Massachusetts Has an Anti-Semitism Problem, and It’s Only Getting Worse, by MICHAEL DAMIANO
I finally read the article, and while it is a serious and lengthy article about a serious problem, it only addresses one aspect of the rise in anti-Semitism. The entire article is about right-wing hate mongers who target Jews and other minorities. There is not a single mention of left-wing or Islamic anti-Semitism.
It wasn’t out of the question. Since the 2016 presidential campaign, hate crimes against many minorities have increased throughout the country. Here in Greater Boston—home to one of the 10 largest Jewish communities in the world—the biggest and most conspicuous jump has been in incidents targeting Jews. The recent wave of anti-Semitism includes neo-Nazi graffiti, attacks on property, and the local mobilization of virulently anti-Semitic white supremacist groups.
The spike in anti-Semitic incidents comes at a confounding time for the Boston-area Jewish community. Less than a lifetime ago, Boston Jews were a marginalized minority. But over the past several decades, institutional discrimination against Jews and societal barriers to inclusion have fallen away. “We thought we were going in one direction,” says Elaine Zecher, senior rabbi at Temple Israel of Boston, “and then boom, these people show up.” These people—the ones carrying out anti-Jewish acts of hate—include everyone from schoolchildren to avowed neo-Nazis who openly advocate online for the “extermination” of Jews. Many of them are resorting to increasingly bold means to get their message across, and the most unsettling part is that no one knows how far they are prepared to go.
There was not a single word about the anti-Israel curriculum being taught in nearby Newton Massachusetts schools. We know that anti-Zionism is thinly disguised anti-Semitism.
In late August, just before the academic year began, Rebecca—a senior at Brandeis who asked me to withhold her last name—received an email from the university’s public safety director. The cryptic message said that photos of students had appeared on a white supremacist website. Rebecca visited the site and found a long thread on a forum where people she assumed were “neo-Nazis” were sharing photos of Jews, trading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and publishing hate-filled missives such as “[Jews] truly are creatures of Satan hell-bent on destroying the White race.” As horrified as she was, Rebecca nearly cried out in shock when she came upon a photo of her best friend and then, just beneath it, a photo of herself.
The purpose of the thread, it appears, was to ridicule Jews. While Brandeis security officials have said the forum represents no direct threat, “I kind of feel like there is one,” Rebecca asserts, especially in light of the attacks in Pittsburgh and Poway. Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a civil rights organization, and an expert on hate groups, says it’s reasonable to be alarmed by a thread featuring photos and names of specific Jews. After all, he says, “Lists set the stage for targeting.”
But what else is going on at Brandeis University? Well, according to a 2015 study:
More than one-quarter of undergraduate respondents describe hostility toward Israel on campus by their peers as a “fairly” or “very” big problem and nearly 15% perceive this same level of hostility toward Jews. Nearly one-quarter of respondents report having been blamed during the past year for the actions of Israel because they were Jewish.
About one-third of college undergraduate respondents report having been verbally harassed during the past year because they were Jewish.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents report having been exposed at one time during the past year to at least one of six antisemitic statements.
Despite a significant number perceiving their campus environment to be hostile to Israel and Jews, students report high levels of connection to Israel. These levels of connection are higher than those found among similar individuals in 2014, before the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Connection to Israel is the strongest predictor of perceiving a hostile environment toward Israel and Jews on campus and, to a lesser extent, of personal experiences of antisemitic verbal harassment. It is likely that those who are highly connected to Israel become a target of antisemitic or anti-Israel sentiment because they make their support for Israel known. It is also likely that those who are more connected to Israel are more sensitive to criticism of Israel, or more likely to perceive such criticism as antisemitic.
And at nearby Harvard University:
Bringing anti-Semitism into the classroom, Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies imported Ali Akbar Alikhani as a visiting professor from the University of Tehran. In a major paper he authored titled “The Conceptual Characteristics of Post-Zionism,”, Alikhani suggests that criticisms of the modern Israeli state are immaterial given the “historical violence of Zionism. Israel is a country that from its inception was based on force, coercion and oppression of others.”
