Scott Cushing
Former Newspaper Publisher and Editorial Writer

Jewish ‘Context and College ‘PR’

You would think with two resignations of College Presidents in America’s elite educational institutions academics would tap the brake and reflect about Jew hatred on their college campuses. You would be wrong. Instead, the academic ivory tower elite have doubled down by retaining high powered public relations firms to resurrect the reputations of their battered institutions.

They have their work cut out for them.

Colleges throughout the country are indeed infected with the disease of Anti Semitism and hatred of the State of Israel. It is not going away, and the argument can be made that the infection is spreading into our public schools. Just look to the riot at a Queens High School when students found out a Jewish teacher rallied for Israel and the victims of October 7th as a signal for what is yet to come.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik kicked opened the door to this issue with a simple, and yet telling, question at a congressional hearing to Harvard President Dr. Gay when she asked, “whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities’ codes of conduct on bullying and harassment.”

It was Dr. Gay’s response that inaugurated the infamous word “context” into the lexicon of Anti Semitism. This “context” is a wakeup call for every Jewish parent.

Jews have long known that most college campuses are unsafe spaces to be Jewish. Jew hatred runs rampant, and administrations either cower, explain away, or hide when it is brought to their attention. For the ivy leagues, Jew hatred leniency has a dollar sign attached to it. They would not dare endanger the cash they get for their schools from overseas donors who have no love for Israel or Jews.

Recently, I joined with hundreds at Columbia University and the organization “End Jew Hatred” for a protest at the gates of the school. Before the gathering, I spoke to students who graphically described the fear they have on their campus. They spoke of harassment, bullying and physical altercations. One young woman’s hands shook from fear as she graphically described what passes at the school for free speech. Another referred to the campus as “a canned hunt for Jews.”

During the rally, students described the intimidation tactics of faculty, staff, and campus groups in moving speeches. As I listened, I could not help but wince that the Jewish student protest had to be located inside metal barriers on a sidewalk. In contrast, daily protests targeting the same Jewish students and Israel can easily roam free wherever the mob chooses to gather and scream.

I guess there are special protest rules for Jews and supporters of the State of Israel in the academic world.

In fact, the Columbia protest just happened to coincide with the Cooper Union riot of pro-Palestinian and Hamas sympathizers who attempted to hunt down Jewish and Israeli students located inside the college library. Where was the outrage by Governor Hochul? Where were the local members of Congress? Where were the State Senators and Assemblymembers?

You guessed it. Violence and intimidation towards Jews and the State of Israel is acceptable.

That brings me back to the colleges and their recent plan to address the issue of Jew hatred on their respective campuses. What is their answer? They hired PR firms to help them with their reputations. How ironic. The esteemed institutions of NYU, Harvard, Columbia, Cooper Union, and University of California need to hire marketers, branders, and social media experts to manage Jew hatred on their campuses according to reports.

What a pathetic and sick joke.

If you thought these firms were retained to look at how the schools could address the shocking Jew hatred incidents at their institutions, you would be sadly mistaken. Even more shameful is the real reason for their opening the purse strings retain these expensive and high-powered firms. It turns out that they need help to build bridges for vanishing donors, prospective students and manage anger from the public.

As an aside, I would like to recommend to the firm representing Harvard, that they need to develop a strategy and explanation over the breathtaking reported influence peddling by former President Barak Obama’s personal lobbying attempt to save Dr. Gay’s job. President Obama’s actions are sad and raise significant questions over his judgement.

The real issue is that Jew hatred is acceptable on college campuses because there is no recognition of the problem by academic elites. As a result, donors have closed their checkbooks and the reputations of the institutions have suffered immeasurable harm. They deserve it- and more.

For Jewish parents, and those who want to put an end to this cycle, this moment in time is an opportunity to bring accountability to an educational system whose corruption is in full public gaze. It begins in elementary school and must continue with strong, transparent education on the Holocaust that does not shield children’s eyes to the horrors of that time. Education cannot simply be the reading of a book. It must be in the form of transformative lessons on what Jew hatred is and the shape it takes. That includes language, tropes, history, and the modern day unmasking of the Antisemitic “urban dictionary” definitions related to Jews.

Further, as an example, it must take the shape of strong policies towards high schools when athletes taunt and intimidate children with Jew hatred on the playing field with real penalties. No longer will acknowledgements from school spokespersons be acceptable.

This is only a start.

Our colleges and universities are evolving into laboratories of Jew hatred. They are filled with educators with sketchy academic programs and course offerings who preach, indoctrinate and promote Anti Semitism and hate towards Israel. They have been given cover, assistance, and support from academic institutions. In the name of “free speech,” administrators and academics give Jew hatred a safe space in the name of so-called academic freedom.

Parents must face these institutions and hold them accountable each time they allow our young people to be victims to their failed policies, programs, college environment and Jew hatred. Congresswoman Stefanik opened the door and turned on the lights to this outrage. It is time we finished the job and bring Jewish “context” to this disease.

About the Author
Michael "Scott" Cushing serves as Special Advisor to the Nassau County Executive on the Combating Antisemitism Task Force. He also serves on the Community Advisory Board of Northwell Long Island Jewish Hospital, Valley Stream, New York. Further, he is former Publisher and Editorial writer for the Gateway-Bulletin Newspapers. He served in senior staff positions for the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate for over twenty years. He is active in Israeli and Jewish affairs in Nassau County.
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