Compelling Diversity and Punishing Dissent

The misguided proposal of universities to enforce racial equity

As more evidence that universities continue to be obsessed with race and are in thrall with the pursuit of racial “justice” and “equity,” the Board of Directors of California Community Colleges has decided that the system will now grade its employees, including, of course, faculty, on the extent to which they promote “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility.” The guidelines of a March proposal “include DEIA competencies and criteria as a minimum standard for evaluating the performance of all employees,” and, in case a staff or faculty member was disinterested in this mandatory thinking about race, the rules firmly “provide employees an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of DEIA and anti-racist principles.”

The California Community Colleges system is not the first to mandate DEIA “competence” and adherence as a component of hiring and tenure decisions. A recent report by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) found that “DEI criteria were found in tenure standards at 21.5 percent of institutions.” 

In April, as one recent example, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced that it will demand diversity-contribution statements in which faculty must profess their allegiance to goals of diversity and inclusion as part of the process of tenure and promotion.

Unsurprising, UC Berkeley instated a similar policy, portentously entitled “Guidelines for Assessing Faculty Candidate Contributions to Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Berkeley,” which has as its broad mission to advance “diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are responsibilities of all Berkeley faculty through their research, teaching, and/or service.”

Even if diversity and inclusion were objectives proven to have positive and productive results—which they clearly are not—a policy to compel faculty to pledge allegiance to their support is both misguided and likely violative of academic free speech—not that this consideration has prevented ideological hoards of woke students and faculty from censuring and canceling those whose views are deemed unacceptable. These forced commitments to diversity and inclusion, in fact, are reminiscent of the odious loyalty oaths demanded of faculty during the 1940s and 50s.

The campaign for diversity is based on an assumed, but unproven, assumption that diverse student populations are automatically superior to non-diverse ones, and that diversity not only benefits minority students but all students and the university as a whole. This belief is accepted by woke virtue-signaling administrators and diversocrats as a given, but it is certainly still a topic that can be questioned, critiqued, and challenged; and a faculty member has the right to not accept it as settled doctrine.

In fact, extensive research on DEI activities by two Heritage Foundation researchers, Jay Greene and James Paul, has shown that universities not only spend excessively on their DEI staffs, but that, more seriously and contrary to what would be assumed, “large DEI bureaucracies fail to make a positive contribution to campus climate.” While universities position DEI activities as signaling their commitment to minority recruitment and retention, “DEI personnel may be better understood,” the research suggested, “as a signal of adherence to ideological, political, and activist goals. Employing dozens of DEI professionals . . .  appears to work better as a jobs program subsidizing political activism than a means of improving campus climate.”

Is it reasonable that a professor seeking tenure be made to be responsible for a broad social problem—racism and inequity—when the proper and traditional role of the tenure process is based on a professor demonstrating excellence in teaching within his discipline? It is neither fair nor legal to compel a professor, as a core part of the decision on whether or not he or she deserves tenure—to commit to the vague and unproven mission of promoting diversity and inclusion, something that the institution as a whole might well have its mission but which an individual faculty member—teaching literature, business, mathematics, or biology—has no business making part of his teaching, research, and scholarship.

These new policies on hiring and tenure are troubling because they represent the institutionalization of the current dogma about race and so-called equity. We have witnessed in the past few years an odious series of purging of faculty, “cancellations,” who did not adhere to accepted and acceptable notions about race or who challenged the heterodoxy with alternate, sometimes provocative, views of their own.

In a normal culture where academic free speech and academic freedom are honored, these cancellations would not have occurred, but we are not in normal times. And demanding allegiance to DEI and to the rules set down by supercilious university diversocrats wrongly compels faculty to virtue signal their own moral compliance even if they disagree with or do not even care about it in the first place.

Moreover, like speech codes that have been struck down as unconstitutional for being overly broad and vague, policies that measure a faculty member’s commitment to racial equity are constructed and enforced in a way that is certain to chill speech; that is, when it is not enough to be merely not a racist and one is required to be anti-racist—to affirmatively fight for racial justice and equity—that expectation intrudes not only on a person’s First Amendment right to freely articulate his or her views, but also on the unenumerated right to privacy, as well, the right to be left alone and, among other things, not have to pledge support to a country, a government, or a university’s mission even if it purports to have a noble purpose in pursuit of a social good.

And junior faculty in the process of seeking tenure and building their careers should not be hobbled by their failure to adhere to diversity mandates, something outside of their disciplinary scholarship. The way senior faculty have recently suffered at the hands of the race-obsessed for thought crimes committed at various universities should provide ample warning of the type of reputational and professional damage that can be done when the woke mob punishes someone for questioning the current thinking on race.

Bret Weinstein, a white professor, for example, was punished and eventually even terminated at Evergreen College in 2017 for refusing to stay away from campus during the school’s “Day of Absence” an annual event during which Evergreen’s white students and faculty are urged not to come to campus in order to demonstrate black solidarity.

At Princeton University, self-inflicted racial guilt was so prevalent that the University’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, published a self-flagellating open letter in which he bemoaned the fact that “racist assumptions” are “embedded in structures of the University itself.” When Professor Joshua Katz made the mistake of questioning that alleged systemic racism and referring to Princeton’s activist Black Justice League as being “terrorists” due to their aggressive and radical activism in 2015 when they presented a list of demands and grievances, berated fellow students, and occupied university property, he was vilified on campus and recently fired.

Georgetown professor Ilya Shapiro, too, experienced the collective wrath and opprobrium of his own school when he tweeted comments criticizing Joe Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman as the new Supreme Court justice. In a since-deleted tweet, Shapiro referred to that eventual nominee as a “lesser black woman,” which proved to be a most unfortunate choice of words. For that grave thought crime, Shapiro was excoriated by the Georgetown community and was driven to eventually resign.

Another faculty victim of the race woke mob was Charles Negy, an associate professor in the University of Central Florida’s Psychology Department. Negy’s thought-crime? “Black privilege is real,” Negy wrote in a now-deleted tweet. “Besides affirm. [sic] action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much-needed feedback.” For that heresy, Negy was vilified and terminated, although a court recently determined he should be reinstated.

In 2018, a similar racism frenzy erupted at the University of Pennsylvania when one of its law professors, Amy Wax, brought up one of the flaws critics see in affirmative action programs, something known as the “mismatch effect,” the result of black students gaining admission to law schools as a result of racial preferences so that their academic records and preparation are weaker than that of their non-black fellow students. Because they then must compete academically with students who are better prepared and whose educational background has equipped them for the rigors of law education, black students have chronically performed poorly when compared to their non-black peers.

The depressing reality is that professors are regularly censured and condemned for having views that contradict prevailing orthodoxies, even when they are discussing factually correct ideas, as was the case in the examples listed above, and not merely personal opinions.

The diversocrats on American campuses may recoil at the notion that their efforts to achieve racial equity have unintended, even harmful, consequences, but suppressing the speech of and punishing those who reveal some of the defects of an obsessive DEI campaign is a serious violation of academic freedom, not to mention indicative of the willful blindness of progressives who seem to care more about appearing virtuous than they do about contributing to actual constructive social change.

As demonstrated quite saliently by the experience of these professors (by in large senior professors who are protected by tenure), anyone who questions either the utility or even the moral, legal, and ethical justification by which these efforts are maintained can expect to be denounced as a racist—and especially now as the country is experiencing paroxysms of racial reckoning and atonement. To question the hypocrisy and fairness of affirmative action, for example, is to step on moral landmines.

In 1967, the University of Chicago produced what is referred to as the Kalven Report, which wisely advised against mobilizing an entire university to advance a certain ideological position, assuming that ideologies will change over time and university missions cannot and should not be absolute or inviolable. The report suggested that “a university must sustain an extraordinary environment of freedom and inquiry and maintain an independence from political fashions, passions, and pressures … and must embrace, be hospitable to, and encourage the widest diversity of views within its own community.”

It also anticipated the current debate about race and the efforts to address it when it warned that the university “is a community which cannot take collective action on the issues of the day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness. There is no mechanism by which it can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives.”

As many universities now seem comfortable with doing, the report cautioned against this type of effort. A university “cannot insist that all of its members favor a given view of social policy; if it takes collective action, therefore, it does so at the price of censuring any minority who do not agree with the view adopted [emphasis added].”

Combatting racism and helping to facilitate the participation of marginalized and underrepresented students in university life are noble, well-intentioned goals. But enforcing a culture of anti-racism as part of that effort, not to mention punishing and crippling the careers of faculty who fail to conform to woke doctrines about race, is both misguided and contrary to the tenets of academic freedom.

“ . . . [T]here emerges,” the report concluded, “a heavy presumption against the university taking collective action or expressing opinions on the political and social issues of the day, or modifying its corporate activities to foster social or political values, however compelling and appealing they may be.”

Owning Up to One’s Opinions

How “progressives” are embarrassed by the radicalism of their own ideology.

