web analytics
January 16, 2017 / 18 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘edward said’

Why the Oldest Hatred Flourishes on US Campuses

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Jewish Americans who have been paying attention know there is a serious anti-Israel problem on U.S. campuses, and they have some idea of where it is happening. What most still don’t know is how or why it happened.

In Richard L. Cravatts’ new book,”Dispatches from the Campus War Against Israel & Jews,” (2016) he lays it all out.

“Dispatches” starts with the evolution of the “cognitive war against Israel.” Dr. Cravatts traces the modern trajectory of the oldest hatred. In its latest incarnation, the “new anti-Semitism” has morphed into a more widely acceptable, but just as hate-filled and irrational, version which hides behind the fig leaf of “criticism of Israeli policies.”

The intense contortions of those whose anti-Semitism was not acceptable forged a more acceptable conduit for the irrational hatred, which then flowed into the most-favored blame receptacle, now represented by the Jewish State.

Cravatts names the leading players behind this movement to recast and legitimize anti-Semitism, such as the University of Michigan’s Juan Cole, and Columbia University’s Joseph Massad and Edward Said. “Dispatches” also reveals how various cultural currents, such as multiculturalism, moral relativism and the grotesquely misnamed social justice warrior movement buttress this new lethal narrative.

American campuses are the petri dishes in which the latest version of the oldest hatred festers. Tuition and tax dollars feed the disease, while the fecklessness of campus administrations and even most Jewish organizations ensures its continued growth.

Today’s version of the Big Lie – that Israel is responsible for nearly every “pathology and failure” not only in the Middle East but for many even where Israelis have no footprint – is meticulously catalogued by Cravatts through his series of articles which make up “Dispatches.”

Luckily, moral detectives were able to recognize and categorize this new version of the old disease which lurks behind the moral narcissists’ claim of mere Israeli criticism. The villains are not the only ones whom Cravatts names.

Contemporary maccabees such as Martin Kramer, Ruth Wisse, Phyllis Chesler, and Canada’s Irwin Cotler, whose heroic efforts to name and shame those spreading the disease in the hopes of controlling the contagion are saluted. But the numbers and the ferocity of those seeking to extirpate the Jewish State are, sadly, far greater in number.

The effort to cast Israel – and therefore its Jewish citizens and supporters – as the ultimate evil in the world includes fevered references to Israelis as the new Nazis. It is a form of ex post facto exculpation, and also lets off the hook the youthful initiates who might otherwise feel uneasy spewing hatred. The linkage between Zionism and Nazism is frequently displayed in the signs held aloft at many campus demonstrations, as “Dispatches” reveals.

But the professoriat and their acolytes also delve into more recent history to stigmatize Jews and the Jewish State. Apartheid South Africa is a favored comparison to Israel, which reveals how little concern for facts plays a role in this academic game. Israel is one of the most diverse nations on Earth, one that has absorbed people of every imaginable color and religion. A quick peek at the Israeli legislature or the Israel Defense Forces puts the lie to the claim of Israeli apartheid, but as Cravatts repeatedly points out in his book, “facts are irrelevant” because Jew-hatred blinds the hater.

The second part of “Dispatches” explains the current malevolent phenomena of the BDS (Boycotts against, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel) Movement. This section focuses on recent efforts by academic associations to attack Israel using the BDS form of warfare. Why American academic associations such as the Modern Language Association, the American Studies Association and others believe themselves justified in attacking Israel (and only Israel) is examined in-depth. What’s revealed in that examination is shameful. That academics fail to recognize the moral failure of attacking Israel says volumes about the state of the American academy. It is not only a moral failure but an intellectual failure for a profession of those whose sole job is education.

The final section of “Dispatches” consists of nearly two dozen campus case studies. The role of the virulently anti-Israel organization “Students for Justice in Palestine” gets a lot of play, and deservedly so. Cravatts catalogues a plethora of outrages set on university campuses throughout the country.

