It takes a special kind of despicable to deface a Jewish site on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom ha Shoah). Such an incident has occurred at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where the Arabic word for “Palestine” was found spray painted on the Hillel building on campus on April 21.
Based on my own personal experience teaching at the University of California at Irvine for 18 years (1998-2016) and still following the events on that campus, I have stated for years that the focal point for the resurgence in anti-Semitism lies on our university campuses. That form of Jew hatred is not based on beliefs that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make matso. Nor is it based on the idea that Jews control our government, the banks, Hollywood, and are plotting a world-wide domination. It is not based on the belief that Jews are polluting Aryan blood. With rare exceptions, you don’t see that kind of Jew hatred openly expressed on college campuses.
What you do see is the Palestinian-inspired Jew hatred on campus. For some inexplicable reason, the pro-Palestinian forces have masterfully succeeded in making the Israel-Palestinian conflict into one of American academia’s hot button issues. They have turned it into a human rights issue in which the Israelis are committing genocide against the poor, noble Palestinian people.
When Jewish students on college campuses are pushed, yelled at, or had their events disrupted, it is not by neo-Nazis, KKK types or white nationalists. It is almost always at the hands of pro-Palestinian supporters.
And who are these pro-Palestinian supporters? Let’s be as precise as possible. It is groups like the various chapters of the Muslim Student Associations (MSA) and their sister organization, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). While many students join the MSA for legitimate reasons of finding religious support and fellowship, many chapters have people in leadership positions who have attacking Israel at the top of their agenda. SJP has a single purpose- to fight the existence of Israel with tactics of disruption and intimidation. They are brown shirts, simply put.
It is not just students who are guilty. Blame must also be assigned to many activist professors and to Middle East Studies departments, which are nothing more than pan-Arab, anti-West, and anti-Israel propaganda centers. Some of the universities with the worst such departments are UCLA, UC Berkeley, Georgetown, and Columbia. There are many more, however.
In terms of ethnicity, it is a mix. While many (not all) Muslims are active in campus agitation against Israel, there are also many non-Muslims including some misfit Jews. The common thread seems to be a devotion to left-wing causes in general. In this vein, we should not forget the insidious role played by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
But make no mistake: It is the pro-Palestinian campus movement that is responsible for the largest chunk of anti-Jewish sentiment in this country. That is not to deny anti-Semitism that exists on the part of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, or KKK types-which is also to be condemned. But to argue that they are the main problem is dishonest in my view. Yet, that is the argument you will hear from the left including from liberal professors and rabbis. I myself have seen and heard this both on campus and in one local Southern California synagogue.
It can no longer be denied-as some had done until recent years -that campus anti-Semitism is a problem and part of the overall problem nationally. The great debate now is pointing out the perpetrators. Admittedly, as always, Jews catch it from many directions. It is just that it is politically correct and safe to blame certain groups, but not safe and politically correct to blame others.
In this most recent episode at UMass-Amherst, the word, “Palestine” was written in Arabic. Unless this was a sophisticated hoax or case of misdirection, I will draw the appropriate conclusion that it helps make my case.