Mahatma Gandhi’s admonition that “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts” might well apply to progressive activists who relentlessly offer up their often-toxic views yet furiously distance themselves from their view when challenged by their ideological opponents.

Consider, for example, the current controversy concerning Libs of TikTok, a very popular Twitter account run by Chaya Raichik which aggregates the rants and ravings of LGBT activists in their publicly posted videos. In April, Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz (pictured above) wrote a vicious expose of Raichik’s Twitter account, accusing Libs of TikTok of “doxxing” the creators of the videos and exposing LGBT educators and activists to harassment, hostility, even potential harm in response to their TikTok videos.

Lorenz’s screed against Libs of TikTok leaped to the conclusion that Raichik was involved in a vicious assault on the personal lives of LGBT TikTok creators and that the purpose of the Twitter account was to demean gay educators and provide fuel to right-wing critics alarmed by the sexualization and grooming of school children by woke educators who wish to promote inappropriate lessons on gender and sexuality. “Libs of TikTok reposts a steady stream of TikTok videos and social media posts, primarily from LGBTQ+ people,” Lorenz wrote in the Post column, “often including incendiary framing designed to generate outrage. Videos shared from the account quickly find their way to the most influential names in right-wing media,” Lorenz added, revealing her belief that Libs of TikTok exists only to provide fodder for right-wing critics of progressive trends in education and in our culture.

Lorenz went so far as to “doxx” Raichik herself, something which Lorenz complained the Twitter account was doing to the embarrassed TikTok users and which she even claimed, in a tearful interview, had been done to her as a result of her reporting prowess. “Members of the LGBTQ+ community,” Lorenz warned, “who still attempt to use platforms like TikTok to educate people on gay or trans issues are subject to intense online abuse, causing a chilling effect.”

But Lorenz’s main complaint was that the Libs of TikTok videos were having a negative effect on gay educators and other activists who posted there. “The account has emerged as a powerful force on the Internet,” Lorenz wrote, “shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.”

What Lorenz apparently failed to notice was that any outrage on the right might be justified given TikTok videos such as this example of a not atypical April 11th TikTok post in which an Oklahoma middle school teacher told his students that “If your parents don’t accept you for who you are, f*** them. I’m your parents now.”  

And what she also ignores in her critique of the Libs of TikTok is the central fact that each user who posted objectionable content—including the Oklahoma school teacher who tells his students that from now on, he, not their parents, will be imparting moral and sexual lessons—each user had voluntarily and knowingly posted their respective videos on a very public social media platform, specifically for the purpose of gaining a wide audience and making the posts go viral.

That is the crucial point here, aside from the sometimes repulsive and inappropriate content. None of the individuals who posted the videos that find their way to Libs of TikTok had what in the law is called “an expectation of privacy.” Their private files were not hacked and exposed to the public against their will or without their knowledge. Raichik simply scours TikTok for videos that are problematic, outrageous, inappropriate, or immoral and reposts on Twitter the same videos users themselves had created and willingly posted on TikTok.

If anyone is to be blamed for the wide exposure some of the videos enjoy, it is the users who posted them in the first place, not Raichik.

The Libs of TikTok is not the only vehicle through which radical progressives “outed” themselves, ideologically, by going very public with their progressive views.

As part of the Israeli/Palestinian debate, radical activists have found themselves the subject of dossiers which included videos, tweets, writings, and transcripts of speeches—all public information—which expose their radicalism, anti-Israelism, and, sometimes, anti-Semitism. These so-called “blacklists” are such databases as Canary MissionDiscover the NetworksCampus Watch, the AMCHA Initiative, and other similar organizations, all of which have as their intention to provide students, faculty, and others with information on the ideology, scholarship, speeches, and writing of radical professors and students.

These are individuals (and groups) who have very public records of pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activism and whose words and behavior have been cataloged so that the politicization of scholarship can be exposed, and students can avoid courses taught by professors with a predetermined and evident bias against Israel.

But even though the data included in these databases is gathered from the public expression of the individuals included in them, they are denounced as being insidious, reactionary, and reputationally dangerous to the individuals who are cataloged there, even though all of the information was gathered from publicly available sources. Nevertheless, when someone finds themselves included in Canary Mission, for instance, he or she is seemingly offended that their views are being widely exposed and their ideology recorded, despite the fact that they obviously felt comfortable enough to air their views in the first place.

Consider, for example, the particularly egregious case of this professed outrage at being outed at the University of Southern California, involving the vile Yasmeen Mashayekh, a student in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering who a group of some 60 USC faculty has accused of “ongoing open expressions of anti-Semitism and Zionophobia.”

What were some of the sentiments shared by the lovely Ms. Mashayekh, ironically, though possibly not coincidentally, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion senator in USC’s graduate student government? As cataloged on Canary Mission, on May 9, 2021, Mashayekh tweeted, “I want to kill every motherf**king zionist.” When Canary Mission responded to that odious tweet with one of their own, claiming that her tweet was “horrifying,” Mashayekh tweeted: “Oh no how horrifying that I want to kill my colonizer!!”

In June, Mashayekh tweeted, “Death to Israel and its b**ch the US.” And retweeted a tweet that read, “May i****l [Israel] burn to the ground. #SaveSilwan.” And in case there was any doubt about her feelings about the Jewish state, her June tweets included such tolerant and loving expressions as, “If you are not for the complete destruction of Israel and the occupation forces then you’re anti-Palestinian;” “Death to Israel;” and “Yes I f**king love hamas now stfu [shut the f**k up].”

Once Mashayekh’s tweets had been made public, there was understandable blowback and condemnation for her puerile and caustic comments, but to her supporters, those who shared similar attitudes about Israel, she was a victim, not a hateful perpetrator.  

And in keeping with her status as a crybully, Mashayekh, according to her defenders, was actually “an oppressed student who is being unfairly discriminated against for speaking on her people’s plight.” The actual perpetrator here? Not Mashayekh, her fellow Israel-haters claim, but “Canary Mission, an organization that systematically reveals the personal & private information of Palestinians and Black, Indigenous People of Color in an effort to launch targeted harassment campaigns against those who would dare to challenge colonial rule.”

In gathering and cataloging this data, however, neither the mentioned organizations nor Libs of TikTok furtively investigated the private lives of activists or campus radicals, nor did they hack into emails accounts, or take testimony from anonymous sources, or delve through association memberships, reading habits, or private writings without the individuals’ expectation that their expression would possibly be documented. Individuals who are on these databases were not spied upon by their fellow students nor were their courses videotaped furtively by students.

The findings — and this is the critical point that the Taylor Lorenz and critics of Canary Mission obviously ignore — are based on the public utterances, published works, and social media posts of LGBT activists, educators, and student radicals, behavior and speech they apparently had no problem with making public and for which they were not hesitant, at least initially, to take responsibility.

The deepest feelings, poet Marianne Moore once observed, emerge “not in silence, but restraint.” There’s a lesson there for those individuals who do not wish to see themselves on the Libs of TikTok or in Canary Mission’s database.

Challenging SJP Chicago’s Lies and Toxic Radicalism

In yet another revealing example of its hypocrisy and obtuseness when assessing the consequences of its own behavior, the University of Chicago’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was again whining about being victimized by ideological opponents.

What was SJP’s complaint this time? In a letter to the editor in the university’s newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, SJP expressed its displeasure with the fact that on May 23rd, “the David Horowitz Freedom Center plastered more than 5,000 leaflets on and around campus demonizing Palestinian and pro-Palestinian students.”

Employing its tired tactic of whining that any effort by SJP’s critics is motivated by a desire to shut down any support of Palestinian self-determination, the letter preposterously suggested that the leaflets were posted on campus solely “in order to muzzle and disparage pro-Palestinian activism . . . .”

More absurdly, SJP claimed that the Horowitz Center’s “work aims to censor and misrepresent our academic production and to create an environment of surveillance and fear surrounding scholarship about Palestine.”

One could make many claims about its role on the 200 or so campuses where SJP has chapters, but few would ever suggest that the toxic radicalism of the group—and the resulting effect it has on their respective campuses—amounts to “scholarship” or “academic production.” Perhaps SJP believes that by bringing perennially Jew-hating radicals like Rashid Khalidi to speak on the Chicago campus, one of the events included in the leaflet, they are promoting scholarship, but that is not the case.

When guest speakers accuse Israel of being the new incarnation of the Third Reich and when they malign and slander the Jewish state with accusations lacking any basis in fact or history, this is not, despite SJP’s contention, an example of “scholarship about Palestine”; rather, it is hatred disguised as debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

When Khalidi spoke, for example, according to the Horowitz leaflet, he “demonized Israel, accusing the Jewish state of ‘settler colonialism’ and ‘occupation,’ and claiming falsely that Israel attempts to terrify the Palestinians to achieve dominance rather than to ensure the nation’s safety: ‘I don’t think it’s security [for Israel that] fully describes accurately what is at stake here. What is at stake is actually dominance and hegemony when Israeli soldiers are kicking down doors and scaring children in the night . . . .’”

