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Never again, they said. And then Columbia happened

According to the New York Times, “A video has surfaced of one of the leaders of the anti-Israeli protests at Columbia University stating repeatedly and emphatically that Zionists “don’t deserve to live” and should be killed.“ The existence of them and the projects they have built i.e. Israel, it’s all antithetical to peace. So yes I feel very comfortable — very comfortable — calling for those people to die,” Khymani James said in the January video.“ Be glad, be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists,” he added.” He is not alone, though few are so outspoken.

A strange fever is spreading across some of the finest institutions of higher learning in America. Throngs of young people milling about. Some come from well-to-do families, others have taken loans to finance the expensive studies that will make them the elite of tomorrow. Yet so near end-of-year exams, they have left notebooks and lessons aside and set up makeshift camps in the very heart of their campus. They move around chanting, or rather shouting, strange slogans. and wearing keffiyehs  they move around chanting, or rather shouting, strange slogans. It is no longer “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free” and too bad for Israel and its ten million inhabitants, but “we are all Hamas!” Worse, they no longer chant “Out with the Zionists” but “Out with the Jews!” They were all for freedom of speech -until they weren’t. They do not let in the Jewish comrades who only yesterday sat next to them in the lecture halls.

These angry young people are students. They were taught to reason. They have state-of-the-art libraries and access to limitless resources on the web. The teachers who are there to provide them with the best possible education have been handpicked. So, what are we to understand? Do they know what they are saying? What do they want? When they say “We are all Hamas” can we really imagine that they are aware of what this terrorist organization is? Do they know the meaning of Zionism? Do they know that Zion is one of the many names of Jerusalem “By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept, When we remembered Zion.“ sang the exiles in Babylon. Zionism meant for the Jews a return to the land of their fathers. It was nevertheless branded as racism by a UN resolution in 1975  It was revoked sixteen years later but to no notable effect.

The fact is that those youngsters, the future of the greatest democracy on earth, have no understanding of the slogans they are spouting with such fervor. What we are seeing today is the result of decades of brainwashing. One after another, universities have succumbed to the lure of oil money and the Emir of Qatar and have brought wolves into the sheepfold. Generous endowments have multiplied the number of chairs encouraging the study of Islam and the Middle East -from the perspective of the new benefactors. So-called discovery trips were organized not only for the teachers but also for the most promising students. Generous scholarships followed as well.

At the same time, scholarly studies, doctoral theses, and press articles introduced alternative narratives on two crucial topics. The purpose of the first was to deny to Judaism and the Jews the slightest connection to the Temple Mount and to the Land of Israel: the many UNESCO resolutions to this effect are a case in point. Unfortunately, the voice of Christianity did not make itself heard. There was no one to protest and remind the world that the Jew Jesus had come to pray at the temple in Jerusalem. Secondly, and perhaps as a corollary, to question the legitimacy of the Jewish state and promote the myth of a “historic Palestine” that never was, turning Jews returning to the land of their ancestors into settlers usurping the land of others. Far from being terrorists, the Palestinians were presented as heroic resistance fighters.

It is the result of this slow undermining process, tacitly encouraged by the United Nations, that we are seeing today. Ripples are being felt everywhere. Meanwhile, radical Islam which has never differentiated between Jews and Zionists is steadily pursuing its long-range goal of a world governed according to the sharia – be it of the Sunni or Shia variety.

About the Author
Michelle Mazel was born in France. A graduate of the Institute for Political Science of Paris and of the Law school of that city, she was a Fullbright scholar to the United States. She married an Israeli diplomat and for forty years, until he retired in 2004, she went with him from one interesting country to another, witnessing Sadat’s assassination in Cairo and the fall of Ceausescu in Rumania.