Bigoted brutes use physical violence. Academic intolerance is just as much a form of abuse, using classrooms as priests used their pulpits to demonize the Jews and incite the masses.
For generations, Jews experienced the horrors of the pogroms, periodic outbreaks of hatred and street mob violence. Western society is now more civilized, the street thugs replaced by intellectuals and liberals; the physical violence substituted with abuse and intimidation in the realm of academia.
As universities return from their winter breaks and the Christian holiday season, Jewish and pro-Israel students and academics brace for the daily antagonism they face for simply having a different opinion. This culminates in what has now become a tradition – Israeli Apartheid Week events on campuses, during which Israel is vilified. Jewish students and anyone pro-Israel are harassed in the same venues that hold the concept of “safe-spaces” so dear. For everyone except Jews that is.
The people who are opposed to and offended by racism, White Supremacists or the KKK, are the same ones who will cooperate and join hands with hatred and genocidal Islamic religious extremism directed at Jews and the State of Israel. They cooperate with open and violent bigotry in the guise of academic freedom.
They would be the first ones to rightfully shut down as “hate speech” any conference devoted to proving that black people have lower IQs, for evicting all illegal Hispanics from the nation, or that promote the view that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Yet they are the very same people who never seem to express any objections when campus hooligans disrupt and harass talks by Israeli diplomats and rallies by Jewish students. They tolerate the onslaught of propaganda, lies and slander aimed at delegitimizing Israel, promoting incitement and hatred
If the opposition to the Israeli position was only limited to the open space on campus, you could excuse it as an element of freedom of speech. The travesty is that the classroom, the place meant to be the sanctuary of the free flow and exchange of ideas, has very often become an arena dedicated to vilifying Israel and suppressing the truth by academic professors and lecturers. In similar fashion to times when priests used their pulpits to demonize the Jews and incite the masses.
Silencing Israel’s narrative through academic intimidation and boycotts is in effect an intellectual pogrom. Isolating and falsely demonizing Israel as a pariah state or an international outlaw, or as being beyond the pale, is no more than an attempt to cast the Jewish people into an academic and intellectual ghetto, aimed at ethnically cleansing the Jewish narrative from the legitimate debate on the Middle East.
While bigoted brutes use physical violence, academic intolerance is just as much a form of abuse and intimidation. As with the abuse of women, there is no difference between physical and mental abuse. Abuse is anything that hurts you, either mentally, physically or emotionally, and is usually carried out by a person in a position of authority.
Academia has gone even further with the enmity to Israel, falsely accusing Israel of breaching international law. They mobilize as part of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement to turn Israeli academics into intellectual pariahs by excluding them from the intellectual marketplace of ideas. It is a one-dimensional approach seeking to silence Israel’s narrative with boycotts and arrest warrants.
These myths they propagate become widespread on the blogosphere, with groups on Facebook, threads on Twitter and countless videos on YouTube forming the basis of a digital pogrom against the Jewish narrative, whereby social media and on-line networking are employed to make the demonization of Israel part and parcel of mainstream discourse.
This process of delegitimization is an affront to freedom of speech, a fundamental right in a democracy.
They do this to no other country. Not to Syrian academics; not to Iranian or Saudi Arabian academics; not North Korean academics; not the scholars of many other countries with despotic regimes and a prevailing absence of human and civil rights, not to mention academic freedom. Only Israeli academics.
Saudi, Iranian and Qatari money creating seats on Middle East Centers and Studies make it profitable for academics who vilify Israel. Just as European governments make it profitable for self proclaimed human rights groups and Israeli organizations to vilify Israel and its legitimate and natural acts of self defense.
Financial gain is not the only incentive. Political indoctrination and the attempt to push a political agenda at all costs have contaminated the intellectual integrity of the most honorable and respected academic institutions. Moral cowardice of those who run the institutions allows this hatred of Jews and Israel to run rampant.
Very often these academic centers are commissioned by state legislators to create the curriculum for high schools in their state. Thus, the academic’s warped interpretation of events in the Middle East and animosity towards Israel is spread to a younger generation. A generation that lacks the knowledge or intellectual capacity to understand and oppose the hateful indoctrination they are being manipulated by. Most grotesquely, taxpayer’s money is used to perpetuate the anti-Israel bias.
The creation and existence of a Jewish State has made the unbridled violence against Jews a thing of the past. Israel is both a sanctuary and a defense for Jews the world over. The animosity to Jews has not subsided though, with liberal intellectuals now filling the role of Cossacks and Nazis.
Daniel Seaman is the editor of the English edition of Mida.org Online magazine
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