What is most revealing in SJP’s baleful letter to the editor is its inability to see how its complaint about the corrosive effect of the leaflet on the University’s community mirrors exactly the effect SJP has had for a decade or more on the campuses that have experienced the hostility and aggression of their pro-Palestinian activism. The leaflets, SJP suggested in its letter. “go so far as to incite hostility and hate against and within our community. They inhibit our capacity to work and study, to commune, to feel safe.”

It is not clear what SJP means when they refer to “our community,” but that community clearly does not include U Chicago’s Jewish students, who, like Jewish students and other supporters of Israel at other campuses around the country, have been ideologically assaulted by SJP in an unrelenting campaign of lies, slanders, and distortions of history and fact, boycott resolutions, and accusations against Israel of racism and apartheid as part of SJP’s campaign to malign and destroy the Jewish state. The group clearly could not care less whether Jewish students have a “capacity to work and study, to commune, to feel safe.”

In fact, as has been documented by the AMCHA Initiative and others who track anti-Semitism on campuses, BDS activity on a campus—and especially when orchestrated by SJP or other anti-Israel groups—frequently creates a hostile climate for Jewish students and often manifests itself as raw anti-Semitism. As one AMCHA report noted, “the consideration of anti-Israel divestment resolutions in student government or by the student body was strongly linked to a surge in anti-Semitic activity,” and campuses that have an SJP chapter have witnessed a higher incidence of anti-Semitic speech and expression as a direct result of its radicalism and activism.

In November 2021, for example, as the leaflet outlined, “SJP at U. Chicago published an art zine titled ‘Cheers to Intifada.’ The zine promoted terrorism against Israel and contained violent imagery including a graphic of two lit Molotov cocktails raised in a toast . . .The zine was also rife with anti-Semitism including an image of a pig wearing a policeman’s hat with a Jewish star on it. Poems in the publication promoted ancient blood libel tropes against Jews such as one describing a Jewish teenager who held Palestinians captive and had ‘animalistic lust yearning to rape bodies.’

SJP may consider this type of perverse, anti-Semitic, and genocidal propaganda to be “academic production” and “scholarship about Palestine,” but in a sane world, it represents a poisonous and hateful ideology in which fellow Jewish students are the enemies of good, are racists, support an apartheid state, deserve to be victims of an intifada which has as its objective to murder Jews wherever they are in the name of Palestinian self-determination. On no university campus, and certainly not at an institution with the reputation and quality as the University of Chicago, would this type of banal radicalism pass for scholarship, let alone acceptable academic discourse.

As they have on other campuses, SJP Chicago has also worked aggressively to promote BDS resolutions and to push a statement of solidarity for the Palestinian cause through its student government. “In June 2021,” the leaflet noted, “SJP published a lengthy statement calling on the College Council to ‘vote “NO” on the resolution to retract [the University Student Government’s] statement of solidarity and support for Palestine.’ SJP’s statement promoted Jew hatred and demonized Israel, calling campus supporters of the Jewish state ‘student body apartheid apologists,’ and denying Israel’s self-determination by calling for the ‘abolition of a violent political state [of Israel].’”

In April, at the behest of SJP, The Chicago Maroon, retracted an op-ed written by two students, “We Must Condemn the SJP’s Online Anti-Semitism,” who questioned SJP’s tactics and ideology.

On January 26th, as the op-ed by Melody Dias and Benjamin ZeBrack noted, SJP had posted on its Instagram page the shocking admonition, “DON’T TAKE SH*TTY ZIONIST CLASSES.” Students were asked to “Support the Palestinian movement for liberation by boycotting classes on Israel or those taught by Israeli fellows.” According to the SJP post, any students who enrolled in these classes would be “participating in a propaganda campaign that creates complicity in the continuation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine” and that, in its view, “Israeli-centered classes are designed to obscure Palestinian perspectives.”

Characteristic of their reaction to anyone who answers back to their corrosive activism, SJP was incensed that anyone had the gall to question their tactics and motives. Another post on the SJP Instagram account in response to the Dias-ZeBrack op-ed expressed the defective view often held by anti-Semites that “To frame this call as ‘anti-Jewish’ not only perpetuates the dangerous (and wholly false) conflation of Jewishness and Zionism, but also deliberately diverts attention from the ongoing ethnic cleansing that the israeli [sic] colony has been inflicting on Palestinian lands and peoples from its inception to the present.”

The widely-adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, as many know, stipulates that, in many instances, attacks on Zionism can be considered anti-Semitic, particularly when those attacks are attempts to deny Jewish self-determination or when Zionism is classified as a racist, oppressive endeavor, so despite SJP’s claim that the claim is both dangerous and wholly false, experts in these matters—and not biased, anti-Semitic ideologues—have determined that there is support for Dias and LeBrack’s views.

Nevertheless, SJP demanded of the Maroon’s editors, “in response to these offenses,” the “Immediate deletion of the article,” a “public apology issued by the Maroon to SJP UChicago and to Palestinian students for the dissemination of misinformation and the disregard of journalistic integrity and factual reporting,” and, most ominously, “a public recommitment to ensuring that all columns and articles abide by expected standards of accuracy and truth, particularly those written by Zionist authors or on behalf of Zionist organizations.” [Emphasis added.] In other words, SJP requested a separate standard of exclusionary journalistic ethics and practice when Israel, Zionism, and Jews are involved.

Astoundingly, in response to SJP’s absurd demands, two feckless editors, Kelly Hui and Elizabeth Winkler, not only deleted the offending op-ed but published a craven, apologetic editorial of their own in which they dissected the op-ed for its perceived factual inaccuracies and justified their decision by claiming that it was the op-ed written by the pro-Israel supporters which could be the source of campus enmity, not the original action of SJP in calling for a boycott of courses about Israel.

“We condemn the pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another,” they wrote, “and we deeply regret the extent to which the op-ed’s factual inaccuracies—which we should not have published—perpetuated such a harmful dynamic.” Of course, in addition to the editors’ outrageously inappropriate action in removing an opinion piece from The Chicago Maroon, written as a response to a campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel and Zionism by the chronically toxic activists of SJP, they compounded the offense by suggesting that sections of the op-ed contribute to “pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another.” No, actually, it was SJP’s poisonous attacks on anything Zionist on campus and its initial call for “shitty” Zionist courses to be boycotted that pit pro-Israel students against pro-Palestinians, not op-eds that correct misinformation or defend Israel.

Only on university campuses where perceived victims can attack their alleged oppressors with any calumny, untruth, slander, and allegation they choose—without repercussions—could a group like Students for Justice in Palestine continue to operate with impunity, attacking Jewish students and other supporters of Israel with impunity and creating a hostile campus climate in their radical wake as it does.

But SJP at Chicago clearly does not fully understand the notion of academic free speech: that the same opportunity they have to spout their hateful rhetoric and promote their toxic ideology is also enjoyed by the group’s ideological opponents.

When pro-Israel students, guest speakers, events, courses, or even leaflets distributed around campus seek to expose SJP’s true nature—with facts and examples as opposed to lies and narratives—SJP may be inconvenienced by having to finally defend its views in a robust and equitable marketplace of ideas, not its own echo chamber where its lies are never challenged and its toxic Jew-hatred is never named for what it is.

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Her Fellow Travelers

Instead of memorializing the Nakba, perhaps you should have learned from it.

On May 16th, you and some other members of The Squad, including Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, McCollum, and others, introduced a loathsome resolution, H. RES. 1123, which had as its purpose “Recognizing the Nakba and Palestinian refugees’ rights” and to “commemorate the Nakba,” the catastrophe you assign to Israel’s creation, “through official recognition and remembrance.” According to your baleful resolution, the Nakba not only took place at Israel’s founding “but [refers] to an ongoing process of Israel’s expropriation of Palestinian land and its dispossession of the Palestinian people that continues to this day.”

This resolution is yet another manifestation of your narcissistic victimology, a corrosive point of view in which the very creation and continued existence of Israel, according to you, is an ongoing tragedy because, in your contorted view, Israel’s “violence and war crimes are an ongoing and ever-present assault on the existence and humanity of the Palestinian people. The Israeli apartheid government’s ongoing ethnic cleansing seeks to degrade Palestinian humanity and break the will of the people to be free.”

Your resolution reiterates the historically inaccurate and delusional claim that Jews have no indigeneity to the territories that became current-day Israel, that all of historic Palestine is somehow “Palestinian land,” and that the millions of Palestinian refugees created by your people’s repeated rejection of offers of statehood—in 1937, 1947, 1967, 2000, and other occasions—is the sole reason that you continually look backward, wishing history had unfolded differently. As a result, you have allowed millions of Palestinians for decades to languish, wretched and stateless, in refugee camps—all the while blaming Israel for their circumstances and ignoring the fact that your leaders’ own bad decisions and truculence have resulted in this human tragedy.

