The Cowardice of American Jewish Academia – Michigan Edition
By now we should all be aware of the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish, anti-academic, anti-educational stance of U of M professor, John Cheney-Lippold. He's the prof who refused to write a letter of recommendation for one of his students to study in Israel, and he did it for political reasons.
There has been a lot of pushback from various (mostly Jewish) pundits and a lot of nothing from U of Ms administration, which is to be expected, as they've never taken anti-Semitism very seriously. All other forms of bigotry are investigated and perpetrators punished. Anti-Semitism brings a wishy-washy response at best.
Mitch Albom, in his Detroit Free Press column, shows that he gets it. We will assume that you've already read it. If not, it's at the link.
One response you may not of seen is from Daniel B. Markind in the Times of Israel.
The story of Professor Cheney-Lappold however is not just a story of one professor. It is the story of how decades of Jewish academic silence metastasized into a movement seductive to shallow followers like Professor Cheney-Lappold.
He's got a point.
Jewish professors never put up a fight. They refused to verbalize any real defense of the difficulty faced by a nation with such a small territory and so many neighbors sworn to its annihilation. Slowly and inexorably, the academic steamroller of Israel haters and bigots reached critical mass. At America’s universities, Israel no longer is a conflicted state facing immense obstacles, it is an “Apartheid State”. At one time, Jewish professors simply didn’t explain the difficulties faced by Israel as it tries to retain its decency in a terrible neighborhood. Now those same professors understand that it is dangerous both for their careers and possibly their persons to even try.
Is it out of fear, or are the Jewish professors as progressive as their colleagues, and therefore favor the repressive, terrorist Palestinian culture over the free diverse culture of Israel? Support of dictators over a free society has become a progressive value after all. Freedom stands in the way of the progressive quest for equality. Everyone is equally miserable under a tyrannical government.
What has to happen for our brave Jewish academics to speak out? What line has to be crossed?
We might also ask what has to happen; what line has to be crossed for our Jewish community to speak out? Loudly and strongly, demanding that action be taken against this anti-Semitic professor and against all of the other Jew-haters at U of M, profs and students. As long as we Jews acquiesce to this bigotry, no matter our reason, it will always be excused.
ZOA has written to U of M President Mark Schlissel. You can read their letter here.