Although Israel and Jews are the primary targets of the latest version of anti-Semitism, Cravatts does a masterful job of revealing one of its collateral victims: free speech. The chapters dealing with the abandonment by the left of a bulwark of freedom, that of speech, demand attention. Further, the co-existence of “safe spaces,” “trigger warnings” and hate speech codes, with calls for Israel’s extermination and the justification of murdering Jews because of the mythical “occupation” should boggle the mind. And yet it hasn’t. Not yet.

The author of “Dispatches” told the JewishPress.com he wrote the book with the hope that “by understanding the toxic tactics of pro-Palestinians, readers can begin to see the danger of teaching a whole generation of students a false and damaging narrative about the Jewish state.

“If we understand the tactical strategy and know its weaknesses, we can begin to combat the lies and degrade the odious campaign to vilify Israel.”

Cravatts lectures around the country on higher education, anti-Semitism and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He has published hundreds of articles on these topics and is the immediate past-president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. Currently Cravatts sits on the board of the AMCHA Initiative, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law, and the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. Read his book.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The New Anti-Semitism: Chesler Forces Our Eyes to See, Our Ears to Hear

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

When Phyllis Chesler first published The New Anti-Semitism more than a decade ago, it was a glowing lamp in the darkening night.

Since that time, The Jewish Press readers know that much has gotten worse. Anti-Semitism is louder, more widely and brazenly espoused, with less shame, than it had been in decades.

More people can now see what Chesler has seen all along, but far too many remain blind.

The essence of the new Anti-Semitism, Chesler explains, differs from the old in the way in which the center-to-hard left has taken up the cudgels, thereby making anti-Semitism (which includes the unalloyed hatred of the Jewish State) acceptable, even required, for those who hold themselves out as anti-colonialist, anti-racist, anti-imperialists.

The new anti-Semitism is the marriage of the evil far-right to the slavering far-left. It is ugly and it is increasingly ubiquitous.

In this brand new edition of The New Anti-Semitism (Gefen Publishing House 2014), Chesler provides answers to some of the questions her original edition raised. What is particularly welcome is her chapter containing suggestions for action by those who have begun to realize action – decisive action – must be taken before it is too late. Those suggestions won’t be found in this review, because anyone interested should buy the book and support this frontline warrior.

Much of the same ground has begun to be covered elsewhere by the few who saw the light since Chesler’s first edition came out, but here is why this book is different from the other sources now mining this essential topic: this book was written by someone who was immersed in the world that now seethes with hostility to Jews and their nation. The New Anti-Semitism is written by someone with a constellation of qualities that make her uniquely credible.

Chesler’s bona fides as a giant of the left are impeccable. She was one of the founding deans of the modern feminist movement, having served in the trenches with Kate Millet and Andrea Dworkin, among many others. Her longstanding and current commitment to feminism makes her accurate portrayal of the feminist movement’s turning on the Jewish State so important and so poignant.

And then there’s the fact that Chesler was first married to an Afghani Muslim and lived in Kabul in the family’s harem (as described in her fascinating An American Bride in Kabul). And she was later married to an Israeli Jew. Want to discuss western confrontation with the eastern Other with someone who’s really been on the line where they meet? Try to top that. No one can.

An additional reason you should read Chesler’s book is her writing. While much of the book provides historical accounts of the old and the new anti-Semitisms, all of these reflections come in Chesler’s inimitable style: conversational, dramatic, engaging.

The new The New Anti-Semitism provides readers with accounts of events in recent history which have been dramatically and dangerously misreported in the mainstream media.

Chesler as our guide through the earliest instances of (the “old”) anti-Semitism: blaming Jews for the murder of Jesus, through to Dreyfus, Herzl and Hitler takes us on a familiar path, but she combines a lens of clarity with a compelling voice.

This book also shares some of the less well-known modern-day detours, descriptions of which should be required reading for anyone who purports to care about what is happening in the Middle East.

