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The Academic Jihad Against Israel

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This confession of transparent duplicity is not only astonishing in itself, but also in its being ignored or tacitly supported by many college administrators, left-leaning teachers and impressionable students.

The BDS conference held at the University of Pennsylvania in early February provided yet another instance of the distortions, dishonesty and malevolence targeting Israel, as legitimized by the academy. One of its principal speakers was Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada website, who is fond of comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. Another was English professor Amy Kaplan, who went so far as to suggest methods for introducing the Palestinian mythology and the BDS campaign into completely unrelated classes in order to advance an anti-Israel prepossession clearly intended to influence unsuspecting students – and was subsequently defended by her chairpersonette, Nancy Bentley.

One notes, too, in this regard the recent conference at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government under the heading “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Conference.” Featuring such rabid anti-Israel fact-twisters as Stephen Walt and Ilan Pappé, the colloquium plainly envisaged the end of the Jewish state. Harvard is one of 17 American universities receiving substantial donations from Arab sources – $329 million from 1995 to 2008, the last year on record, and doubtlessly another hefty sum since. Indeed, as Cravatts notes, “in the past 30 years…the Saudi royal family has funneled $70 billion into universities in the West…to create scholarship and teaching that is almost uniformly designed to demonize Israel, advance the Palestinian cause, and undermine Western values…while…helping to enable the spread of Islam.” Money talks, of course, but not always loudly; it also whispers seductively into the curricular ear. Heidegger and Marcuse would surely have been pleased. As are the swarms of their disciples among the anti-Zionist crowd who have risen from the preceptorial slime and identified with America’s, and the West’s, enemies.

The seminars of loathing they teach and promote, euphemized as “educational events,” lay all the blame for the Middle East’s dysfunctions at Israel’s feet. And in so doing they have not only trained their sights on a pluralistic and democratic Israel while fawning before an autocratic and venal Islamic polity, they have materially facilitated the wave of anti-Semitic sentiment now flooding the world.

Anti-Semitism is not only an emotional, indeed almost glandular, disorder, it is likely the most contagious intellectual pathology known to humankind. Today, it has infected not only North American and European campuses, but has spread even to Israeli universities, many of whose teaching and administrative staff, under the convenient banner of anti-Zionism, have become willing and enthusiastic carriers of the disease.

“Many Israeli professors,” Cravatts observes, “veer to the Left politically and many, incredibly, share the same virulent anti-Israel, anti-Zionism sentiments.” The same is true of American and European Jewish anti-Zionists “who, in a peculiar act of introjection, attempt to psychically expunge…the liberal guilt that condoning Zionism would bring upon them.”

The plague has become ubiquitous when even those eventually targeted for exclusion become its most ardent advocates. It is clear that a species of indefeasible madness has taken hold of the academic community.

When a civilization begins to decay and enters the twilight of its existence, it is invariably vanquished by an army of barbarians. This seems to be what is happening now, judging from the mental debility and cultural exhaustion that have stricken our cognitive elites.

These barbarians now proliferate as an advance guard in the contemporary academy. They have almost nothing to say about any of the bloodbaths and savageries daily being enacted in country after country throughout the world – Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Libya, Sudan, China – but when it comes to the Jewish state, with its scattered settlements in its ancient homeland of Judea and Samaria and not a single Israeli remaining in Gaza or in south Lebanon’s buffer zone, the chorus of revilement erupts into a veritable cacophony.

Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews makes for indispensable reading. It shows how the so-called liberal university has become the Ground Zero of intellectual ruination, its professoriate invidiously programming its students with a left-wing, statist agenda, a misplaced tolerance for radical Islamic thought and practice and an unseemly eagerness for its natural correlate, anti-Jewish and anti-Israel execration.

Cravatts’s concluding recommendations all make perfect sense, but it will be a Herculean task to get them implemented – whether exposing the cult of “Palestinianism” for the conceptual sham that it is, differentiating between legitimate criticism of Israel and thinly-disguised anti-Semitism, holding craven college administrators to a firm moral stand, preventing the abuse of academic freedom, cleaning up the Augean stables of Middle East Studies programs, and other such sensible requisites.

He acknowledges that reclamation will be difficult, “fraught with challenges and requiring constant efforts to change long-held beliefs and deep-set emotional attitudes, but it is imperative that the task be undertaken.” For it would be “morally dangerous” to permit the present situation to fester.

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About the Author: David Solway is the award-winning author of over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, educational theory, and travel. He is a contributor to magazines such as The Atlantic, the Sewanee Review, Books in Canada, and the Partisan Review. His most recent book is “The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity.” This essay originally appeared at Frontpagemagazine.com.


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In Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews, published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Dr. Richard Cravatts pulls no punches, relentlessly anatomizing the pedagogic bias currently in place, which is neo-Marxist in its orientation and undeniably anti-Jewish in its expression.

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