The “New” Antisemitism in America’s Universities

What is new about the “new” antisemitism is not the antisemitism, but the fact that it compels Jews to realize that they cannot escape their connection to Israel, because the attack against Zionism inevitably includes them. Israel’s enemies and Israel friends alike regard American Jews as Zionists. American Jews are thus made to understand that distancing themselves from Israel, from the Jewish community, and from Judaism cannot shield them from antisemitism, because non-Jews see all Jews as one people; one family.  

On October 7, 2023, the Israeli military failed to protect Israel’s border with the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.  Thousands of Arab fighters crossed freely into Israel to attack the towns and villages there.  They killed the men, slaughtered the children in front of their mothers, raped the women, and led them naked through the streets of Gaza to be humiliated in public and then beaten to death.  The gruesome Palestinian attack left 1,200 Israelis dead and 200 more kidnapped.

This orgy of Palestinian violence and sadism against Jews produced horror and revulsion in most sectors of American life, and expressions of concern and solidarity with Israelis.  But in the most Progressive venues of American life, the massive Palestinian pogrom in Israel produced celebration and anti-Israel protests.   

As soon as the stomach-turning videos began circulating worldwide on social media, the televised slaughter of Jews in Israel was celebrated by various Progressive organizations in America – Democratic Socialists of America (the largest socialist organization in the United States) and a few labor unions, Black Lives Matter groups, and student clubs in Ivy League universities.   Large American cities soon saw large pro-Palestinian rallies that stunned American news audiences. 

On campus, the national chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine called the spree of murder, rape, torture, and kidnapping “a historic win for the Palestinian resistance.” Progressive professors in Ivy League universities likewise issued grotesque responses – one (Cornell) said the Arab slaughter of Jews that day was “exhilarating,” another (Columbia) saw it as “awesome,” another (Yale) called it “an extraordinary day,” and another (Harvard) blamed Israel for the Palestinian atrocities.  At the Cooper Union (a prestigious New York City college), campus police had to lock a small group of Jewish students in the school library to protect them from pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who then tried to force their way into the library.

In the face of silence and acquiescence from university administrations and academic associations, the scope and volume of campus antisemitism has intensified further since those early days.  Such stark antisemitism leaves American Jews shaken and bewildered about their place in American society generally, and particularly in the Democratic Party.

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