Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Religion

Anti-Semitism at Yale and Beyond

I previously noted the perverse hostility bleeding-heart liberals have toward Jews, the perennial minority-victim of world history. Ron Rosenbaum writes well on this hostility within the Ivory Tower of liberal academia, noting the recent hypocrisy and (continuing) anti-Semitism in "Yale's New Jewish Quota":

Who killed YIISA? It's a kind of academic murder mystery. YIISA--for those who have not caught the scant coverage of this deeply disturbing development--stands for the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism. Or should I say stood for that, till Yale, in a cowardly, clumsily-executed maneuver, abolished the program in the first week in June.

...

Yale cited several reasons for killing YIISA, a program devoted to the cross-cultural examination of anti-Semitism that had been in operation since 2006. But many observers suspect the turning point was a YIISA conference last August called "Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity" which, while featuring 108 speakers from five continents, dared acknowledge the existence of anti-Semitism in some Islamic cultures. ...

But while the backlash against YIISA's conference included predictable protests from the official PLO representative and the group's supporters in America, the more subtle--and yet ludicrous--objection to YIISA's conference and YIISA's work came--as Ben Cohen pointed out in the Forward--in the charge of "advocacy," leveled by some YIISA opponents on campus. The charge that the program exhibited too much "advocacy" against anti-Semitism, as opposed to academic analysis of anti-Semitism. It seems unlikely that Yale tells its cancer researchers not to engage in advocacy against the malignancies they study, doesn't it?

David Greenberg also notes the Yale controversy as a starting point for a broader consideration of liberal and academic tolerance of anti-Semitism:

How did a concern with anti-Semitism, whether scholarly or political, come to be seen as the province of the right? How did liberalism--historically the philosophy of toleration and equal rights--come to be so squeamish about confronting Jew-hatred in its contemporary forms?

In the last decade or so, noxious attitudes toward Jews once voiced only on the far left and far right have gained a curious acceptance--indulged or explained away, if not actively promoted, by mainstream liberals. Remarks that can be charitably described as disturbing emanate from left-liberal icons ... doing no visible damage to their reputations.

Greenberg cites several causes for this shameful liberal legacy. First, liberals granted Islam - the grand perpetrators of anti-Semitism in the modern world - a "free pass" following 9-11.

Liberals (and many conservatives), anticipating an outbreak of nationalistic anti-Islamic feeling in an angry and wounded country, admirably took pains to fight negative depictions of Islam. But those laudable demonstrations of toleration sometimes became muddled, leading some liberals, as Leon Wieseltier put it, to start "granting Muslims a reprieve from the rigors of liberalism."

Greenberg also indicts the left for succumbing to their deranged "blame Bush" mantra.

The Bush administration's ideology-fueled agenda abroad made many liberals feel that either they were with the president or they were against him--and who would want to be with him? Clinton-era liberal internationalism fell from favor after several of its prominent adherents short-sightedly backed the Iraq War. As the Bush administration grew tight with the Likud governments in Jerusalem, sympathy for Israel came to be equated with a "neocon" position.

Finally, Greenberg notes that the great barrier to anti-Semitism over the past half century is beginning to fail.

As these developments opened the door to the frank expression and reflexive rationalization of anti-Semitic views, another, longer-term trend was eroding the cultural taboos against that expression: the vanishing memory of the Holocaust.

Stanley Fish ... wrote with self-awareness some time ago about his sensitivity to anti-Zionism. It was magnified, he said, by two factors: the time he spends on campuses, "where anti-Israel sentiment flourishes and is regarded more or less as a default position," and his age (now 73). Unlike friends just 10 years younger, Fish remembered World War II--as do his peers everywhere. For decades those memories chilled anti-Semitism and extended the world's concern and protection to the Jewish people. Now they are fading.

Rosenbaum and Greenberg write on serious matters with great thoughtfulness and clarity. Liberal anti-Semitism is an anomalous abomination, and its wide-spread presence within universities adds insult to injury. (I fully trust that Ashland University - or at least its Politics and History departments - does not descend into such barbarity.)

Categories > Religion

Discussions - 1 Comment

I previously noted the perverse hostility bleeding-heart liberals have toward Jews

I would refer you to an article published in Commentary in 1982. Its title was "J'Accuse". Read to the last paragraph. He offers an explanation of the phenomenon you are mis-observing.

It is unsupported, and, I think, wrong, to attribute to these characters an animosity toward the domestic Jewish population, or that of France, or that of Britain, or that of Argentina. Many of them are, in a residual ethnic sense, Jewish (as are Noam Chomsky and Anthony Lewis). They are hostile to Israel. Israel is (considered as a corporate body) self-confident, largely indifferent to the world's bien-pensants, responds to threats and attacks with force, and is for that reason repulsive to adherents to the therapeutic state and therapeutic society. Wagers on the table, that if you corral these characters and question them carefully, you would find they despise Rudolph Giuliani for much the same reasons. The Arabs on the West Bank, in Gaza, and in the UNRWA shanty towns are not particularly winsome or salable as a designated mascot, but they will do for the undiscriminating (in a pinch).

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/16812