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In what is yet more evidence that universities have become, as Abigail Thernstrom has described them, “islands of repression in a sea of freedom,” Toronto’s York University witnessed a near riot of some 100 pro-Palestinian Israel-haters, as police had to be called to usher Jewish students to safety after they had been barricaded inside the Hillel offices and were “isolated and threatened” by the physically and verbally aggressive demonstrators.
York, one of Canada’s largest universities, has a sizable Jewish student population, but that has not served to diffuse what has become an increasingly volatile, and distressing, problem on its campus, one that raises issues about what is acceptable behavior and discourse at universities worldwide.
Universities, of course, have well-articulated regulations that supposedly define student behavior and place limits on speech and actions that might shatter what administrators like to refer to as the “civility” of the campus community. York’s own student code of conduct, for example, specifically prohibits “threats of harm, or actual harm, to a person’s physical or mental wellbeing,” including “verbal and non-verbal aggression…verbal abuse; intimidation; [and] harassment” – all of which were clearly violated by the demonstrators’ physically intimidating protests.
More troubling is the invidious language used at this event, mirroring a surge of unbridled Jew-hatred manifested on campuses, as well as on city streets, worldwide since Israel’s defensive incursion into Gaza.
Parroting the morally incoherent and factually defective exhortations of Israel-haters elsewhere of “Zionism equals racism!” and “Racists off campus!” the York mob, members of both the York Federation of Students and Students Against Israeli Apartheid, demonstrated once again that what is positioned as “intellectual debate” on campuses about the Israeli/Palestinian issue has devolved into something that is not really a conversation at all. Rather, it is something more akin to an ideologically-driven shoutfest in which a new version of pro-Palestinian brownshirts, employing a revisionist history in which the dark-skinned, third-world Arabs are the long-standing victims of white, European, colonial Zionists, have escalated the debate far beyond discussion of borders, refugee status, and the rights of both Jews and Arabs to self-determination, statehood, and peaceful coexistence.
So supporters of the cult of Palestinianism apparently no longer feel even a bit uncomfortable voicing what is actually on their minds when the subject of Israel comes up: when the York Hillel students were trapped inside locked offices, surrounded by an increasingly violent and aggressive mob, the intellectual “debate” that day included such invidious and raw slurs as “Die Jew – get the hell off campus.”
The most vicious anti-Semites have of late been able to conveniently inoculate themselves from what had become socially unacceptable in the modern age – hating Jews – by artfully masking any anti-Semitism on their part by stating, “Oh, no, it’s not Jews I despise, only the oppressive, genocidal, and racist policies of Zionism and Israel.”
But even that concern for appearing to be politically correct has now, too, vanished. When students are calling for the death of fellow students based on their religion or political inclinations, something more serious and troubling is going on here that cannot be easily dismissed as part of the back and forth in the “marketplace of ideas” that universities are so fond of facilitating.
But craven college administrators, who in their zeal to achieve “diversity” and “multiculturalism” have relieved campus victim groups of any responsibility for their noxious or morally reprehensible views, regularly fail to condemn the behavior of favored groups on campus while publicly denouncing, punishing, or distancing themselves from the opposing voices coming, for instance, from conservatives, Christians, Republicans, or pro-Israel groups or faculty members.
Imagine for a moment that during the latest incident instead of Hillel, another of the University’s student organizations, the Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gay Allies at York, had held a press conference in the student union to give their views on, say, gay marriage, a topic over which there can be, and are, many viewpoints. Imagine further that counter-protestors, inflamed by what they felt was an assault on their Christian faith, angrily barricaded the TBLG Allies in their offices, pounded violently on the walls and screamed out “Death to Sodomites.”
Assuming that such a counter-protest would even have been allowed to occur on campus, does anyone doubt the extent of denunciation and condemnation that would have issued forth from an apoplectic administration and faculty if this hateful speech and behavior took place? Is there any doubt the counter-protestors would be de-funded, sanctioned, or punished into silence or prevented from further demonstrations or the ability to express their opinions on campus again?
