Victor Davis Hanson observes that “…colleges are becoming the incubators of progressive hatred of Jews…” This is concerning but does it ring true? Is higher education working to make anti-Semitism respectable again? Are we seeing a rise of racism? Certainly there is an appearance of a growing culture of intolerance on campuses across America.
Requirements of education…
An environment in which free speech is really encouraged is an environment of intellectual neutrality. It is a place of intellectual humility. One in which there is conviction that there is truth to be discovered. At an institution of higher education it is vital to have access to all points of view. That is how one approaches truth through open communication with tolerance exhibited and debate respected.
Education is a weapon we use in the war against poverty, ignorance, intolerance and sickness. We use it to create a path to prosperity, a better standard of living. We hope with more knowledge will come wisdom. When used as intended we find tolerance, creativity and advancement. But… weapons often are not used as intended, for good.
Media coverage represents growing anti-Semitism on campuses. It is hard to understand if it is the coverage or the campus attitudes changing. The appearance is that the institutions themselves are taking a position in support of intolerance. The perception is that anti-Semitism comes mainly from two groups. It comes from Leftists and pro-Palestinian groups.
Dion Pierre wrote in the Daily Signal that, “Oberlin College professor Joy Karega asserted in November 2016 that U.S. intelligence agencies conspired with Israel to commit the Charlie Hebdo massacre… Stanford University student and resident assistant Hamzeh Daoud declared in July 2018 his intent to “physically fight Zionists on campus…” In April 2018, professor Kwame Zulu Shabazz of Knox College tweeted that Jews are “pulling the strings for profit.”
Campus black nationalists’ affinity for anti-Semitic tropes emerged in April 2019 at Berkley. A black “student leader” said at a student meeting that “the [Israel Defense Forces] trains the police departments in America to kill black people.” The liberation of blacks and Palestinians were “intertwined” because Zionists support the “prison industrial complex,” “prison militarization” and “modern-day slavery…”
An Ohio jury has recently ruled that Oberlin College must pay the proprietors of a local bakery $11.2 million. The money is damages for libel, slander, and other disruptions. The college caused harm to the business by encouraging false charges of racism.
Do these stories testify to the interconnectedness of racism and anti-Semitism? Isn’t college where students are nourished in dispassionate reasoning, intellectual seriousness, and a desire to pursue truth? Is higher education showing it’s meeting its responsibility? We spend a lot of money for the product these institutions produce. What is it we are actually supporting?