Bashing Israel on Campus, from California to New York
Pop the champagne! It's party time at the City University of New York (CUNY) for Israel-loathing professors. For years, they've gazed enviously at California, where academic anti-Semites can demonize and harass Jewish students to their hearts' content, all at taxpayers' expense. But why should California have all the fun?
And so, on Friday, June 3, CUNY will kick off its own Israel-bashing bacchanal by giving Tony Kushner an honorary degree. In case you missed the Kushner kerfuffle, he's the playwright of Angels in America who's obsessed with Devils in Israel, a country he views as so monstrously evil, it's worse than Sarah Palin.
Basically, when you look up "crazy, far-left Jew" in the dictionary, you'll find Kushner comes after Noam Chomsky and Norm Finkelstein, but before Howard Zinn.
According to Kushner, Israel is guilty of being a Nazi state that commits "ethnic cleansing"; its supporters are "repulsive"; its founding was a "moral calamity"; and it deserves boycotts, divestments, and sanctions. And that's what he says when he's being nice! But if you think the big story here is CUNY anointing Kushner with an honor, think again.
The real hot news is that New York's elites raced to destroy CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, the brave and principled individual who dared to object to giving Kushner an award. Not too impressed with Wiesenfeld's right of free speech, the New York Times thundered that he should be forced off the CUNY Board; so did CUNY's Faculty Union, ex-Mayor Ed Koch, and CAIR.
Wiesenfeld, the philanthropic son of two Holocaust survivors, was called a fascist, bigot, hatemonger, and, of course, that favorite leftie slur, McCarthyite. How dare he deviate from the Politically Correct Canon, in which Israel always plays the villain and her attackers are cast as sexy saints?
So what can New Yorkers expect now that its Ruling Class has decreed that demonizing Israel is a protected racket and defending Israel is a moral crime?
In a word, California. Armed with free tax money and Saudi money with strings, a cadre of tenured anti-Semites have long made the University of California their carnival of crazy.
Professors harangue and mock Jewish students in class, and give them bad grades for presenting a diverse view of the Middle East conflict. Academic departments sponsor endless "seminars" that vilify Israel as an illegitimate, genocidal state, while shutting down pro-Israel speakers.
Professors assign outrageous anti-Israel propaganda in classes ranging from remedial writing to women's studies to environmental science, and never expose students to other viewpoints. After all, students can't be trusted to form their own opinions!
Even worse, on the most degraded UC campuses like Berkeley, Irvine, and Santa Cruz, an atmosphere of anti-Semitic intimidation and violence flourishes. Jewish girls are followed to their cars by Muslim activists, and called "whores" and "baby killers." Jewish boys are shoved, spit on, and physically attacked.
Muslim students dress up as Israeli soldiers, complete with fake guns, and set up "checkpoints" where they harass passersby to illustrate Israeli "brutality." And when the Israeli Consul or Ambassador gives a speech, riots break out, coordinated by activist groups like the Muslim Student Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which are shielded by political correctness and funded by taxpayers.
See for yourself in this brief video from hostilecampus.org.
Watch the look in the Jewish girls' eyes. Experience the vile hate speech and poisonous theatrics. And listen carefully to Daniel Pearl's father, Professor Judea Pearl, describe the fear that even the faculty feels.
In March, Jessica Felber, a twenty-year-old student at UC Berkeley, filed a federal lawsuit against UC's Regents, accusing them of failing to protect her civil rights as a Jew. Felber was holding a sign saying "Israel Wants Peace," when the head of Students for Justice in Palestine rammed her with a shopping cart, requiring her to get medical care. Her assailant was a known provocateur who'd been implicated in other assaults, without disciplinary repercussions.
So does this ugly and dangerous future await students in New York? Will the greatest Jewish city outside of Israel allow its public university to sink into a cesspool of academic dishonesty, corruption, and anti-Semitism?
Not without a fight. Thankfully, Jewish pride and academic integrity are not dead yet. Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, representing 55,000 academics, wrote a letter to CUNY's Trustees, deploring Kushner's award and defending Jeffrey Weisenfeld. The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York also supported Weisenfeld, stating that efforts to force him from the Board were "unacceptable."
And, this Friday, June 3, at 10 AM, a grassroots coalition of pro-Israel activists will be on hand at the Javits Center, to protest loud and clear when Kushner gets his degree. Break out the bubbly! Standing up for sanity is truly something to celebrate.
Write Stella Paul at Stellapundit@aol.com.