Therein lies the hypocrisy in academic free speech on campus today: while coddling selected victim groups and granting them unlimited expression as a purported way to further diversity of thought, college administrators have regularly denied those same rights and privileges to groups deemed not to deserve or need them – namely, conservatives, Christians, Republicans, or those who seek a strong defense against radical Islam and terrorism aimed Western democracies, principally the U.S. and Israel.
If pro-Israel and Jewish students have to be escorted by police to protect them from physical assault and nothing is said about the egregious nature of the offense, and pro-Israel, anti-terror speakers such as Daniel Pipes are shouted down and heckled relentlessly when they come to York, the university is failing in its stated objective to foster true debate and free speech where reasoned conclusions can evolve through animated and lively discussion of alternate views.
“The ‘Israel debate,’” say Gary A. Tobin, Aryeh K. Weinberg and Jenna Firer in The Uncivil University, “is not a true intellectual debate at all, but rather a failure of the university community at all levels to properly protect its highest ideals. No institution of higher learning should allow Jewish students to be intimidated or attacked, or pro-Israel speakers to be so physically threatened that they cannot safely visit a campus.”
Why? Because “such an environment is antithetical to the mission” of the university, they say, and if the academy abandons that goal for the sake of selected groups and favored causes today, it clearly makes victims of other groups whose views and voice deserve the same hearing in our marketplace of ideas.
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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We risk our lives to help those who do what they can to kill to our people .
Twain grasped amazingly well the pulse of the Jewish people.
The entertainment industry appears divided about the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The contrast between the mentality of Israel and the mentality of Hamas was never so loudly expressed as when the Arab killers became heroes and the Jewish killers became prisoners.
There is a threat today representing a new category of missionary:They call themselves “Hayovel.”
Just as we would never grant legitimacy to ISIS, we should not grant legitimacy to Hamas.
Is Woodstock still leading the world to destruction?
Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state
Blaming Israel for the violence in Gaza, he ends up justifying Hamas’s terrorism.
In the Thirties it was common for anti-Semites to call on Jews to “go to Palestine!”
Obama never hid his contempt for the Israeli government or the majority of Israel’s voters.
“This arbitrary ban is an ugly stain on our democracy, and it also undermines the rule of law.”
We take US “aid” for psychological reasons-if we have an allowance, that means we have a father.
ZIM Piraeus isn’t Israeli-owned or flagged, incidentally, it is Greek operated.
The multiculturalism that animates the hate-Israel crowd is sprinkled with code words of oppression
The cynical, and historically and factually inaccurate, view has meant leftists frequently denounce Western democracies as imperialistic, racist, militaristic oppressors.
What was unique about the MLA’s and the ASA’s approach was the breathtakingly Orwellian notion that not only was Israel itself guilty of the many alleged transgressions assigned to it by its libelers, but a boycott against Israeli academics was warranted because the academic establishment itself is complicit in Zionism’s excesses and a core element of the bemoaned occupation, oppression, and denial of Palestinian self-determination.
The ASA has obviously overlooked the pathology of Palestinian society.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), which represents some 14,500 members, voted in early April “to cease all cultural and academic collaboration with Israel, including the exchange of scientists, students and academic personalities, as well as cooperation in research programmes [sic].”
As an example of what the insightful commentator Melanie Phillips referred to as a “dialogue of the demented” in her book The World Turned Upside Down, Northeastern University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), paralleling the moral incoherence of anti-Israel activists demonstrating elsewhere in American and European cities, sponsored a November 15 Boston rally in support of Gaza and, presumably, its genocidal thugocracy, Hamas.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently continued a long tradition of attempting to question a Jewish link to Jerusalem by expressing his mendacious notion that “Jerusalem’s identity is Arab, and the city’s and Christian holy sites must be protected from Israeli threats.”
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