Gary Fouse

The Campus Protests: Is There a Silver Lining?

Nobody who supports Israel and cares about anti-Semitism can be pleased with the scenes coming out of our universities and cities in which thousands of protesters are screaming for blood against Israel and also against Jewish people in general. At the moment, New York City and Columbia University are in the spotlight, and the scenes are disgusting. Meanwhile, we have a doddering president who is trying to thread the needle in his approach to the Gaza war, condemning anti-Semitism while trying to placate Muslim/Arab voters, particularly in a crucial swing state like Michigan, where their numbers are most concentrated.

It is truly a depressing state of affairs, especially when you see how Jewish students in universities all over the nation are afraid to show their Jewishness in class and on campus. Those of us who have been fighting anti-Semitism on our campuses are sickened by the ever-increasing expressions of hate being directed toward our Jewish students and Jews in general.

But amid all the despair and the outrage, is there anything encouraging to be found-a silver lining, so to speak? On the surface, it is easy to say no, but in one respect, there is a silver lining. When I first got involved in the issue of anti-Semitism at the University of California at Irvine as a part-time teacher around 2007, it was a struggle just to bring the problem to the attention of the local Jewish community in Orange County, let alone the US as a whole. The universities were in denial there was a problem, largely out of fear of their Muslim student activists and organizations like CAIR, who stood behind them and were ready to charge Islamophobia at the drop of a hat.

In addition, major Jewish organizations like Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, and the various chapters of the Jewish Federation were reluctant to air complaints publicly because they preferred to work quietly behind the scenes with the universities, and they did not want to discourage Jewish students from attending the respective schools where they operated. Thus, many activists and Jewish students who chose to speak out were often criticized, sometimes even ostracized within their own communities. It was said that they were making things worse and that the universities had it all under control. They were wrong. Today, they are not making that claim.

I personally recall the lack of action by the local ADL in Orange County to the problem at UC Irvine. I was not optimistic things would get better with Jonathan Greenblatt, a noted liberal, taking over the organization. Today, Greenblatt is speaking out about the outrages going on at Columbia and other universities and is calling for arrests and law and order. That is a positive development.

It is also a positive development that in the past few years, the public at large is now fully aware that there, indeed, is a resurgence in anti-Semitism in the US, and that the center of that problem is on our college campuses. They are now seeing it front and center on the nightly news, some media more than others, but nobody can claim ignorance including our cowardly university administrators. I give kudos to the Republican-led Education and Workforce Committee in the House of Representatives for bringing several university presidents in to testify. The result is that the public has seen clearly how feckless and cowardly these people are in general. The presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania have rightly been forced to resign. More should follow. Many more.

More than ever, our universities are being exposed as cesspools of indoctrination against the very values that America and the West hold dear. The non-stop agitation against Israel has now been exposed as little more than an exercise in Jew hatred, which should have no place in our society.

In addition, it is important that we clearly identify who the perpetrators of this hatred on our campuses are. They are not MAGA supporters, conservatives, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, or KKK-types. They are Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, extremist Muslims and their anarchist stooges, people like Antifa and others who have jumped on the anti-Israel bandwagon because they want to bring down a key American ally, people who want to bring down America itself.

So if there is a silver lining in all this ugliness, it is that the American public is now fully aware of the problem of anti-Semitism and the role of our universities in stirring up this hatred. This is definitely going to affect the universities, primarily in the bottom line. Donations are going down, Jewish students are deciding to avoid schools like Columbia, and more parents, Jewish and non-Jewish, will decide not to send their kids to these schools with their already outrageous tuitions going to pay for radical professors and layers upon layers of administrators who cannot or will not do their jobs.

I still believe that the overwhelming majority of Americans are decent people who, when shown that there is actual injustice, will do the right thing. Most of us abhor anti-Semitism and support Israel, including in this current struggle against Hamas in Gaza. There is much to be done in fighting anti-Semitism in the US and much to be done in reforming our universities, but at least now, nobody can deny the problem. Campus anti-Semitism is no longer able to operate in the darkness. And that, I believe, is a silver lining.

About the Author
Gary Fouse worked from 1998-2016 as adjunct teacher at University of California at Irvine Ext. teaching English as a second language. Served three years in US Army Military Police at Erlangen, Germany 1966-68. 1970-1973- Criminal Investigator with US Customs 1973-1995 Criminal investigator with Drug Enforcement Administration. Stationed in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Milan, Italy, Pittsburgh and Office of Training, FBI Academy, Quantico, Va. until retirement. Author of Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town-University Press of America 2005. The Story of Papiamentu- A Study in Slavery and Language, University Press of America, 2002. The Languages of the Former Soviet Republics-Their History and Development, University Press of America, 2000.
Related Topics
Related Posts