web analytics
March 4, 2015 / 13 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Journey Of An Academic Pariah

Jerold S. Auerbach

Jerold S. Auerbach

Academic freedom came to mean the right to delegitimize Israel. Legions of Jew haters, Holocaust deniers, and Israel bashers were joined, and at times led, by self-hating Jewish academics – Tony Judt, Noam Chomsky, and Norman Finkelstein conspicuous among them. The betrayal of Israel by Jewish intellectuals became one of the defining attributes of university culture.

Like other “politically correct” academic institutions, Wellesley embraced a redefinition of “minority” that excluded Jews. Consigned to the privileged white majority, they were stripped of their Jewish identity. In this enclave of anti-Semitic decorum, the “strong male voices” of a handful of Jews (as the Hillel director expressed her discomfort) were unwelcome. Our female Jewish colleagues remained conspicuously silent.

I spent many hours reassuring Jewish students that they were not to blame for Wellesley’s Jewish problem.

Sadly, they often internalized their hurt and berated themselves for Wellesley’s demure, yet destructive, anti-Semitism.

It pained them to respond because, as one Jewish student leader explained, “We wanted to be accepted by our peers.” Confronting persistent hostility in an institution that self-righteously touted its “multicultural” sensitivity, another student confided: “I’m scared and confused and wonder if maybe…I’m doing something wrong by being Jewish.”

My public condemnation of anti-Semitism at Wellesley, like my published defenses of Israel and Jewish settlers, made me an academic pariah. Indeed, after my public graduation protest over the praise heaped on a professor I considered anti-Semitic, my photograph appeared on a website captioned “Jew Klux Klan.”

* * * * * These days a right-wing Jewish professor belongs to an endangered species. But I wore it as a badge of honor. It was a small price to pay for my experiences with passionate religious Zionists whose courageous assertion of the Jewish imperative to settle the Land of Israel was inspirational.

My life turned out to be an unplanned journey from the wilderness of Jewish assimilation to the promised land of Jewish identity. As my experiences in Jerusalem and Hebron intersected with my forty years at Wellesley College, I became an academic pariah – and a proud Jew.

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Journey Of An Academic Pariah”

  1. Edward Alexander says:

    A fascinating snatch of autobiography by one of American Jewry’s most astute, lively, and original minds.

  2. My journey into Orthodoxy began in Forest Hills, at the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva High School on Kessel Street in 1960.

    And I strongly recommend Jerry’s book on Hebron, http://books.google.com/books/about/Hebron_Jews.html?id=PRLKrTtSWvEC

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Jordan's King Abdullah II, a licensed helicopter pilot, is rumored to have personally taken part in air strikes against ISIS.
Jordanian King Warns Global Battle With ISIS Has Launched World War III
Latest Indepth Stories
Red Line Obama

UN inspectors were flabbergasted when Iran allowed them full unfettered access to All nuclear sites

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressing Congress.

Obama’s real problem is that he knows Netanyahu has more credibility on the Iran issue than he does.

Silwan, in the eastern part of Jerusalem, founded by Yemenite Jews in 1881

Kristof’s op-ed “The Human Stain” was flawed and wrong; more than anti-Israel, it was anti-Semitic.

Hur and Aharon holding up Moshe's hands as Joshua battled Amalek.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”

Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them

Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.

The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

More Articles from Jerold S. Auerbach
Knesset

For nearly sixty-five years national self-definition has been the skeleton in the closet of Israeli politics and culture.

Front-Page-081514

Times reporter Anne Barnard reported (7/15) that Israel was to blame (so her Palestinian sources asserted) for its continued “occupation” of Gaza – which, Barnard failed to note, ended nearly a decade ago.

During much of the 20th century, elite American colleges and universities carefully policed their admission gates to restrict the entry of Jews. Like its Big Brothers – Harvard, Yale and Princeton – Wellesley College, where I taught history between 1971 and 2010, designed admission policy to perpetuate a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant elite.

Yossi Klein Halevi’s Like Dreamers (Harper) explores the lives of seven Israeli paratroopers in the Six-Day War who, his subtitle suggests, “Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.” It offers a fascinating variation on the theme of Israel at a fateful crossroads, in search of itself, following the wondrously unifying moment at the Western Wall in June 1967 when Jewish national sovereignty in Jerusalem was restored for the first time in nineteen centuries.

In death as in life, Menachem Begin remained who he had always been: a proud yet humble Jew.

Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Nearly sixty-five years ago Israel declared its independence and won the war that secured a Jewish state. But its narrow and permeable postwar armistice lines permitted incessant cross-border terrorist raids. For Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the mere existence of a Jewish state remained an unbearable intrusion into the Arab Middle East. As Egyptian President Nasser declared, “The danger of Israel lies in the very existence of Israel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/journey-of-an-academic-pariah/2011/11/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: