Gary Fouse

The Middle East War and Campus Newspapers

In covering the craziness on our university campuses, part of the story is how the campus newspapers are covering and reporting controversial events on campus. This also applies to the demonstrations and events surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The highly organized Palestinian movement in the US has been quite successful in making this conflict a hot-button issue on campuses all over the country. Thus, the issue is often found in campus newspapers, especially now.

So it is with the events of October 7 up to the present day. More than ever, our campuses are awash in pro-Palestinian demonstrations condemning the Israeli assault upon Gaza in the wake of October 7 and openly calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Predictably, most campus papers I have read during this time are trying to walk a fine line between covering the pro-Palestinian side and expressing concern over the civilian deaths in Gaza while reporting Jewish students’ concerns over anti-Semitism. What I fail to see is any strong condemnation over the horrific events of October 7 aside from reporting the university administration’s condemnation, which inevitably leads to protests by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), whose narrative and claims are covered extensively without question. I also fail to see any editorial condemnation of the brown shirt antics of SJP by the editorial staff of any paper.

The problem is that campus newspapers in general, in keeping with the times, try to maintain political correctness in dealing with controversial issues. At worst, they are overly sympathetic to the Palestinian side, often reporting that they cannot disclose the names of pro-Palestinian students whom they quote due to “threats against their personal safety”. Imagine that: The bully boys (and girls) of SJP are afraid for their personal safety.

To be clear and blunt: There can be no moral equivalence between Israel’s assault on Gaza in pursuit of Hamas and attempts to find their hostages with the horrific atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7. I have yet to find in any campus newspaper a detailed description of what those animals did, beheading babies, placing them in ovens, raping women, massacring over 1,200 innocent civilians, and kidnapping over 200 people, including small children, to Gaza. True, I cannot account for every campus newspaper in the nation. Still, I have yet to find any example where Israel is defended other than an occasional op-ed by a particularly courageous Jewish student whom the newspaper has allowed to publish a piece.

I don’t know if this is all a result of fear or actual belief on the part of the student journalists, or a combination of both. In the past, I have tried to be generous because, after all, they are students. Ten years down the road in life, they may have different beliefs. On the other hand, these are the future journalists for the New York Times, Washington Post, etc., and their biases will bring further discredit to American journalism, an institution that is already in serious decline.

The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, which was started by one of the most horrific attacks against civilians in recent history, has brought a spotlight on the issue of campus anti-Semitism and the failure of universities to confront it seriously. The public in general is now aware not only of the present-day scope of Jew hatred around the world but the role of our own universities in spreading it. A few universities, and hopefully more, are starting to realize that the presence of SJP on their campuses is not only disruptive but downright dangerous. As we keep the spotlight shining on our morally corrupt universities, let us not overlook the role campus newspapers are playing, consciously or unconsciously.

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.