Chesler is particularly insightful regarding the highjacking of various national as well as global conferences, hosted by the United Nations, by feminists and others, which were transformed into festivals for trashing Jews, Judaism and the Modern State.. This author had a front row seat at many of these events, and she provides an unmatched vantage point and voice of anguish. The disinvitations to even leftist, anti-Israel Jews should have been a warning; it wasn’t, other than to Chesler and very few others.

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The ‘Imperialist Tool’ of the Middle East

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Let’s examine claims from the radical academia currently hegemonic in North America and Europe. What is fascinating is that a well-informed observer can easily demolish such claims. That’s precisely why such people are not being trained today and well-informed people are discredited or ignored to keep students (and the general public) relatively ignorant.

To paraphrase George Santayana’s famous statement, those who fail to learn from history make fun of those who do.

I know that the situation has become far worse in recent years, having vivid memories of how my two main Middle East studies professors—both Arabs, both anti-Israel, and one of them a self-professed Marxist—had contempt for Edward Said and the then new, radical approach to the subject. At one graduate seminar, the students–every single one of them hostile to Israel but not, as today is often the case, toward America–literally broke up in laughter pointing out the fallacies in Said’s Orientalism. Today, no one would dare talk that way, it would be almost heresy.

Let me now take a single example of the radical approach so common today and briefly explain how off-base it is. I won’t provide detailed documentation here but could easily do so.

The question is: Who in the Middle East was the tool of imperialism? Most likely the professors and their students, at least their graduate student acolytes, would respond: Israel. Not at all.

Before and During World War One era. It can be easily documented that the French subsidized and encouraged Arab nationalism before the war. During it the British took over, sponsoring the Arab nationalist revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Before the war, Islamism was sponsored by the Ottoman Empire in order to keep control over the region and battle Arab nationalism. For their part, the Germans sided with the Ottomans and encouraged Islamism.

What about Zionism? The British did not issue the Balfour Declaration, supporting a Jewish national home, because they saw Zionism as a useful tool in their long-term Middle East policy. In fact, they were interested in the wartime mobilizing Jewish support elsewhere, specifically to get American Jews to support the United States entering the war on Britain’s side and Russian Jews in keeping that country in the war. Both efforts did not have much effect. At any rate, long-term British policy always saw maximizing Arab support as its priority.

Post-World War One. While having promised Jews a national home, British policy soon turned away from supporting Zionism and certainly from backing a Jewish state, even by the early 1920s, realizing that having the Arabs as clients was a far more valuable prize. It was through local Arab elites that the British built their imperial position in the region. The French toyed a bit with Arab nationalism as a way to undermine British rule but also backed Arab elites. The new Soviet Union actually sponsored Islamism for several years as a way of undermining both British and French in the region.

The only exception was T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and a few other visionaries who thought that both Arab nationalism and Zionism could co-exist under British sponsorship. That concept didn’t last very long and had no policy influence beyond the early 1920s at most.

Before and During World War Two. Realizing that it needed Arab support to fight in the coming war, the British followed an appeasement policy that was quite willing to sacrifice the Jews for Arab help—or at least non-interference—in the battle. If the Arab side had cooperated with these pre-war plans, Arab Palestine might have emerged in 1948, with the Jews driven out or massacred shortly after.

Instead, the radical Arabs—both nationalists and Islamists—made a deal with the Axis. Germany and Italy supported these forces in order to destroy the British and French position in the region, just as the Germans had done in World War One.

While the British worked with the Zionists during the war on common endeavors, there was never any notion that a Jewish state would aid British interests in the region. Quite the opposite. The British focused on moderate Egyptian and Iraqi politicians plus the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

After World War Two. The British quickly sought to use moderate Arab forces to ensure their position. That’s why they were the real founders of the Arab League. The Zionists fought the British. The United States supported partition of the Palestine mandate and the creation of Israel but with no strategy of using Israel as a tool in Middle East policy. Indeed, the United States had no ambitions in the region at the time. Israel was largely ignored by the United States during its first two decades of existence.

Barry Rubin

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-imperialist-tool-of-the-middle-east/2013/03/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: