NY Times: Anti-Semitism on Campus Seems Problematic

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I wish the NY Times story was as blunt as my headline suggests but it’s not. There’s some both-sides treatment here and yet you can’t read this without coming away with the idea that the authors feel forced to admit a lot of the “pro-Palestinian” behavior on campus really does cross a line.


In the days after the Hamas attack on Israel, Max Strozenberg, a first-year student at Northwestern University, experienced a couple of jarring incidents…

Mr. Strozenberg’s paternal grandparents escaped the Nazis just before other family members were taken to the concentration camps. Now, he finds himself in an eerie time warp, resisting his grandmother’s pleas to take off the small star of David that he wears around his neck.

It’s not that he is feeling safe — just defiant. The mood on campus these days, he said, “is not pro-Palestinian, it’s antisemitic.”

If you go back to any moment on any one of these campuses prior to 10/7 you could be socially punished for even the slightest hint of a microaggression toward any number of campus groups. You certainly couldn’t chant the equivalent of “From the river to the sea” (whatever that might be) about gay, black or trans students. There would be demands for your ouster from campus if you did. But now the same people are letting their freak flag fly when it comes to attacking Israel, microaggressions be damned.

Jewish students cite a litany of attention-grabbing antisemitic incidents. Pro-Palestinian students at George Washington University used a library facade to project giant slogans like “Glory to Our Martyrs.” Next to a Jewish fraternity at the University of Pennsylvania, someone scrawled “The Jews R Nazis.”

At the Cooper Union, a private college in New York City, frightened Jewish students huddled behind locked doors at a library, while demonstrators shouted “Free Palestine” and banged on the doors and windows. And at Cornell, a computer science major was arrested, accused of making online threats to shoot up a kosher dining hall and rape and murder Jewish students.

“I’m scared to walk outside,” said Simone Shteingart, a senior and vice president of Cornell Hillel, the Jewish campus group.


There’s a lot more to the article but, again, the authors do their best to claim both sides are being mistreated even though they’ve just pointed out the litany of disturbing behavior toward Jewish students. But if the authors are afraid to come out and say what is happening, some of the commenters are not.

I’d like to hear from actual Palestinian college students on this issue, not rich white kids in activist cosplay.

From Erika in NYC:

The pro Palestine reaction to 10.7 had definitely affected my view of the American left and how I fit into it. I was once someone who would protest on behalf of this cause. However the response to the murder and rape of 10.7 has really affected the way I look at things.

This commenter wonders why this is so hard for college administrators:

Thousands of college presidents were not able to condemn one of the worst terror attacks in the history of the world. Brutal and inhumane and few colleges condemned it. No wonder antisemitism is flourishing on campuses. I wonder what college around the world failed to condemn 9/11. Perhaps in Ramallah and Tehran – certainly Israeli universities stood with America.

This person says what I’m thinking:

You can speak up for oppressed Palestinians and the Israeli victims of terrorism without using antisemitic tropes, hate, and with respect. Perhaps colleges should be teaching that, too. But the media owns some of this. The leaders of Hamas have been very, very clear in post-10/7 interviews that they pledge hundreds more attacks on Israeli civilians like 10/7. They have also fired more than 10,000 missiles at Israeli civilians. And when asked why they failed to build even one bomb shelter and use the people of Gaza, including their children, as human shields, they say it is because they are a nation of martyrs. Perhaps if these same students knew what they were supporting and who the Israelis are fighting, and how Hamas violently oppresses Gazans, they would have a fuller picture of what is happening.


Last one:

The seeds of identity politics in full blossom. The identity-based view, that adopts a loaded, jargony and almost humorously constrained vocabulary, and gloms on shallow slogans to the most complicated problem in the world, is a betrayal of actual leftist thought…

I am very sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people, as far as wishing there were one bi-national state. One can dream. But I cannot participate in the current protests with “river to the sea,” “apartheid” “colonial” “oppressor” simplistic and identity-based outlooks, that espouse no workable solution to the current conflict.

What we’re seeing on these campuses is what these kids have been taught (or not taught). I don’t see it getting better anytime soon, unfortunately.

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