Latest update: March 21st, 2014
This cynical, and historically and factually inaccurate, view has meant leftists frequently denounces Western democracies as imperialistic, racist, militaristic oppressors precisely because they wish them to evolve to a purer, newly-structured society and feel that they, the leftists, have the collective insight and moral strength to effect this change as they strive for the social justice or its intellectually-flaccid offspring as articulated by Ms. Korn – “academic justice.”
Thus, when such radical campus groups as Students for Justice in Palestine have as their core mission bringing their own vision of justice to the Middle East, it is justice only for the oppressed, the Palestinians, and not for the perceived oppressor, Israel, whose position of power was made possible only because of military strength and imperialistic tendencies.
In their mission to protect the sensibilities and emotional well-being of identified campus victim groups, universities – often violating their own written guidelines and codes of behavior – have instituted speech codes to prevent what is generally called “hate speech” but which has become a perverse tactic to marginalize, and exclude, the speech and ideology of those with whom liberals and leftists do not agree – those individuals who express ideas that offend the sensibility of Ms. Korn, for example.
The acting out and vitriolic language against Israel that so often defines campus anti-Israelism may make the activists feel good about themselves for striving for social justice, but, as journalist Khaled Abu Toameh has contended, these are hollow efforts; that “[i]nstead of investing money and efforts in organizing Israel Apartheid Week, for example, the self-described ‘pro-Palestinians’ could dispatch a delegation of teachers to Palestinian villages and refugee camps to teach young Palestinians English . . . .”
What was Abu Toameh’s conclusion about this misdirected effort to support the Palestinian cause? “What is happening on the U.S. campuses,” he wrote, “is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state. It is not really about ending the ‘occupation’ as much as it is about ending the existence of Israel.” And, he added, “we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.”
“The whole problem with the world,” observed philosopher Bertrand Russell, “is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” That these two undergraduates display a certainty that is so stringent and so contrary to intellectual inquiry should give us all pause, and might make us question if we are teaching a whole generation of college students what to think instead of how to think.Richard L. Cravatts
About the Author: Richard L. Cravatts, Ph.D,, is immediate past president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the author of the forthcoming book “Dispatches From the Campus War Against Israel and Jews.”
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