The nation’s college campuses have created a climate of hate.
A report released Monday by the Combat Antisemitism Movement in partnership with the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University in Israel found that antisemitism has exploded in U.S. higher education.
The numbers are shocking, but not surprising.
The report found that in the fourth quarter of 2023, from October through December, there was a 1,753% increase in far-left incidents of antisemitism and a 268% increase of Islamist antisemitic incidents on college campuses since the previous quarter.
That obviously stems in no small part from the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.
A news release from the Combat Antisemitism Movement said that nearly all the antisemitic incidents were “tied to anti-Zionist forms of antisemitism and the conflation of worldwide Jewry with the state of Israel.”
The report confirms what many already assumed, but there are a few things worth noting here.
First, it’s absurd to contend that this increase in antisemitism is a general societal problem, as witnesses at the now infamous congressional hearing on antisemitism in higher education suggested.
Polls show overwhelming U.S. support for Israel. The older the American, the more likely they are to support Israel. While there has certainly been an increase in antisemitic incidents in general since Oct. 7, it’s on a whole other level in the ivory tower.
Americans didn’t suddenly become frothing antisemites after Oct. 7, but college campuses and left-wing enclaves did.
Second, it’s also incorrect to suggest that antisemitism stems from mere ignorance. Sure, plenty of the Hamas-supporting activists in so-called higher education are uninformed lunkheads. However, their hate doesn’t stem from a simple misunderstanding. Instead, it comes from ideology.
There’s a reason for the curious overlap between dedicated supporters of Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian cause, for instance.
In his 2021 forward to Frantz Fanon’s “The Wretched of the Earth,” a foundational book on the concept of “decolonialism,” left-wing academic Cornel West noted that the “Black Lives Matter movement and the Palestinian Lives Matter movement” aligned with the anti-Israel “boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts.”
Why is that?
It’s because hatred of Jews and Israel stems from the Left’s general categorization of the world into oppressor and oppressed groups. They further see this as a global struggle between “colonizers” and the “colonized,” and between the “Third World” and “the West.”
Those positions were promoted by Marxist thinkers throughout the Cold War. They’ve now been repurposed to fit the needs of the modern Left.
Does it matter that Jews have historically faced discrimination? Not at all. They are now aligned with “white supremacy,” according to this mindset. Until Israel is eliminated, its people killed or scattered to the wind, the far Left will always treat Jews as oppressors whenever the Israel-Palestinian issue comes up.
It’s why when acts of terrorism are perpetrated against Israelis, many on the Left actually blame Israel. This is about structural forces and fighting oppressors. Hamas terrorists can’t really be held culpable for their acts of evil, you see.
No amount of violence toward Jews or pleading that they’ve been oppressed, too, will matter if you embrace this ideology.
Just look at this San Francisco city council hearing and the left-wing activists’ behavior toward a Jewish man who lost relatives to terrorists in the Oct. 7 attack.
It’s clear that where antisemitism is festering and exploding most obviously is among the young, the woke, and the (allegedly) highly educated—or more specifically, those most likely to have gone through our university system.
On college campuses, such people are in the driver’s seat. They represent the established church of higher education. They are the beating heart of the “great awokening,” cultivated and protected by vast college campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion administrations.
When the activists get out ahead of their skis, as they did after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, you can count on university presidents to come up with mealy-mouthed calls for free speech to both avoid provoking their allies and to give them cover from outside criticism.
Harvard University’s response to the surge in antisemitism has been particularly revealing. Those who run Harvard apparently care so little about the outrage toward antisemitism on their campus that they chose a professor who called Israel a “regime of apartheid” to lead their pointless task force on antisemitism.
Jewish history professor Derek Penslar, the man leading the task force, has called the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement a “a reasonable position” and clearly leans into the “settler colonialism” framework to analyze the state of Israel.
That’s the level of contempt they have for their critics. They clearly don’t take the congressional investigation seriously, either.
This all explains why elite universities won’t willingly reform from the inside.
The dominant and nearly exclusive worldview that pervades the most elite campuses is what fueled the rise in antisemitism. It’s that simple.
The most you can expect without real political and financial pressure is for them to create more meaningless task forces that waste time in an attempt to get donors and the public off their backs.
As long as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, there will be rampant, unapologetic antisemitism on college campuses.
The only thing that will get it to subside from the inside is if the media news cycle changes and they find some other element of Western society to hate and tear down.
Higher education in America has been rotting from within for a long time. After Oct. 7, that became impossible for all but dedicated leftists to ignore.
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