Your irrational focus on the predations of Israel and its essential illegitimacy for a host of reasons you and your fellow bigots regularly trot out leads you to ignore any of the tragedy, loss, and suffering Israelis endured as a result of Arab aggression and the Palestinian’s refusal to ever acknowledge the Jewish state, starting with the War of Independence in 1948. Palestinians and their supporters continually describe how they wish to “liberate” Palestine and rid it of its annoying Jews. But your vision, of course, does not mean transforming Palestine into a democratic, open society where members of three major faiths can live freely and practice their religions openly. Liberating Palestine for you and your people would be more in keeping with the type of liberation that Transjordan’s Arab League effected when they burned and looted the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem in 1948; expelled and killed its hapless Jewish population; destroyed some 58 synagogues, many hundreds of years old; unearthed gravestones from the history-laden Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives and used them for latrine pavers; and barred any Jew from praying at the Western Wall or entering the Temple Mount. Remember, too, that in the war of Israel’s independence—a war begun by your Arab supporters to strangle the Jewish state at birth—Israel lost some 6000 of its citizens, one percent of its then-population (equivalent to the U.S. losing 3,300,000 lives in a conflict).

So, the Nakba which you launched and now complain you suffered—and continue to suffer—alone had Jewish victims as well.

The most delusional aspect is the resolution’s absurd call for the 5-6 million Palestinians who you consider to be refugees to return to their homes. In other words, as is characteristic of the Palestinian’s monomaniacal irredentism, rather than populate a new Palestinian state as was envisioned by the League of Nations and later the United Nations, you believe that Palestinian refugees (including their descendants) should return to present-day Israel, subsuming the Jewish state.

The demand for a right of return, a notion which Palestinians and your supporters refer to as “sacred” and an “enshrined” universal human right granted by UN resolutions and international law, in fact, has, as you as a government official should know, no legal or diplomatic standing at all, and is part of the propaganda campaign that is based on the thinking that if Israel cannot be eradicated by the Arabs though war, it can effectively be destroyed by forcing it to commit demographic suicide.       

In the first place, it uses the fraud you propagate that the Palestinians were “victimized” by the creation of Israel, that they were expelled from a land of “Palestine” where they were the indigenous people “from time immemorial,” as historian Joan Peters put it in her book of the same name.

More importantly, far from being either a “sacred” or, for that matter, legal right, the right of return is a one-sided concoction that deliberately misreads United Nations resolutions for political advantage, and conveniently embraces only those portions that fit the intent of Arabs to make good on their intent to “drive Israel into the sea.” In continually repeating the lie that they are victims of the “Zionist regime” and that they were expelled from a country of their own and condemned to unending refugee status, the Palestinians—and their enablers like you—have prolonged the myth of victimhood.

There is some irony in the fact that you Palestinians have repeatedly violated both the spirit and intent of UN resolution 194, that particular UN resolution containing a reference to the concept of ‘return’ to one’s country, although two key points are characteristically ignored by you and others pointing to this source as justification for asserting a legal claim. First, Resolution 194 was the product of the UN General Assembly and “is an expression of sentiment and carries no binding force whatsoever,” meaning that it is meant to make recommendations but not law. What it did suggest, however, was that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property . . . .”

That permission, as you conveniently see fit to ignore, is modified by two conditions —that the refugee wishes to return, and that he wishes to live at peace with his neighbors,” something which you people, even now, have clearly never seen fit to do, preferring to whine about Israel’s existence and the absence of Palestinian self-determination—something of your own making.

Legal scholars also point out that international law grants the right to leave or return to one’s country only to individuals, not as a collective right as you Palestinians claim. More importantly, no population of refugees has ever presumed that the right of return—if such a right even exists—could be claimed, not only by the original refugees but also by all of their descendants. The demand made by you in this resolution that the 6-7 million descendants of the original Palestinian refugees —children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren—be allowed to return to Israel, to homes they have never lived in or seen and which may or may not even exist any longer, is not only a delusional fantasy that will never be agreed to by Israel but has no validity in international law, especially since the refugees were never citizens of Israel in the first place.

And the drafters of the UN resolution were very careful to not specify which refugees were referenced there. You and your fellow travelers assume it described Arabs, but there is another significant aspect of the “refugee” problem from the 1940s that those demanding a right of return for Palestinian refugees conveniently forget: some 850,000 Jews, some of whom had lived in Arab lands for 1000 years, were expelled and all their wealth (estimated to be about ten times that of the Arab Palestinians) was confiscated in response to and as punishment for the creation of Israel.

As is typical of your analysis of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, all nuance and context are conspicuously absent in your discussion, and neither you nor other pro-Palestinians recognize the lost possessions, homes, property, and citizenships of Jews in 1948—itself a cultural, social, religious, and ethnic catastrophe of equal or greater proportion than the one you valorize. And, unlike the Palestinians, those 850,000 Jews did not languish as victims for generations in refugee camps and whine about a right of return, or reparations, or the injustices that had been done to them, choosing instead to settle in Israel or to the United States or elsewhere and move forward even as history had dealt them a catastrophic set of circumstances.

Of course, your resolution also completely omits the rather significant fact that The Arab-Israeli War of 1948 was initiated, not, as you claim, by random and murderous Zionist militias, but because of the attack on nascent Israel by five invading Arab armies, intent on driving every Jew into the sea and killing the rest in what they described as a glorious war of extermination. Your Nakba mourns the fact that those genocidal campaigns failed.

Had you and your people accepted United Nations Resolution 181, which would have created a Palestinian state at the same time the Jewish one was created, and not instead launched a war to destroy Israel altogether, you would now be celebrating 74 years of statehood instead of recalling the self-inflicted Nakba which is the actual source of the refugee problem. The real catastrophe is that Arab leaders, in their obsession to not acknowledge the Jewish sovereignty of Israel, preferred to create a refugee crisis and use it for decades as a moral cudgel with which to batter Israel. Why should the U.S. Congress now acknowledge and affirm the disastrous decisions made by your genocidal leaders who were, and are, so opposed to a Jewish sovereignty that they were willing to sacrifice generations of their own people rather than recognize and tolerate Israel next door?

In 2016, as you recall, you made a grotesque comment in a podcast in which you claimed that “There’s always kind of a calming feeling I tell folks when I think of the Holocaust . . . and the fact that it was my ancestors—Palestinians —” who did so “ in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews . . ,” reflecting your delusional belief, first, that Palestinians did anything to benefit Jews crawling out of the ashes of the Holocaust, and, second, that a Jewish connection to Palestine only began when European Jews began arriving after World War II. Jews had built a temple in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel and spiritual home of Judaism, over 1600 years before the ascent of Islam, and the area you inaccurately refer to as the West Bank comprises Judea and Samaria, named after Jews and where Jews have lived since biblical times. Contrary to your reckless and ahistorical claims of indigeneity, there was never a nation called Palestine, a people called Palestinians, or any Palestinian sovereignty that was recognized as having a unique language, culture, ethnic connection, government, constitution, or even history. But Jews have had an uninterrupted presence and attachment to Palestine and Israel for 3000 years, a point obvious to any sentient observer of history and fact, not someone, like you, who invents a narrative to advance your cause.

And when did the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem become Palestinian land? The answer is: never. In fact, when Israel acquired the West Bank, Gaza, and other territories in 1967 after being attacked by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, the Jewish state gained legally recognized title to those areas. Israel’s recapture of those territories in 1967 made the Jewish state what is referred to as the High Contracting Party of those territories, both because they were acquired in a defensive, not aggressive, war, and because they were part of the original Mandate and not previously under the sovereignty of any other High Contracting Party.

That means that when you and your fellow travelers hector Israel about the alleged illegality of Jewish “settlements” in Judea and Samaria, you are making claims that have no basis in fact or law. The more serious question for you is, why, of all people on earth, are Jews the only ones who are regularly denounced for living in a certain neighborhood, especially since it is land on which Jews have lived for millennia? Wars have consequences, and if you start a war over territory and lose it in that conflict, you cannot expect to dictate what the victor now does with that property. And the fact that Israel has repeatedly offered to relinquish its rights to the West Bank, as it did with Gaza, and give it to your people for your new state—and that all those offers were refused because it would mean the continued existence of Israel as a Jewish state—signals to the world that your obsession with the Nakba actually has more to do with genocidal Jew-hatred and bigotry than it does with Palestinian self-determination.

You may see the creation of Israel as a Nakba but that is not how it is seen by the 6.8 million Jews who live there or the twenty percent of its population of non-Jews who have more civil and human rights in Israel than they would in any surrounding Middle East country. You may feel there was immense tragedy and displeasure at a Jewish state’s creation, but while you were promoting another violent “Day of Rage” in the streets or your leaders were squandering, as they did in 2019, $343 million of foreign aid to pay terrorists who had murdered Jews and their the families gruesome bounties in a “pay to slay” program, Israel continued to build its explosive and innovative economy: in 2021, Israeli startups, for example, raised some $26 billion and that same year 57 Israeli companies went public, raising $4 billion in the process. Even with the horrors of their recent past in their rearview mirrors, Israelis move on with their lives, and have built a viable state in which innovation, freedom, democracy, and human rights are available to all.