Until the publicity became too intense in 2016, Harvard President Drew Faust Gilpin stonewalled Jewish students requesting a meeting about her administration’s infrastructure of student clubs dedicated to demonizing Israel. Harvard law student and BDS leader Husam El-Coolaq verbally assaulted former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livni with the question: “How is it that you [ Israelis] are so smelly?”
Turning to the University of Massachusetts, we find:
On Monday, Nov. 4, 2019 about 40 faculty members from UMass Boston issued a letter to Kumble Subbaswamy, the chancellor at UMass Amherst, condemning him for speaking out against BDS, a political movement that is turning college campuses into bastions of anti-Jewish contempt. He condemned BDS in response to an anti-Israel event organized by Sut Jhally, chairman of UMass’s communications department.
In case you didn't know about him already, Sut Jhally has a page on the Canary Mission website:
Sut Jhally has promoted anti-Zionism on campus and is the creator of the anti-Israel films: “The Occupation of the American Mind" and “Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land." He has also demonized Israel on social media.
Jhally has reportedly claimed that “the narrative surrounding Israel in the United States is overwhelmingly positive because of the influence of a powerful Israeli lobby" and that U.S. media “is influenced strongly by a public relations arm of the Israeli government that is tantamount to a propaganda mill."The stated intention of Jhally’s films is reportedly to “offer a counter-narrative to challenge that of the United States’ media."
Jhally has presented his films at Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) events, as part of Israel Apartheid Week, on multiple university campuses and at the 2017 Chicago Palestinian Film Festival.
Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) is presented as “an international series of events that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s settler-colonial project and apartheid system over the Palestinian people" and build support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. IAW has been re-named Palestine Awareness Week.
So while all eyes are turned toward neo-Nazis and white supremacists, a new generation of Jew haters is being created on Massachusetts university campuses, as they're being created on university campuses throughout the Western world.
As we've seen in Newton the hatred is also being pushed on younger students:
On July 4, 2019, the NEA held its Annual Meeting and National Education Association Representative Assembly in Texas, where teachers from across the country gathered to vote on New Business Items (NBI) — which are resolutions and policies that determine the work, activism, and teaching practices of NEA’s members for the following year.
Members proposed two business items consecutively in 2018 and 2019 that specifically singled out Israel for condemnation: NBI 92 and NBI 26. They condemned US aid to Israel and claimed that the aid goes toward “apartheid, atrocities, and gross violations of human rights of Palestinian children and families by the State of Israel.”
Fortunately, a majority of the NEA delegates opposed the resolutions and were able to defeat the proposed new business items. However, a loud minority of NEA members seem determined to push the union into incriminating the only nation in the Middle East that scrupulously protects the individual rights of its citizens.
One thing we should have learned about the people making these attempts to insert Israel/Jew hatred into every aspect of American education and life is that they never give up. Yes, the intelligent voices in the NEA stopped it this time, but what few people understand is that while most people treat this issue as a debate, the Israel haters see this as a war against the Jews, one that was begun 1400 years ago, and that will continue until:
the Muslims will fight the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind rocks and trees. Then the rocks and the trees will speak, calling upon the Muslims: "Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill them."
So look for these attempts at co-opting the NEA for anti-Semitic purposes to become an annual event until they finally get their way.
Don't look for the Democratic Party for help in fighting this scourge.
The Democratic 2020 field is a lefty college campus writ large. Even when Democrats try to confront anti-Semitism, their message gets muddled — because they have to be very careful not to show too much support for Israel.
Consider Bernie Sanders’ essay last week on “How to Fight Anti-Semitism” at the Jewish Currents website. It offered no instruction on fighting anti-Semitism, but instead alternated between criticizing Israel and pretending anti-Semitism doesn’t exist on the left.
Sanders limited all discussion of anti-Semitism to fringe white nationalists. He even blamed regular attacks on Jews in Brooklyn on the ideology of a “whites-only America.” In reality, as Armin Rosen reported in an exposé for Tablet, “the perpetrators who have been recorded on CCTV cameras are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic.”
We should all rail against white supremacists. But Sanders doesn’t dare diagnose, much less try to cure, the disease of anti-Semitism spreading among his hard-left comrades.
In short, when it comes to anti-Semitism, the willful blindness will continue. And that's not going to be good for anybody.