Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Academic Left’s Hatred of Israel

From Real Clear Politics an essay about the academic left and its hatred of the state of Israel.
What has happened on campus, aside from the well-documented suppression of pro-Israel views, is the formation of a durable coalition opposed not only to Benjamin Netanyahu and specific Israeli policies but to Israel itself. The coalition is composed of the two fundamental groups on all elite campuses: the self-professed “victims” and the self-flagellating “guilty.” One of the main purposes of orientation week is to sort students into one of these two groups and to educate them in their assigned roles.

The guilty are all students from comfortable backgrounds, except those from approved minorities. These middle-class students are, by definition, “oppressors.” They can expiate their sins by pleading guilty and showing they want to remedy the mess their families have made of America and the world. Their own special movement is environmentalism and “safety” on campus, which goes beyond the legitimate goal of ensuring all students’ physical security to include suppressing views they don’t like. Those views, they say, make them “feel unsafe.” Deans of students, who care not a whit about free speech, happily rush in to protect them. But the main way middle-class students can wash away their sins is to back the movement-du-jour of the “victims’ groups.”

There is no shortage of opportunities. There are all sorts of self-designated victims on campus, each vying for the coveted position as “the most terribly oppressed by America.” Among international students, the undisputed winners are the Palestinians (and Muslim students in general). They are glad to have others’ support as long as no one challenges their status as the No. 1 international victims group.
But why does the left hate Israel? The author (Charles Lipson) goes on to explain:
The left hates Israel’s military strength and its willingness to use it for the same reasons it hates American power. As right-thinking cosmopolitans, they would never approve such brutality. Obama captured this perspective in a Freudian slip. “Whether we like it or not,” he explained, “we remain a dominant military superpower.” The left doesn’t like it. They don’t like it in America, and they don’t like it in Israel. As for Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea brandishing military threats, well, let’s not think about that. The threats may vanish from their minds, but they still threaten everybody else with working synapses.

Not only is Israel powerful, the left (like the Muslim world) sees Israel as a remnant of Europe’s crimes: imperialism and the Holocaust. University faculties are preoccupied with imperialism and post-colonial legacies, which they blame for many of the world’s ills. They see Israel through that lens, as a colony of white settlers in an Arab-Muslim region. They blithely ignore the Jewish people’s age-old connection to the land, its continuous presence there, and its central religious significance. And they ignore how many Israelis were driven out of Arab countries, which have become virulently anti-Semitic.

The combination of Israel’s religious heritage, its nationalism, its prosperity, and its unapologetic self-defense combine virtually everything loathed by secular, cosmopolitan intellectuals. That’s why Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech offered such a tepid “defense” of Israel’s right to exist. Israel was needed, he said, because Jews needed somewhere to go after the Holocaust. That is the view of the average professor of French literature: Israel is the bastard child of Europe’s crimes.
This kind of mentality is common at Marquette, reflected (for example) in the “Israeli Apartheid Week” sponsored by several offices at Marquette.

A few years ago, Manresa sponsored a conference on “peacemaking” which included a panel titled “Jews of Conscience: Voices for Justice and Peace, Hope and Obligation.” What sort of Jews supposedly had a “conscience?” Those who oppose Israel. The people on the panel compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and justified Palestinian terrorism.

Then there was a virulent 2005 Arab Heritage Celebration, which rather than celebrating the cultural heritage of Arabs, attacked Israel.

“Catholic” Marquette, in other words, is no better than the average secular university. Indeed, Marquette is the average secular university.

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Blogger tz said...

Conversely, on the right, Israel can do no wrong. If they released poison gas (saving their 200+ nuclear bombs) and killed everyone in Gaza, FoxNews would cheer. (European secular socialist) Israel is doing to the Palestinians (who have been there for over 1000 years) what we did to the Native Americans, except they can't do Casinos.
The problem is the utter inability to get out of the polarized "team red" v.s. "team blue". Democracy Now! or Fox News. No one wants to actually think through what might be happening or look at the complications.
Too many can't think of Netanyahu as anything but David reincarnated, the idea he might be a Herod (Holy Innocents, John the Baptist's head, etc.) cannot occur to them.
Is there utter blindness in Academia on Israel? Yes, but there is equivalent blindness on the right - The only difference is complete ignorant, unthinking prejudice, merely differing in the direction.

10:33 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...


Would you favor a two-state solution?

Would you agree that, under some two state solution, Israel has a right to be certain that a Palestinian state will not be a base for attacks on Israel, as Gaza has become?

9:03 PM  

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