“We can ignore reality,” observed Ayn Rand, “but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” You can promote and live by your Nakba notion—a fable that, in ignoring history and fact, absolves your people of all blame and ascribes all of it to Israel—or you can begin looking forward with confidence and optimism that the chains of your alleged oppression can only be thrown off by yourself.

But do not ask the American people to enshrine in law the self-delusion and Jew-hatred that has long impeded your own self-determination and made you victims of your own corrosive and hateful ideology.

Rewarding and Valorizing Jew Hatred at CUNY Law

The anti-Semitic crybully becomes the whining victim

As if to further confirm how CUNY Law School has become a cesspool of anti-Israel activism masked as social justice, its most radical and toxic student, Nerdeen Kiswani, was chosen to give one of the school’s commencement addresses on May 13th.

Kiswani is the perfect example of the radical who whines about being victimized for her aggressive activism, what The New Criterion’s Roger Kimball, has defined as a “crybully,” someone “who has weaponized his coveted status as a victim.”  

That behavior was on full display during Kiswani’s activist speech when she began by complaining about “facing a campaign of Zionist harassment by well-funded organizations with ties to the Israeli government and military on the basis of my Palestinian identity and organizing,” apparently oblivious to the fact that these organizations may have had good reason to respond to her unrelenting vitriol against Israel, Zionism, and Jews.

Kiswani, it will be remembered, was featured in a provocative 2020 TikTok video when she was a second-year student at CUNY law school, one of the many examples of her long record of toxic activism.

In the video, Kiswani is seen attempting to light on fire an IDF-emblazoned sweatshirt worn by an individual sitting with her, expressing her hatred for the IDF and the nation it defends—a loathing that apparently animates Ms. Kiswani’s life, since she was fully engaged as the former vice president and president of the virulent student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Hunter College and at the College of Staten Island (CSI), City of New York University (CUNY). She is also the chairperson of Within Our Lifetime (WOL), an anti-Israel activist group in New York City, where, at one repellant rally, she called on supporters to “globalize the Intifada, from New York to Palestine;” in other words, to murder Jews everywhere in the name of Palestinian self-determination.

Canary Mission, a website that tracks and catalogs the anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism of individuals and organizations and compiles online dossiers on them, has a voluminous file on Kiswani, an individual, it notes, who has “spread hatred of America, incited hatred against pro-Israel donors, promoted hatred of Israel and demonized Zionism,” “glorified intifada, honored leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group and expressed support for other terrorists in her WOL activism.” Kiswani, the Canary Mission dossier also notes, “has opposed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism and is a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.”

And, as evidenced by the TikTok video clip, Kiswani is perfectly willing to use and celebrate violence against Israeli Jews. In fact, when in 2017 Palestinian terrorists killed four people and injured 17 others by ramming them with a vehicle on a Jerusalem promenade, Kiswani lauded and encouraged the celebration of the murders, ghoulishly noting that “Palestinians in Palestine are giving out sweets in celebration. I will not hide from this. I will not be ashamed or embarrassed by this. These celebratory actions are what keep the resistance moving forward, they are what keep it alive.”

No university, and certainly not an institution like CUNY, engulfed as it is in woke activism, would tolerate a white supremacist student group that purported to exist only to promote pride in being white but whose activities wholly involved agitating against minorities, staging Black Racism Week events, inviting white racist speakers to campus to trumpet the moral defects of minorities in America, and regularly yelling out at rallies and elsewhere such charming chants as, “send them back to Africa” or “string them up, string them up,” a call to lynch and murder blacks. No anti-gay or anti-Muslim group would ever be allowed on an American campus either. And that same university would never compound the moral harm of this group’s activism by inviting its leader to speak as the representative of its student body at graduation events.

But the woke anti-Semites in the audience for Kiswani’s speech regularly interrupted her talk with cheers and applause, obviously in thrall with her lofty, but empty, nod to social justice. Kiswani trumpeted that she embraced all her CUNY fellow travelers who are “fighting for black, Latinx, indigenous, Palestinian liberation and for the freedom of all people living under colonial domination, imperialism, and white supremacist structures both around the world and here in the U.S.,” signaling that only oppressed victims are worthy of support, but clearly not Jews.

And since Kiswani has repeatedly called for the “liberation” of Palestine (which, not coincidentally, includes present-day Israel), the continuation of an Intifada, and the eventual extirpation of the Jewish state, it is clear that any Jewish student at CUNY or anyone who supports Israel is not part of this high-minded progressive coalition of woke social justice warriors.

The issue here is not whether or not Kiswani has the freedom of speech to utter her calumnies against Israel Zionism and Jews. The fact that she has done so, publicly and promiscuously, for years and has never been censured or censored for it by the CUNY administration is evidence that, at least on her campus, she enjoys unrestricted First Amendment rights. But it is one thing to allow the toxic rants of a student activist in her role as a member of different groups and organizations on and off campus and another thing altogether to allow her to promote her toxic ideology as a featured speaker at that institution’s graduation exercise. No one from CUNY’s administration or faculty seems to have vocally denounced the choice of Kiswani or her speech itself. No one in the audience tried to shout her down, heckle her, or disrupt the speech.

That was not the case, however, in 2018, when legal scholar Josh Blackman was invited by the Law School’s Federalist Society to lecture on free speech, and the woke law students, claiming Blackman was a racist and white supremacist based on some of his writings, discourteously and in violation of CUNY’s own code of conduct, tried to shut down and aggressively disrupted his event. No such opposition from fellow law students or faculty was evident at Kiswani’s speech.

Most troubling, of course, is that Kiswani was chosen, not in spite of her radical speech and behavior—much of it blatantly anti-Semitic–but precisely because of it. CUNY Law School has collectively enlisted itself in an anti-Israel campaign, complete with the incessant slanders, libels, and lies about the Jewish state. Kiswani acknowledged as much when she noted that “we’ve been able to pass a BDS resolution through student government which CUNY faculty just officially endorsed yesterday,” not to mention the School’s “statement standing with the freedom of speech of those fighting for Palestinian liberation.”

One has to wonder if the CUNY community fully comprehends what “Palestinian liberation” means and how such a catastrophic and genocidal event would affect the 6.8 million Israeli Jews who live there now were the delusional fantasies of BDS proponents realized and “Palestine” was purged of its pesky Jews as part of Palestinian self-determination.

On this single global issue and for this one group of perceived victims—the Palestinians—the entire law school has committed itself to stand in solidarity? That it supports “resistance” by the Palestinians, a euphemistic term for terrorism against Jews? That it deems Zionism to be racism? That Israel is an illegitimate, colonial outpost created by imperialism and maintained through apartheid and the oppression of a wholly innocent indigenous people who only seek peace? Those notions comprise the ideology of the BDS movement and certainly WOL’s tenets are just as extreme and lethal.

That CUNY stands by and thinks that Kiswani and her fellow students are somehow reflecting well on the institution because they purport to be acting on behalf of the downtrodden does not erase the fact that their ideology is based on one in which the well-being of Jews is inconsequential and the continued existence of the Jewish state is an irritating detail that can be cured by a “globalized Intifada” in which Israelis are slaughtered and their state eliminated once and for all.

When you allow a speaker at a graduation ceremony to bray about being victimized by those who have a problem with this incendiary and anti-Semitic rhetoric and behavior, you have stopped being a place where true debate and reason prevail. You have created, instead, an echo chamber in which like-minded, misguided radical activists have corrupted the purpose on which a university is based. That is not what a university should do or be. And that is not a place where the country’s future lawyers should be taught.

A university should, and must, have the right and responsibility to its respective community to decide which student groups have a legitimate and valid mission and which are animated by extremist ideology and a penchant for spreading bigotry, ethnic hatred, and misreading of history and facts.

And by allowing a bigoted, anti-Semitic activist to speak on behalf of an entire professional school at a public university is a profound betrayal of higher education’s values and purpose.

Airbrushing Jews Out of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount

The Arab’s Orwellian ideological and theological war against history

Last week in Jerusalem, as Jews celebrated Passover and Muslims observed Ramadan, violent images were broadcast of Palestinian thugs vandalizing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and hurling Molotov cocktails, stones, and fireworks on the Temple Mount itself and at Jews praying at the Western Wall.

The motivation behind the Arab rage? Initially, false rumors were promoted that settlers were planning to make animal sacrifices, a claim that Ofir Gendelman, spokesperson to the Arab media in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, stressed was false and, in fact, had been promoted by Hamas for the express purpose of inciting terror,

But that spurious charge against Israelis was merely a new variant of the long-standing accusation made against Jews by Arabs that dastardly Jews were plotting to destroy the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque, a baseless but recurring charge that Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai referred to as the “Al-Aksa [sic] Is in Danger” libel. In fact, as early as the 1920s, when Amin al-Husseini, the Nazi-loving Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, rallied Muslims with accusations that Jews intended to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and rebuild the Jewish Temple, Arabs have attempted to ignore and obscure any Jewish connection to the site and have sought to “liberate” purported Muslim holy places from the grip of the occupying Zionists.

