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Commentary by Charles Lipson originally published by RealClearPolitics and RealClearWire
It is time for blunt talk. Jewish students at universities are being harassed and threatened in unprecedented numbers, with disturbing vitriol. That’s more than a danger for those students. It is a profound danger for a liberal, tolerant democracy. It is time to call it out and oppose it. It’s time to end it.
The attacks and violent demonstrations shine a particularly harsh light on the sorry state of higher education. The public has watched mass demonstrations against Israel on campus after campus. The demonstrators never mention the victims of the Hamas massacres, never condemn the terrorists, and often go beyond their support for innocent Palestinians to cheer Hamas.
University leaders, who postured on every fashionable issue, have responded with bland, spineless statements. It’s no surprise that parents are rethinking which universities their children should attend, and major donors are doubting whether universities are worthy of their support.
For Jewish students, these threats are real. They face harassment, intimidation, and bullying. The situation has been deteriorating for years, but the scale and ferocity of the harassment rose dramatically after Hamas launched its terror attack.
When some brave students have spoken out in Israel’s defense, they have faced the jackboots of campus bullies. Instead of protecting those students, universities have abandoned their fundamental duty to ensure a safe environment and promote open discourse about serious issues. The situation is most toxic at elite universities and schools in major cities, where anti-Israeli students are reinforced by angry local activists.
It is too mild to say, “This is the gravest, most antisemitic environment Jewish students have faced in recent years.” It’s worse than that. This is the most hostile environment Jewish students have ever faced in America.
Never before have Jewish students been subjected to this kind of venom simply for their heritage. True, their admission was limited by quotas until the mid-1960s. True, they were denied membership in fraternities and sororities and routinely excluded from the faculty. But they were never subjected to this kind of raw hatred. As the Dean of Berkeley’s law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, a man of the left, put it, “Nothing has prepared me for the antisemitism I see on college campuses now.”
This open hatred puts the lie to three oft-told “justifications” for violence and intimidation on campus.
*It is just aimed at Israel, not at Jews.
*It is just aimed at creating a Palestinian state, not eliminating the Jewish one.
*It is just aimed at Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks.
None of those are true.
Read the entire commentary here.
Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.