Exposed: The Selective Bigotry of the Campus Diversity Industry

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – or “DEI” – is now big business across American campuses.  A 2021 Heritage Foundation study found that the average American college employs 45 full-time DEI administrators.  With a reported average salary of $79,400 per DEI staffer, the average college DEI budget exceeds $3.57 million.  Hence across more than 4,000 colleges nationally, America’s total college DEI bill tops $14 billion.

One would hope that such massive investments yield tangible gains in the DEI bureaucracies’ self-described mission, namely, assuring an inclusive campus environment for all students.  Unfortunately, a new study shows that the campus DEI industry not only fails this test but also – at least towards one minority group – actively subverts its stated goal.

The study, released by Heritage just a month ago, examined the public social media statements of over 700 diversity administrators from 65 colleges.  It revealed a tsunami of extreme and false denunciations of Israel and its supporters.  Of the DEI staffers’ frequent mentions of Israel, 96 percent consisted of libelous indictments, “[f]requently accusing Israel of engaging in genocide, apartheid, settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and other extreme crimes.”

One diversity administrator “liked” and re-tweeted this message: “Wtf is a liberal Zionist? What’s next? Liberal Nazi? Liberal colonizer? Liberal murderer?”  Another tweeted, in an echo of the medieval blood libels that incited bloody violence against Jews, “Israel has a particular loathing for children. they target them with violence specifically and intentionally every single day.”

Many DEI staffers’ tweets called for Israel’s outright elimination, “from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea.”  Apparently, those falsely charged with genocide must themselves be targeted for genocide.  Other DEI tweets denounced U.S. supporters of Israel, including a conspiratorial indictment of a “vast philanthropic-lobbying complex in the US that works tirelessly to present Israelis as benevolent [and] peace-loving . . . [while] in actual Israel no one bothers with the pretense.”

These denunciations of the world’s only Jewish state are highly disproportionate.  Whereas the DEI staffers collectively issued 633 tweets about Israel, of which 96 percent were negative, they also issued 216 tweets referencing China – which, unlike Israel, is actively perpetrating a massive genocide against its Muslim Uyghur citizens. Yet 62 percent of the latter tweets were favorable to China.

So the actual practice of this campus diversity army is this: Disseminate false genocide claims against overseas Jews and their supporters; but obfuscate or ignore a real genocide perpetrated by China against its Muslim citizens, despite the latter’s abundant public documentation.  As Heritage concluded: “Frequently accusing Israel of engaging in genocide . . . while rarely leveling similar criticisms toward China indicates an irrational hatred that is particularly directed toward Jews . . . .”

Unfortunately, and largely because of such propaganda, ever more college students and graduates now actually believe that Israel is guilty of genocide, apartheid, and similar evils – including many Jewish students.  Yet the facts of modern Israel’s origins, conduct, and encounters with Palestinian Arabs are quite the opposite.  Here is the truth that the DEI bureaucrats choose to ignore:

“Zionism” – that is, the modern movement to rebuild a Jewish state – emerged in the late nineteenth century, when the entirety of the world’s small Jewish population was subject to varying degrees of bigotry and exclusion in all countries – and to Jim Crow-like savagery in many countries, especially across the Middle East and Central Europe.  There was not then, and never had been, a nation of “Palestine” – the area was an undeveloped province of the Ottoman Empire.  But then as now, most of the world’s Jews were genetic descendants of the ancient Israelites, that is, they were and are genuinely indigenous to the land.

Though now largely forgotten, the tens of thousands of Jews who fled Russian pogroms for Palestine a century ago often formed amicable relations with local Arab communities.  In fact, tens of thousands of Arab immigrants followed behind the Jewish influx, to take advantage of the economic opportunities created by Jewish immigrants.

Even in the 1930s, many Palestinian Arab leaders favored negotiations with their Jewish neighbors and were open to the concept of “two states for two peoples.”  But one man shattered this pathway towards a peaceful Palestine, namely, the Palestine Arabs’ religious leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini.  A notorious anti-Semite, al-Husseini spent the 1920s and 1930s leading vicious propaganda campaigns against the Jews and inciting violent pogroms, while falsely claiming that the Jews sought to destroy Muslim religious sites and exterminate Palestinian Arabs.

From 1936 to 1939, al-Husseini instigated a civil war in Palestine, targeting the British “Mandate” authorities, the Jews, and the many Palestinian Arabs who favored cooperation with their Jewish neighbors.  Al-Husseini had many of the latter viciously tortured and murdered, with their shattered bodies left in public as a warning to more moderate Palestinian Arabs.

Then in 1941, al-Husseini moved to Germany and publicly allied with Hitler; together they pledged to exterminate all the Jews of the Middle East.  Al-Husseini also helped lead the Nazis’ massive Arab-language propaganda campaign across the Middle East, inundating the region in Jew-hatred and false claims of Jewish perfidy.

Postwar and post-Holocaust, the United Nations in 1947 voted to divide Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.  The Jewish leadership embraced the resolution and invited their Palestinian Arab residents to remain, with equal rights guaranteed.  But al-Husseini denounced the resolution and launched another civil war against Palestine’s Jews – prior to and in coordination with the invasion of Israel by five Arab armies.  That Palestinian-instigated war – and not some “ethnic cleansing” scheme by Israel – is what caused the flight of over 600,000 Palestinian Arabs from the Israeli side of the proposed two-state border – along with the expulsion of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries.

In subsequent decades, the Palestine Arab leadership has continued to call for the annihilation of Israel, to indoctrinate their people in genocidal Jew-hatred, and to launch terror attacks against the Jewish state. Despite this, Israel since 1947 has endorsed at least five proposals intended to bring about a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The Palestinian leadership has rejected all such proposals.

And contrary to the DEI industry’s bogus genocide claims, the Palestinian territories’ population has more than quadrupled since 1967. With Israeli assistance, they also have experienced massive increases in income, education, and longevity. Meanwhile, Arabs in Israel have full equal rights, with several holding high positions in the government and judiciary.

In sum, the DEI bureaucrats’ frequent claims of Israeli genocide and apartheid are complete fabrications. But as evidenced in opinion surveys, such disinformation is impactful; and it correlates with a well-documented rise in anti-Semitic incidents across U.S. campuses in recent years.

That any campus bureaucracy receiving millions in tuition and student loan dollars is promoting toxic anti-Israel falsehoods – and thereby pouring fuel on the growing fire of campus anti-Semitism – is a moral disgrace. That the bureaucracy in question is the very one devoted to inclusiveness and belonging for “all” students is unconscionable.

Henry Kopel is a retired federal prosecutor and the author of War on Hate: How to Stop Genocide, Fight Terrorism, and Defend Freedom (Lexington Books, 2021)

Image: Quinn Dombrowski, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

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