While the current round of violence was predictably blamed on Israel, in fact, as with previous clashes on the Temple Mount, the violence and rioting were neither random nor pointless and had both a strategic and tactical purpose—to degrade the Jewish claim to Jerusalem and all of Palestine by erasing the Jewish identity, history, and religious significance of the Temple Mount and Islamicizing the entire site through physical and spiritual control.

This was the precise purpose behind the 2016 effort by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) vote to approve a resolution stripping the Temple Mount and Western Wall of its Jewish identity, and elevating a Muslim claim to this site central to Judaism. The hallucinatory and willfully delusional vote from Jew-hating nations in the thralls of Palestinianism, of course, was not surprising, given the U.N.’s promiscuous bias and historical inversions when assessing the perceived shortcomings of Israel.

The contortions of history and the delusionary fables inherent in the UNESCO resolution are of course shared with Palestinian leadership, as evidenced by comments made at the time on official PA TV by Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious and Islamic Affairs. “Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian land. Jerusalem is the property of the Palestinians,” he said.  “. . . UNESCO’s resolution confirms . . . that Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque in particular, and the Al-Buraq Wall and the Al-Buraq plaza are all purely Islamic and Palestinian assets and no one has the right to be our partner in that. No one has the right. We are the owners and we have the right to it.” 

Al-Buraq Wall, of course, is the Arabic name for the Western Wall and Al-Buraq plaza refers to the entire 35-acre Temple Mount, so in case anyone had any doubt about who the Palestinians and their enablers consider the rightful owners of the Temple Mount and all of its Jewish elements and structures, statements like these reveal that Muslim authorities do not consider any part of the Temple Mount to be Jewish, nor should Jews even be allowed near or on it. This sentiment, of course, is part of the willful disbelief in and the denial of the historical evidence of the Jewish roots of both the Temple Mount and the entire land that became Israel, reflected in the corrosive words of Article 11 of the Hamas Charter which adamantly, though mendaciously proclaims that “The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.” 

It is no coincidence that the Dome of the Rock was built on top of Judaism’s most sacred place—indeed, 1692 years after the construction of the First Temple—a temporal act of replacing and subsuming the very spirit of Judaism and signaling the ascendancy and domination of Islam.

The other aspect of Muslim ownership and control of the Temple Mount is the recurring fiction about Jews invading, storming, and “defiling” (in the words of Mahmoud Abbas) what is now perceived to be an Islamic holy space, hence the calls to protect the Al-Aqsa from attack and desecration by Zionist settlers and “occupation forces.”  A March 23rd news story on Palestinian Authority TV, for example, revealed that weeks before the recent violent clashes, Palestinian religious figures were already exhorting their flocks to protect Al-Aqsa from the perfidious Jews celebrating Passover who were likely to “storm” the sacred grounds during Ramadan, that, once again, their mosque was in danger of attack.

“[PA] Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories and blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher Sheikh Muhammad Hussein,” the broadcast reported, “warned against the occupation authorities continuing to give permission to groups of extremist settlers to invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The grand mufti said that the concerns that the occupation authorities are spreading . . . are nothing but a prelude to their cunning intentions that they will carry out against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and he warned of the consequences of these attacks.” [Emphasis added.]

It is unsurprising that Palestinian religious leaders would rail against a Jewish presence in what is perceived to be holy Muslim territory. More troubling was an inciteful statement issued on April 13th by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), a group of some 40 organizations that promoted the lie that, “The occupation’s armed forces and the flocks of its settlers have mobilized their falsehood and prepared their cavalry, infantry and evil to carry out a large scale storming of the sacred Aqsa mosque during the so-called Passover . . . in a clear attempt to impose an extremely dangerous new reality there,” in other words, to alter the status quo which denies Jews of almost all rights to visit or pray anywhere on the Temple Mount.

“The scholars stress that we are witnessing an extremely dangerous and advanced crime.,” the statement cautioned. “These kinds of planned storming events are meant to reinforce the objectives of the Zionist enemy in turning the sacred Al-Aqsa mosque [sic] into a legitimate right for the Zionists . . . one of the ugliest Zionist attempts to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque.” [Emphasis added]

The tendentious statement also reasserted the oft-repeated claim that Jews have absolutely no connection or right to any portion of the Temple Mount—ignoring history and fact—and that the entirety of the property is sacred Muslim ground.

“The sacred Al-Aqsa mosque,” the statement preposterously asserted, “including all of its sections, buildings, walls, and fences, and what is above it and beneath it, belongs exclusively to the Muslims, and that any attack on it or on any part of it is considered an attack on the third most sacred place for all Muslims . . . .” [Emphasis added] More troubling was the statement’s direct appeal for violence and aggression against Jews to protect Al-Aqsa, suggesting that “it is an obligation incumbent upon the entire ummah to march forth and act within the available resources to stop this criminal aggression.”

And most dangerously, coming as it was from a group of purported scholars, was the language of the statement that called for intifada and the murder, if necessary, of Jews attempting to visit the holiest site of their faith. Specifically, the purported scholars called “on all the sons of the Palestinian nation who have been standing guard and waging jihad in the occupied territories of 1948 and in the West Bank, revealing with this language that they believe that even current-day Israel, “the occupied territories of 1948,” is Muslim territory and that Jews, the sons of apes and pigs, have no legal, moral, or spiritual claim to any part of Palestine.

If Muslims consider the entirety of the Al-Aqsa compound, al-Haram al-Sharif, to be holy and sacred then they are clearly compromising their faith and reverence by using the mosque as a staging ground for rock-throwing, hurling Molotov cocktails, lighting fires, and other incitement to draw in the Israeli forces who are compelled by this disorder to restore calm. And when Muslim youths shower Jewish civilians praying at the Western Wall because they refuse to acknowledge Judaism’s 3000 year-long connection to the site and because they will not accommodate any other faith anywhere on the Temple Mount, they cannot then complain when the IDF is called on to forcibly repress this riotous, undignified, and criminal rioting. Predictably, however, the world press only reported the aggression of the IDF in suppressing violence in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, minimizing or ignoring altogether the unhinged violence and destruction being carried out by masked psychopaths willing to desecrate their own holy places in the most current jihad against the pernicious and cunning Jews.

Dore Gold, Israel’s UN ambassador from 1997 to 1999, noted in his bookThe Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City, that the sinister process aimed at establishing a spiritual as well as a political presence in Jerusalem for Islam, while simultaneously diminishing Jewish historical links to the city, has been underway for some time now.

Gold believed this trend began at the 2000 Camp David meetings when Yasser Arafat first stated publicly his breathtaking belief that there had never been a Jewish Temple at the site of the Temple Mount. Arafat, wrote Gold, thereby tossed “a stone of historical lies into a lake and its ripples spread all over the Middle East. ‘Temple Denial’ became a common theme at seminars in the UAE or in Jordan in the years that followed. European professors joined this anti-biblical trend.”

Ever since Camp David, the Palestinians have been relentless in creating a false impression of how important Jerusalem is to them, while at the same time they have de-Judaized Jerusalem and tried to obscure the Jewish relationship with and continuing presence in the holy city, something Middle East scholar Martin Kramer has called their desire to effect “a reversal of history.”

The Arab world’s own complicity in playing fast and loose with history, and obscuring the actual “facts on the ground” in an attempt to create a historical narrative conforming to a political agenda, makes the Palestinians’ accusations against Jews bent on the undermining of Muslim and Christian holy sites all the more disingenuous. In yet another example of “turnspeak,” the Arab world has accused Israel of the misdeeds, lies about history, and destruction of nationhood that they themselves are committing.

It is part of a relentless and continuing effort to delegitimize Israel and finally eliminate it through a false historical narrative that is repeated in Palestinian schoolbooks, in sermons, in the Arab press, in Middle Eastern study centers at universities, and in the politicized scholarship and dialogue generated by Israel-haters, anti-Semites, and Palestinian apologists around the world, something columnist Shragai has aptly called a “tissue of lies.”

Bulldozing Debate About the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Last week, as Palestinian psychopaths murdered three more innocent Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv in an escalating campaign of terror, activist students at two American universities voted on repulsive resolutions to urge their respective universities to divest from companies doing business with Israel.

On April 5th, the undergraduate student government at Ohio State University passed what it categorized as an “emergency resolution,” asking the university to divest from Hewlett Packard and Caterpillar, Inc., and claiming that “by investing in such companies, The Ohio State University implicitly condones and profits from the decisions and actions of these companies, and, as such, becomes guilty by association . . , including, but certainly not limited to, the killing of innocent civilians.”

