The Cowardice of American Jewish Academia — Emory University Edition

One morning in late March, Jewish students at Emory University in Atlanta awoke to find eviction notices placed on their dorm rooms doors.  The notices contained the logo of Emory University and claimed that the rooms would be demolished in 48 hours.

For those who didn’t panic when they saw the notice, only upon reading the fine print did they learn the truth – the notices were not real.  In fact, they were political propaganda from the Students for Justice in Palestine.  SJP is a group dedicated to Israel’s destruction with ties to Hamas and other terrorist organizations.

When the questions started coming, Emory first tried to tough it out.  Emory University Residence Life admitted that it actually had approved the fliers, but claimed that the students who posted them failed to follow proper University guidelines in distribution.  Incredibly, when asked about the incident by an Atlanta television station, Emory responded that it found no evidence that “the individual students or a particular group was targeted.”  Only when the outrage grew did University President Claire Steel issue a bland apology.  She claimed that the flier distribution had exposed flaws in Emory’s approval process and apologized for causing pain to members of the community.

Not satisfied with the racist havoc it already had caused, SJP doubled down.  It asserted that right wing extremist organizations were spreading lies about the fliers.  It also stated that groups like Emory Hillel were more concerned that the fliers raised awareness of SJP’s actions than they were of “the human rights abuses themselves.”  SJP then called for the University to “discipline” Hillel, the Emory Eagles for Israel and other Jewish and pro-Israel organizations until “they rescind and curtail their ongoing harassment campaign.”  The SJP statement was signed by 17 pages of students, faculty, professors and others.

That statement is instructive.  It includes the following:

“Students for Justice in Palestine is centered on freedom, justice, and equality for the  Palestinian people, who have been living without basic rights under Israeli military occupation and colonialism since 1948.”

According to the SJP, Palestinians have been living under Israeli military occupation and colonialism since the Jewish State was founded in 1948.  This was before the conquest of the West Bank and Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War.  The statement means only one thing – to the SJP the entire Jewish State is a colonialist operation and must be eradicated in its entirety.

Curiously, this standard applies only to Israel.  Pakistan was carved out of British colonial India in 1947 as a homeland for the minority Muslims on the subcontinent.  Nowhere do you hear that Pakistan is illegitimate.  Millions of Sudaten Germans were forced out of homes they’d lived in for hundreds of years at the same time, yet they were resettled in Germany with little difficulty.  Only Israel, the one homeland for the Jews, is a colonialist enterprise.

And what has been the response from the Jewish faculty at Emory?  Not a word.  Jewish student organizations have been very vocal about their objections to the racist actions of the SJP, the complicity of the University and the targeting solely of Jewish students.  The faculty has said nothing.

It’s important to internalize what happened here to realize the line that’s been crossed and how far campus anti-Semitism has reached.  SJP searched only for the dorm rooms of Jewish students for the sole purpose of intimidating them.  After this happened, the Emory University Administration refused to repudiate the selective targeting of Jews until the public outcry became too great. The University even issued a statement which it knew was untrue claiming that no individual students or particular group was targeted.  If all that doesn’t send a shiver down your spine, it should.

What exactly does it take for Jewish professors to take a stand against the anti-Semitism running rampant on their own campuses?  How cowardly are they?  Will even one Emory Jewish professor go public against the selective targeting of Jewish students for intimidation?  Are they that cowed?

With each passing incident, it becomes harder to imagine where the bottom will be hit.  We know at least this.  When that bottom does get come, the silence of the Jewish professors will not shield them from the terrible consequences of what happens.

About the Author
Daniel B, Markind is an attorney based in Philadelphia specializing in real estate, commercial, energy and aviation law. He is the former Chair of the National Legal Committee of the Jewish National Fund of America as well as being a former member of the National Executive Board and the National Chair of the JNF National Future Leadership. He writes frequently on Middle Eastern and energy issues. Mr. Markind lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and children.
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