-think that causes them to genuflect to victim-culture and the deconstruction of western morality and the concept of truth,” Phillips writes, “a dismaying number of our supposedly finest minds have been transformed from people who spread enlightenment to those who cast darkness before them.”

Dr. Richard L. Cravatts is director of the Communications Management Program at Simmons College and serves on the board of directors of both Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the Investigative Task Force on Campus Anti-Semitism and on the academic advisory board of the Lous D. Brandeis Center for Human Righrs Under Law. This essay is adapted from his new book, “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel and the Jews.”

About the Author: Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D., author of “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews,” is president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.


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