At Princeton University,  the Princeton Committee on Palestine (PCP) sponsored “Referendum Resolution 2-2022” that does not, like the Ohio State vote, include Hewlett Packard as a target of divestment but similarly calls on Princeton to “immediately halt usage of all Caterpillar machinery in all ongoing campus construction projects given the violent role that Caterpillar machinery has played in the mass demolition of Palestinian homes, the murder of Palestinians and other innocent people, and the promotion of the prison-industrial complex (among other atrocities).”

The Princeton Committee on Palestine is the University’s own version of the toxic Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the rabidly anti-Israel student group responsible for most of the campus activism against the Jewish state. So, it is no surprise that this referendum is peppered with the counter-factual, demonizing language of social justice, oppression, victimization, and Jew-hatred.

“Caterpillar is one of the largest construction manufacturing companies in the world,” the referendum reads, “and its machinery is routinely used for violent, inhumane, and despicable purposes.” Not coincidentally, these activists have specifically targeted Caterpillar because the company “is listed as one of the only targeted construction companies in the national Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” a toxic and ongoing campaign against Israel that student groups such as PCP promote as part of the vilification and demonization of Israel.

The referendum proposes “that the undergraduates call on the Princeton University administration to immediately and permanently halt usage of Caterpillar manufacturing equipment in every ongoing University construction project,” but it is unclear how prohibiting Caterpillar machinery from moving dirt on the bucolic Princeton campus will improve the daily lives of Palestinians and help them in their purported quest for self-determination and statehood.

It is obvious that these virtue-signaling students can easily live in a world without heavy machinery; they are less likely, for instance, to call for divestment and a ban on Israeli-developed technology used in their cell phones and computers, but that type of activism requires a genuine commitment and personal suffering that students and faculty in the safe and comfortable confines of a university lounge would rather avoid.

More importantly, in almost every instance when students have asked university leadership to divest from companies doing business with Israel, or to boycott Israeli products, or even to institute an academic boycott that would bar Israeli scholars from contributing to or participating in research, teaching, and publishing with their American counterparts, administrators have politely, but firmly, refused to participate.

So, if Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber decides not to ban Caterpillar equipment to be used for ongoing work on his campus, will the anti-Israel group’s work to push for divestment have been futile? Not exactly, which is the precise point. In the end, anti-Israel activists do not really care if a call to boycott or divest is successfully initiated, or if Israeli scholars are purged from academia, or if Caterpillar tractors are banned from the Princeton campus. What is important, what is successfully achieved in each of these tactical assaults as part of the cognitive war against Israel is that activist students have yet another opportunity to publicly catalog the long list of alleged offenses being committed by the Jewish state,

At Princeton, even woke Jewish students got in the act by writing an opinion piece in The Daily Princetonian where they used the “as Jews” approach to supporting Palestinian solidarity while joining the anti-Israel chorus of the usual suspects who drive and sponsor the BDS campaign.

Referring to themselves as the Alliance of Jewish Progressives, the authors of the noxious piece disingenuously used their Jewishness as a cover for some of the allegations from critics of the referendum who noted that, as has been documented by the AMCHA Initiative and others who track anti-Semitism on campuses, BDS activity on a campus—and especially when orchestrated by SJP or other anti-Israel groups—frequently creates a hostile climate for Jewish students and often manifests itself as raw anti-Semitism. In fact, as one AMCHA report noted, “the consideration of anti-Israel divestment resolutions in student government or by the student body was strongly linked to a surge in antisemitic activity.”

But these virtue-signaling Jewish students would have none of that. Knowing that critics of the referendum understand that such campaigns are based on and inspire anti-Semitism because they target only Israel and hold Israel to a standard not demanded of other countries who behave even more poorly, the Jewish progressives proclaimed, defensively, that they “reject the idea that the PCP referendum is motivated by antisemitism or is itself antisemitic. Criticisms of the State of Israel, including anti-Zionism and the BDS movement, are not inherently antisemitic. Nor is solidarity with the Palestinian people.” But when Israel-haters, as these students did, contend that companies like Caterpillar “are complicit in racist, settler-colonial violence,” they expose their naïve and biased view that Israel is somehow illegitimate, that it is nothing more than a colonial outpost of some European country that has been settled and occupied by racist oppressors who brutally suppress Palestinian self-determination.

More serious is the fact that these self-identified Jewish progressives purport to be more concerned about the Palestinian cause than they are about protecting their fellow Jewish students from harassment and invective for their support of Zionism and Israel. “We do not believe that advocating for Palestinian liberation is a threat to Jewish safety,” they wrote, suggesting, contrary to evidence, that campaigns in support of the Palestinian cause do not increase the likelihood of anti-Semitic behavior or expression, “nor do we believe that Jewish safety is dependent upon Palestinian dispossession.”

Of course, anti-Israel activism on campuses like Princeton is not actually about helping the Palestinians avoid “dispossession,” whatever that means, It is not designed to help the Palestinians moderate their violence toward Israeli Jewish civilians; to end incitement; to encourage the Palestinians to not teach their children to loathe and wish to kill Jews from the time they are in kindergarten; to accept the frequent offers of statehood that they have repeatedly rejected; or to urge the Palestinian leadership to abandon their maximalist demands and give up the fantasy that the established and viable state of Israel will somehow be extirpated and that Palestine will be liberated, will be free. No, being pro-Palestinian on campus, by definition, only means being anti-Israel, relentlessly campaigning against the Jewish state and proclaiming its many alleged predations, and the BDS movement is the core tactic by which that activism manifests itself.

Referendums like the present Princeton divestment example are yet another cognitive assault against Israel, with activists not really caring one way or another whether a university divests from a company doing business with Israel, or an Israeli academic is barred from teaching in the United States, or CUNY School of Law student activists encourage their peers to “Demand that Zionist professors are not allowed on your campus” and to “Demand that Zionist students are not in spaces where Palestinian students are.”

In their fantasy world where social justice is realized, no Caterpillar bulldozers will exist, Palestine will be liberated, and Israel will disappear, but, absent that, their loathing of Israel and Zionism is so pervasive and fundamental to their existence that it is emotionally and morally satisfying for them merely to prolong their campaign of slanders, libels, and lies about Israel and its supporters, regardless of how this activism affects Jewish students who may or may not even support or care about Israel.

“We reject the idea that Jewish safety must come at the cost of Palestinian freedom,” the Jewish progressives cavalierly announced, but that view assumes that Palestinian freedom can only evolve through a process by which Jews are maligned and attacked for their support of Israel, that Palestinian self-determination itself requires a degrading and elimination of Jewish self-determination.

Roughly a quarter of Caterpillar’s $5 billion annual revenue is earned in Asia, with China being the largest portion of that market segment. Had the sponsors of this bigoted referendum included China’s use of Caterpillar machinery in the oppression of its Uyghur Muslims who are imprisoned, subjected to forced labor, and oppressed in concentration camps, or the company’s sales to other despotic regimes and nations, then it might indicate that it was proposed out of goodwill and actual concern for human rights. But the fact that the sponsor specified the anti-Semitic BDS campaign as one of the justifications for the referendum reveals that this actually has little to do with Caterpillar and everything to do with a targeted, poisonous animus toward the Jewish state.

Two Princeton students, both members of the pro-Israel group Tigers for Israel, wrote an insightful opinion piece in The Daily Princetonian concerning the referendum in which they called on their fellow students to find alternate ways to debate the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. “Instead of supporting a resolution that is rooted within a bigoted global movement,” they wrote, “we ought to cultivate a Princeton campus where all students can safely cherish their identities and express their sentiments; where we collectively engage in a discourse free of hostility and intimidation; and where we sustain a positive environment for ourselves and future generations of Princeton students.”

Progressive profess to be tolerant, wise, and morally generous, but in their activism on behalf of the long-beleaguered Palestinians, they have revealed that while they purport to seek justice in Palestine, it is only justice for the Palestinians. For Jews, either on the Princeton campus or in Israel, there is no concern whatsoever, and if Jews must suffer and be threatened in pursuit of Palestinian self-determination, that is a price progressives and Jew-hating activists are quite willing to let them pay.

Suppressing Pro-Israel Views at the University of Chicago

The University’s newspaper removes an op-ed challenging a noxious boycott request by anti-Israel radicals

The suppression of pro-Israel views on campus has been a troubling development in the ongoing cognitive war against Israel. Now, the silencing of pro-Israel voices even appears in college newspapers. The McGill Daily, as one troubling example, has a long-standing, publicly announced policy of never publishing pro-Israel content in its pages, deeming it to be racist or oppressive in its support of the Jewish state.

This week, the University of Chicago’s student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon, followed that same ignoble path by violating journalistic and free speech ideals in retracting an op-ed written by two students, “We Must Condemn the SJP’s Online Anti-Semitism,” who questioned the tactics and ideology of members of the University’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a perennially toxic and corrosive anti-Israel group of radicals.

