Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Anti-Zionism; Antisemitism; and Academia

McGill University (JTA)
As he has done so often in the past, New York Times columnist Bret Stephens has hit the proverbial nail on the head. He has identified anti Zionism for what it really is: Antisemitism.

Some might claim that being anti Zionist is not the same as being antisemitic. One can oppose the Zionist ideology and not have any innate hatred of the Jewish people. Stephens destroys that argument quite effectively.

As he notes, one can indeed be critical of Israel and not be antisemitic. He cites his own opposition to the Netanyahu government as an example of that. One can be critical of government policies without being opposed to the government itself. 

That is the hallmark of a free society. Of which both the United States and Israel are. Being critical of either Obama or Trump while either was President does not make one anti-American. Just as being critical of Netanyahu doesn’t make one anti-Israel. Although some people might try and convince you of that… if it were true, half of Israel’s Jews would be antisemitic. And half of America would be anti-America.

Being anti Zionist is more than just being against a government policy. It means that you do not believe that country even has the right to exist! When the only country is singled out that way happens to be the Jewish State - that is a horse of an entirely different color. Here is how Stephens puts it: 
Anti-Zionism is unique because its view is that the Zionist enterprise, that is to say, the state of Israel, is misconceived, it’s wrong, and at the end of the day, it isn’t simply Israeli policy that has to change, but it is Israel itself that has to go.
This is unique when you think about other countries around the world. Many of us are critics of China’s occupation of Tibet, or Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine. Some people are aware that Turkey is occupying northern Cypress, in violation of international law and putting down settlements there too. But none of those critiques extend to calls that are now increasingly pervasive around the world, not only for Russia, China, or Turkey to change their policies, but for the states themselves to disappear, to be eliminated. 
The only real explanation for this is the old-fashioned hatred of the Jewish people. That is the only way the vitriol expressed by the so-called anti-Zionists can be explained. And while it is true that a lot (perhaps even the most) of the antisemitic acts in the world are perpetrated by the Right, it is the Left’s antisemitism that pervades academia... spreading that hatred under the guise of being critical of Israel. The latest example of this is what happened to Jordyn Wright.

Jordyn is a 2nd year science student at McGill University - a top school in Montreal respected far and wide for its academics. You might say that it is the ‘Harvard’ of Canada.  She is a member of SSMU -  the Student Society of McGill University’s legislative council and board of directors.  And she is currently fighting to retain that position after accepting an invitation by ‘Hillel’ to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority; meet with politicians and journalists; and thereby get a fresh perspective on the issues facing them.  She has been asked to resign with a threat of impeachment if she doesn’t! From Facebook - in her own words: 
Year after year, we have witnessed student leaders at McGill University being targeted as a result of their Jewish and pro-Israel identities. This year, that student is me… 
As a result of my decision to participate on the trip, last night, the SSMU Legislative Council voted to call for my resignation from my positions in student government. The SSMU President personally singled me out, and actively encouraged others to attack me. Only I was targeted, despite the fact that another non-Jewish Councillor will also be joining me on the trip. I am outraged and disgusted, but not surprised. This is not the first time that Jewish students at McGill have been bullied out of student government. 
I have also been subject to attacks by members of student government in my own faculty. At Science’s General Council last week, I was blindsided and interrogated on-the-spot for almost two hours about my participation in Hillel Montreal’s trip… 
Those who have sought to remove me from student government frame my participation as a Conflict of Interest issue. If that were the case, then why is a SSMU Executive with a pro-BDS sticker on their water bottle not facing the same scrutiny… 
In the past, I was warned about getting involved in student leadership at McGill. The toxic environment, countless scandals, prohibitive anti-Israel sentiment, and anti-Semitism have led to a tainted image of an unfriendly campus for Jews.
Two years ago, three students were voted off of the SSMU Board of Directors simply for being Jewish or connected to pro-Israel organizations. Last year, a Political Science summer exchange course taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was the source of a controversy in which pro-Israel students were harassed and cyber-bullied. This year, I am feeling the discriminatory burden that our student politics routinely places on Jewish and pro-Israel students. 
There’s more. But I don’t want to belabor the obvious. McGill is not alone in this regard. This is pure antisemitism disguised as even-handedness with respect the Israeli Palestinian conflict. If anyone believes this is really an attempt at even-handedness, I’ve got 2 words: Bridge and Brooklyn.

How do students whose brains are filled with mush when they arrive end up becoming antisemites at these schools? There can be only one explanation for it. It is the inherent antisemitism that some of these professors bring with them – and indoctrinate their students with from the very beginning. By calling it anti-Zionism they get away with denying their antisemitism.

Bret Stephens is right. (And so is Rabbi Dov Fisher.) The question is, what do we do about it? How do we change the antisemitic culture that pervades so much of academia?