Robert Goldberg
I am a Zionist

Jewish Academics, Not College Presidents, Legitimize Anti-Zionism

When the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Congress that calling for genocide against the Jewish people isn’t inherently persecution or discrimination, they said context matters.

It’s hard to find a context at their universities where the systematic demonization of Israel or the assault on Jewish self-determination is not being encouraged and legitimized. It has become so routine that anti-Jewish activists no longer obfuscate their hate. Quite the opposite: as a recent  Harvard University Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and Harris Insights and Analytics poll reveals, anti-Zionism among college-age Americans is now mainstream.  A recent New York Times survey seems to confirm these findings.

For example, 67 percent of individuals ages 18-24 said  that Jews “as a class are oppressors.”

Over half (53 percent) claim students should be free to call for genocide. ‘Only’ 30 percent agree that calling for genocide is not hate speech and believe think protests calling for genocide are harassment is not harassment.

Of the 18-24-year-olds surveyed, 60 percent said Israel is committing genocide. When asked if Hamas would like to commit genocide against the Jews in Israel 60 percent said “yes”.  And while 66 percent of similarly aged respondents said the October 7th attacks on Jews were genocidal in nature, a similar percentage (60 percent) say Hamas’ killing “of 1200 Israeli civilians and the kidnapping of another 250 civilians can be justified by the grievances of Palestinians.”

So it is not surprising that 50 percent of these 19-24-year-olds support Hamas and 51 percent agreed with the statement that the long-term solution (final!) to the Israel-Palestinian dispute is for “Israel to be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians.”

These results send a clear message that college-age students have paid attention to the anti-Zionism ideology.  Jews are an oppressor class. Israel is the fullest expression of that Jewish supremacy. Hamas is justified in committing genocide and in their effort to wipe out Israel.

Jewish Voice for Peace activists

You can’t blame the spread of anti-Zionism (which is Jew hatred) on feckless university presidents. Rather, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion dogma shape hiring decisions, curriculum, codes of conduct, and student affairs which makes Jew hatred normal.  There is no strategic plan to increase the number of academics obsessed with Israel.  However, DEI has adopted anti-Zionism thanks to the growing number of Jewish academics and writers on the front lines of the political war against Israel.

The idea that Israel was born of original sin took root and rapidly gained currency thanks to the ranks of Jewish academics, including many Israeli Jews, contributing required courses, articles, books, and conferences attacking the existence of Israel as illegitimate, illegal, and immoral.

Academia is the principal source of the narrative, rhetoric, rationale, and policies used by Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, White, Rashida Tlaib, Jeremy Corbyn, and Roger Waters to spread Jew-hatred and legitimize the destruction of the state of Israel. Academia as Ruth Wisse writes is the “most important source of anti-Israel allegations, which even when they fail (and often do) achieve their aim by negatively singling out the Jewish state from among all others and forcing its supporters onto the defensive.”[1]  It is the most target-rich environment, which explains why campuses and academic programs are important power bases for Jewish Voice for Peace, IfnotNow, and other anti-Zionist Jewish organizations.

But above all, the campaign to demonize Israel was and is successful because of the efforts of anti-Zionist Jewish academics. Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, and Norman Finkelstein were among the first to turn attacking Israel into a tenured position. Today, anti-Zionism can be found in Black and Gender Studies programs as well as departments of Literature, Music, Philosophy, Sociology,  Political Science, and Near East Studies. And now all these disciplines can collaborate in offering courses and degrees in Post-colonial studies that steady drumbeat of articles and conferences that assert that Israel is evil. The Jewish state, according to this world view causes inequality, police brutality, inhumane prison conditions, the absence of environmental and Queer’ justice’, and the lack of feminist Palestinian poetry.

Proposals to create centers for the study of anti-Semitism will not stem the anti-Zionist tide.[2] On the contrary, they too will be coopted just like Jewish studies departments have become outposts against Zionism. Barry Trachtenberg, the Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University, claims Israel, like the Nazis, commits genocide.[3]    As Ari Blaff wrote in Sapir: “200 Israel and Jewish Studies scholars” signed an open letter condemning Israel’s conduct. The letter denounced Israel’s “ethnonationalist ideologies” as well as its “settler colonial paradigm” — fancy language for calling Israelis fascists and insisting that Israelis have no more place in “Palestine” than the British in India or the Dutch and their descendants who imposed apartheid in South Africa.”

Early this year,  AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies published the following articles: 1) Orthodox Jews have developed a powerful political lobby that has misappropriated taxpayer funds for their undeserving schools. 2) The Orthodox Jewish community only cares about itself and silences the voices of women. 3) Israel’s policy towards Gaza mirrors that of Nazi Germany towards European Jewry. 4) Zionism is a racist form of settler-colonialism, and Israel as a Jewish state should be dismantled.[4]

As Jarrod Tanny, the Charles and Hannah Block Distinguished Scholar in Jewish History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and the founder of the Jewish Studies Zionist Network, pointed out in a recent Times of Israel blog: “the campus community has brought the war in Israel to the American academy. And Jewish studies have given our enemies a green light. Jewish studies are responsible for legitimizing this violence in the diaspora. They owe American Jewry and all Israelis an apology followed by decisive measures to condemn what is now a global assault against the Jews.”[5]

Jewish academics are also arguing that America should abandon support for Israel because it is organized around Zionism, or, as they call it, “ethnic nationalism”. In a Foreign Affairs article — Israel’s One-State Reality written by Michael Barnett, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch, and Shibley Telhami claim: “Israeli rule is designed to maintain Jewish supremacy throughout all the territory the state controls. Israel’s system may not technically be apartheid, but it rhymes…” and that those “wanting to defend the one-state reality (Israel)are defending colonialist principles in a post-colonial world.”

Elliott Abrams notes of the “One State Reality” authors: “Their goal is the only real “unsayable” here: eliminating Israel as a Jewish state because in their view it is irredeemably evil. It is fundamentally racist and repressive, and it is time for U.S. policy to punish it for those traits.”

This is the new mainstream on college campuses. The question is, what can we do? As Bari Weiss asserts, “We need to uproot—root and branch—the ideology that has supplanted truth at the core of American higher education. And that ideology goes by the name Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).”  At the core of DEI is an anti-Zionism that has been advanced and legitimized by Jewish academics.

Charles Krauthammer goes further. “Don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination. And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.”

Jewish academics who teach that double standard have something to do with the college age students expressing contempt for the Jewish people  and supporting the elimination of the Jewish state. We must uproot – root and branch – this ideology.

[1] Ruth Wisse, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School,” Anti-Semitism on American college campuses is rising—and worsening. Where does it come from, and can it be stopped? May 4, 2015, Mosaic Magazine

[2] Communications, NYU Web. NYU to Create Center for the Study of Antisemitism.–center-for-the-study-of-antisemitism-. Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

“U-M Launches New Institute to Combat Antisemitism.” Michigan Radio, 8 Dec. 2023,



[4]The Association for Jewish Studies has become a mouthpiece for progressive antisemitism –


About the Author
Robert Goldberg has written extensively about Zionism and Israel for several years. His articles have been featured in prominent publications such as Tablet, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, National Review, Algemeiner, and the American Spectator. Additionally, he is writing a book on lessons from the Haggadah about responding to anti-Zionist Jews. As Vice President of The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, he writes about healthcare issues.