On January 26th, as the op-ed by Melody Dias and Benjamin ZeBrack noted, SJP had posted on its Instagram page the shocking admonition, “DON’T TAKE SH*TTY ZIONIST CLASSES.” Students were asked to “Support the Palestinian movement for liberation by boycotting classes on Israel or those taught by Israeli fellows.” According to the SJP post, any students who enrolled in these classes would be “participating in a propaganda campaign that creates complicity in the continuation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine” and that, in its view, “Israeli-centered classes are designed to obscure Palestinian perspectives.”

Dias and ZeBrack made a number of accusations against SJP in their now-deleted op-ed, including their opinions that SJP posted the inflammatory post on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day as an insensitive, even cruel tactic; that asking their fellow students to boycott three particular classes about Israel and Zionism “taught specifically by Israeli fellows is xenophobic as Israelis cannot change their nationality, and this post demonizes that nationality by declaring all courses taught by someone affiliated with the nation as propaganda;” and, they noted, that “all courses listed are explicitly within the University’s Jewish Studies center. This furthers the trope that Jewish courses and professors work to contribute to propaganda for Israel, which is a blatantly false narrative.”

The two authors also suggested that while the University “prides itself on its free speech policy . . ,  this SJP post actively encourages students to drop such classes, hence discouraging educational freedom. This also violates the University’s discrimination and harassment policies, as the Israeli faculty are directly discriminated against. As such, the Jewish student community is indirectly discriminated against.”

Characteristic of their reaction to anyone who answers back to their corrosive activism, SJP was incensed that anyone had the gall to question their tactics and motives. Another post on the SJP Instagram account in response to the Dias-ZeBrack op-ed by SJP expressed the defective view often held by anti-Semites that “To frame this call as ‘anti-Jewish’ not only perpetuates the dangerous (and wholly false) conflation of Jewishness and Zionism, but also deliberately diverts attention from the ongoing ethnic cleansing that the israeli [sic] colony has been inflicting on Palestinian lands and peoples from its inception to the present.”

The widely-adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, as many know, stipulates that, in many instances, attacks on Zionism can be considered anti-Semitic, particularly when those attacks are attempts to deny Jewish self-determination or when Zionism is classified as a racist, oppressive endeavor, so despite SJP’s claim here that the claim is both dangerous and wholly false, experts in these matters—and not biased, anti-Semitic ideologues—have determined that there is support for Dias and LeBrack’s views.

Nevertheless, SJP demanded of the Maroon’s editors, “in response to these offenses,” the “Immediate deletion of the article,” a “public apology issued by the Maroon to SJP UChicago and to Palestinian students for the dissemination of misinformation and the disregard of journalistic integrity and factual reporting,” and, most ominously, “a public recommitment to ensuring that all columns and articles abide by expected standards of accuracy and truth, particularly those written by Zionist authors or on behalf of Zionist organizations.” [Emphasis added.] In other words, SJP requested a separate standard of exclusionary journalistic ethics and practice when Israel, Zionism, and Jews are involved.

Astoundingly, in response to SJP’s absurd demands, two feckless editors, Kelly Hui and Elizabeth Winkler, not only deleted the offending op-ed but published a craven, apologetic editorial of their own in which they dissected the op-ed for its perceived factual inaccuracies and justified their decision by claiming that it was the op-ed written by the pro-Israel supporters which could be the source of campus enmity, not the original action of SJP in calling for a boycott of courses about Israel.

“We condemn the pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another,” they wrote, “and we deeply regret the extent to which the op-ed’s factual inaccuracies—which we should not have published—perpetuated such a harmful dynamic.” Of course, in addition to the editors’ outrageously inappropriate action in removing an opinion piece from The Chicago Maroon, written as a response to a campaign of demonization and delegitimization of Israel and Zionism by the chronically toxic activists of SJP, they compounded the offense by suggesting that sections of the op-ed contribute to “pitting of Jewish and Palestinian students against one another.” No, actually, it is SJP’s poisonous attacks on anything Zionist on campus and its initial call for “shitty” Zionist courses to be boycotted that pit pro-Israel students against pro-Palestinians, not op-eds that correct misinformation or defend Israel.

A careful and educated editor could go through SJP’s writing and find a litany of factual inaccuracies, distortions of history and fact, and pure propaganda meant to slander the Jewish state. Why have the editors not scanned the writing of SJP supporters for such counter-factual terms as “settler-colonial regime,” “apartheid,” “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” racism, or “the liberation of Palestine,” terms which are inaccurate, inflammatory, and part of a false narrative that inspires hatred of Israel, Zionism, and, often, Jews? If accuracy is now going to be the Maroon’s journalistic litmus test for op-eds, then both sides of the argument need to be judged by the same yardstick, not, as SJP has requested, “particularly those written by Zionist authors or on behalf of Zionist organizations.”  

It is a profoundly troubling notion that college newspaper editors now embrace the view that pro-Israel views are somehow immoral, oppressive, indefensible, even racist at their core and should be suppressed and that pro-Palestinian ideology—even when it is corrosive, counter-factual, and sometimes anti-Semitic—is viable and can be promoted. The entire pro-Palestine campaign against the Jewish state, of course, is defined by its created narrative, a way of assessing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through the use of feelings, emotional reactions, assumptions, and lies, not facts. That is the very reason that SJP, and other anti-Israel groups and individuals, do not wish to defend their calumnies about Israel with actual debate and a recitation of facts and history. Instead, they prefer to attack, as happened here, Israeli scholars and courses about Israel, not by deconstructing them for factual errors but by promoting their false narrative about ethnic cleansing, the occupation of Palestinian land, settler colonialism, genocide, and the unending oppression of an indigenous people—the key themes in anti-Israel ideology.

The annotations SJP unhelpfully included in the course descriptions for the three courses they asked the fellow students to boycott indicate how tendentious and arrogant they are in second-guessing the faculty and academic committees who created and approved these courses—comprised of scholars far more educated and wiser than the activist brats of SJP.

The description for the “Gender Relations in Israel” course taught by Meital Pinto, for example, reads that “Israel does not separate between religion and state, family law in Israel is largely influenced by religious patriarchal norms,” but the SJP notes add that “Prof. Pinto makes it seem as if patriarchy occurs within a narrow scope-caused by religious laws. Israel is patriarchal because it is a colonial apartheid state.” While the course will discuss the different aspects of sexuality and gender in Israeli society, SJP sees no purpose in that discussion since it already has decided Israel’s true nature. “Contradictions arise because israel [sic] uses a propaganda technique called ‘pinkwashing’ which exploits queer rights to hide its occupation and apartheid practices behind an image of progressiveness,” SJP unhelpfully and fallaciously notes. While the course description promises to “explore ways in which [members of the LGBT community] act creatively to affect social change, and the projects and organizations they form to combat gender prejudice and discrimination,” the SJP annotation claims that this ambition is futile “because they exclude queer palestinians [sic], and operate within a colonial system of racism and apartheid. queer palestinian [sic] representation within “Israeli [sic]” society is not liberatory —the dismantlement of israeli [sic] occupation and apartheid is.”

The critical annotations of the course taught by Stephanie Kraver, “Narrating Israel and Palestine through Literature and Film,” receives a similar critique. While the course intends to engage “with an array of literary and cinematic depictions throughout the quarter [and] to go beyond stereotypes,” the SJP annotations suggested that the description obscures “Israeli settler colonialism, the erasure and demonization of Palestinian voices, and theft of Palestinian land and livelihood,” and that “the Israeli experience is necessarily defined by the colonization and disposession [sic] of Palestinians.”

Professor Pinto’s other class, “Multiculturalism in Israel,” is similarly demeaned. While the purpose of the course is to “review different definitions of terms such as ‘multiculturalism,’ ‘multicultural state,’ ‘liberal state,’ ‘cultural rights,’” SJP instead deems Israel to be “a society founded on racist settler colonial principles, ethnic cleansing, and the attempted erasure of both Palestinian people and their political rights and identity such as the extent to which diversity should be accommodated.” In addition, SJP claimed in its comments, “Zionism has always worked to destroy the Indigenous diversity of Palestine in favor of the violent establishment of the Israeli state, which openly considers itself ‘the nation state of the Jewish people.’”

SJP and other anti-Israel activists on campuses would prefer, of course, that nothing that might be construed as pro-Israel ever be uttered or taught or written about on campus. The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once quipped that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” something SJP has yet to realize or comprehend. They are certainly permitted to have their own version of history and their own narrative about the Israeli-Palestinian debate, but people as clever, and even more clever, than they also have their own narratives, facts, and set of truths. And both should be, and must be, heard, both in the editorial pages of The Chicago Maroon and elsewhere.

Ironically, it was the University of Chicago that published a seminal set of guidelines for university free speech, the 2014 “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression,”often referred to as the Chicago Principles. Perhaps the Maroon’s editors should read them again before they decide to suppress the views of any campus group or individuals in the interest of protecting competing thought and expression.

“In a word,” the report read, “the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate or deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.”

The Chicago Maroon editors might want to review those words.