Alan Jay Zwiren

How to Eliminate Antisemitism on College Campuses

On May 23rd of this year, the White House published, “FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases First-Ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism.” Today, November 8th it is reported that Education Secretary Miguel Cardona stated that institutions of higher learning could lose federal funding if they fail to address Antisemitism. At least he did not make the false equivalency of Islamophobia, but he did add other bigotries. Also today, Henry Swieca is the next in line to act by quitting the Board of Columbia University and presumably suspended any financial donations. Leslie and Abigail Wexner are pulling their program and funding out of Harvard. Jon Huntsmann, not even Jewish, and Marc Rowan are stopping their donations to the University of Pennsylvania. Funny, Ronald Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress only threatened to stop making donations to U of P.

In news print, these actions may seem significant; however, in reality, they will have very little impact. That is because, until elementary, secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning address the fundamental root cause of the problem, it cannot be fixed.  And clearly the problem is generational. All the polls that have been taken since the Israel-Gaza conflict began on October 7th this year, have resulted in a stark difference in support for Israel by age demographics. Regardless of political affiliation, those under 35 have shown very little support for Israel from the very beginning when 1,400 people, mostly civilians, of all ages, sexes, and even little children were slaughtered and an additional 240 people were kidnapped.  Whereas those over 60 show the highest level of support for Israel.

So, the question must be asked, what is causing the erosion of support for Israel?  I realize I am oversimplifying; however, one of the biggest factors has been the promotion of Critical Race Theory in schools and universities. Critical Race Theory divides the world up into Colonizers and those who have been Colonized. It categorizes people as Oppressors, or the Oppressed. And here is the most ironic part of all; the one group of people who have been most oppressed over history are the Jews!  But those who promote Critical Race Theory have put Israel, the ONLY Jewish country on this planet in the role of Colonizer and Oppressor!

To me this thought is almost insane. Just look at the statistics. Jews make up approximately .2% of the world population. Muslims make up 24%. And yet, these .2% are the oppressors. In the US Jews make up 2.2% of the population, and yet over half of the hate crimes committed were against Jews. Only 8% of hate crimes were against Muslims. So why does every single politician have to draw a false equivalency when they mention Antisemitism. Just once, I would appreciate it if an honest politician simply called out Antisemitism without mentioning Islamophobia or other forms of hate!

And yet, Jews and Israelis are the oppressors. The story goes that the Jews started to return to Israel in the 1890’s and started colonizing Israel. If you read Mark Twains “The Innocents Abroad” on his visit to Palestine published in 1881, he describes it as, “Hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land.” He noted the land was sparsely populated and did not have much to say about the local population.  The only place he visited that he gushed about was Jerusalem, “Tears would have been out of place. The thoughts Jerusalem suggests are full of poetry, sublimity, and more than all, dignity.”  It may be a little ironic that he only had an affinity for Jerusalem, for at the time, Jerusalem was 62% Jewish. Jews have always been in the land of Israel. Jews have been returning to Israel ever since being forced out in the Babylonian Exile.

But why deal in facts. You can put facts in front of these young people, and they will just ignore them. Critical Race Theory is more a belief these days than a sociological fact!  Changing someone’s belief is almost an impossible task.  How many people convert from Christianity to Judaism?  The numbers of statistically insignificant. People simply do not change their beliefs.

And another very strong belief that increases Antisemitism because of Critical Race Theory is Intersectionality. If Israel is the oppressor, and Palestinians are the oppressed, then it is incumbent upon all other oppressed populations to stand side by side to support their oppressed brothers and sisters. This includes of course the Blacks, Gender (woman), and LGBTQ+.  There have been activities, rallies, marches in for all these oppressed groups where Jews have been disinvited. The irony of this is of course, to be LGBTQ+ in Gaza or under the Palestinian Authority is punishable by death.  But of course, since these groups are oppressed, and the Palestinians are another oppressed group, Intersectionality insists they support one another.

Cutting off funding is merely a start whether it is through private donations or federal funds. Until schools address the fallacies they are promoting in the name of Critical Race Theory, new generations of college graduates will continue to perpetuate the myth of Jews being the oppressors.  Nothing less will be effective in addressing the steady rise in Antisemitism!

About the Author
Alan was born and lived in the US until he made Aliyah on July 4th, 2017 with his wife and dog to join his three adult children. The family continues to grow with spouses and grandchildren. He is an avid reader of Jewish, Israeli and Zionist history and contemporary issues. He is an active in hasbara on Facebook and in other forums. He currently resides in Jerusalem with his wife, Robin, and cat. Sadly his dog Izzy is now a fond memory!