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Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: “Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar”

Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: “Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar”

“the past two years have transformed a prestigious institution into a parody ripe for ridicule”

For the past two years we have been reporting on extreme anti-Israelism veering into anti-Semitism at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY.

We have relentlessly documented a series of shocking events. Among other things, in 2014 Jewish students who stood up at a campus-wide forumwere mocked and jeered by a raucous crowd of students and faculty, a class was picketed and a professor forced to cross a picket line of ululating students because the course involved a trip to Israel (and the West Bank), Students for Justice in Palestine posted a Nazi cartoon on social media, and pro-Israel displays were vandalized.

Just recently, a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution campaign kick-off by SJP and Jewish Voice for Peace, followed by a faculty-sponsored event at which Israel was accused of engaging in an experiment to “stunt” Palestinian bodies, led to anti-Semitic messages on campus Yik-Yak. Just recently, SJP sold t-shirts honoring Palestinian airplane hijacker Leila Khalid.

The reaction from the Vassar President to alumni complaints and concerns was to blame the messenger, accusing “online publications” and “social media” of mischaracterizing the campus atmosphere.

The Vassar administration is going to have some more explaining to do to alumni, parents and prospective students after an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal tonight, which includes a link to Legal Insurrection’s reporting about a recent speech by Rutgers Associate Professor Jasbir Puar.

The authors are two prestigious academics. Mark Yudof is former president of the University of California, and chairman of the Academic Engagement Network, where Kenneth Waltzer, professor of history emeritus at Michigan State University, is the executive director. AEN opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel and promotes freedom of speech on college campuses.

Here is an excerpt — read the whole thing.

Majoring in Anti-Semitism at Vassar:

Anti-Israel sentiment mixed with age-old anti-Semitism has reached a fever pitch at Vassar College. It is time that faculty and administrators take a stand against this toxic brew on behalf of academic values.

The campus of this private liberal-arts college in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has experienced more than its share of anti-Israel activity. In the spring of 2014, the boycott of a course in the International Studies Program—because it involved a trip to Israel—included heckling students and picketing the class. During the fall of 2015, attempts were made to boycott Sabra hummus because the maker of this popular food is partly owned by an Israeli food company.

The most recent incident was a talk on Feb. 3 by Jasbir Puar, a Rutgers associate professor of women’s and gender studies. The address, “Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters,” was sponsored by eight Vassar departments and programs, including Jewish Studies and American Studies.

Ms. Puar began by exhorting the students to support a boycott of Israel as part of “armed” resistance. As reported by several in attendance at the speech—the professor introducing her requested that it not be recorded—Ms. Puar passed on vicious lies that Israel had “mined for organs for scientific research” from dead Palestinians—updating the medieval blood libel against Jews—and accused Israelis of attempting to give Palestinians the “bare minimum for survival” as part of a medical “experiment.”

When asked, she agreed with a questioner that Israeli treatment of Palestinians amounted to genocide but objected to the term itself, which she said was too “tethered to the Holocaust.”

Ms. Puar’s speech was co-sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program, yet faculty members of the program remained silent in the audience during the event. This is a testament to the spell that anti-Israel dogma, no matter its veracity, has spread over the campus.

Wild charges against Israel have often been aired on U.S. campuses over the past several years, and their moral perversity pointed out. But Ms. Puar’s calumnies reached a new low. She spoke of Jews deliberately starving Palestinians, “stunting” and “maiming” a population. The false accusation that a people, some of whose members were experimented on at Auschwitz, are today experimenting on others is a disgrace.

Yet characterizing Israel and Zionism in ways that anti-Semites formerly characterized Jews has become a stock in trade among anti-Israeli activists on college campuses. And it exposes the real motivation of those who profess to criticize only the Israeli government’s policies with regard to the West Bank, not Jews themselves.

Now there is a resolution before the Vassar student union, in part seeking a boycott of Ben & Jerry’s, on the grounds that the company—founded by two Jews—sells ice-cream “transported on Jewish-only roads to be sold in Jewish-only settlements.” This is part of a broader divest-from-Israel resolution to be voted on this spring, which also includes other U.S. companies.

These events are transforming a prestigious institution into a parody ripe for ridicule—a place embarrassing to prominent alumni and worrisome for prospective Jewish students.

[Featured Image: Cropped version of Nazi Poster posted on social media by Vassar Students for Justice in Palestine.]


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Along with Oxford, a clear picture emerges.

Time for the tide to change, as perhaps we are seeing in the UK and with anti-BDS actions by states and businesses.

We’ve seen this movie before. The “Elite” of a nation begin to show us the reason behind an international problem and then show us the cure. In previous eras it was the Jews and the solution was eradication. Now because the oppressed have have not only fought back but won they are now the perpetrators! In any other time they would have been hailed as victors over the bully and lionized as true heroes. Not with today’s academe nor with the spoiled middle class students who have been told that any group that has failed to attain any social status and economic equality is a victim. Blacks, muslims and any Middle Eastern exile is the victim and the Israelis are the monsters. How in the hell did this ever occur? Without an outside common enemy the shallow mind of the unopressed chooses the victim role over the valiant because they have never experienced either victory nor defeat of anything greater than a failing grade in art appreciation. These simpletons do not understand that the survival of Israel is not abstract but visceral. They do not get that at any moment of your family’s picnic there can be rockets crashing down on you. They do not understand that waiting for the red light to change can mean getting stabbed by a muslim. Or shopping in the grocery store or at the movies. Our “Dissidents” don’t understand that the Israeli people don’t have a “Safe zone”. But it will not change until the idiots who are now welcoming the fox into the hen house lose a few hens before they get it.

    You ponder, ‘how did this happen.’ It’s easy: create a moral and informational vacuum, and it’ll get filled with fascist lunatics.

    George H.W. Bush did it in his first term, and the vacuum got filled by freak named Bill Clinton. George W. Bush and his idiot-in-chief Karl Rove mastered it into a high art, and their vacuum got filled with a freak being called ‘Barack Hussein Obama’ and a democrat congress, headed by another freak named Nancy Pelosi.

    People who silently sacrificed their children’s minds (and futures) to the freaks running the moral and intellectual hell-holes that are American schools should driven mad by having ear buds permanently glued into ears with a 110db looped soundtrack of Hillary Clinton shrieking ( – or a 120db loop of Obama speeches – they get their pick.)

      stevewhitemd in reply to | February 18, 2016 at 7:34 am

      Blaming Bush 41 and Bush 43 for failings that led to the election of their successors is the sort of morally vacuous thinking that is being decried with reference to Vassar.

      Your ‘logic’ would make Ms. Paur smile.

      It may be that the good people of this country have been inattentive. But the blame falls on those who do wrong. Blaming the Bushes for what their successors did makes you just another social justice wanker.

That a university can be so far off tangent from it’s intended purpose, to educate and freely exchange ideas, is quite saddening.

Political correctness run amok allows this to occur, and if a group is not part of the “protected group of the day”, then it can be subjected to worst kinds of persecution, all in the name of “Social justice”.

I find it disheartening that those of Jewish ethnicity or religious belief are constantly put into situations where they are fearful for their lives based upon the promulgation of lies, at a University no less. It’s disgraceful.

The professors are more in fear of hurting the delicate snowflakes in their classrooms because of this kind of social justice stupidity.

Vassar has become a breeding ground for the Lord of the Flies. The Children are running the asylum while the professors look on dumbfounded.

    Lee Jan in reply to Paul. | February 18, 2016 at 7:03 am

    The Weather Underground comes to mind. And of course, the SDS. Remember these violent trust fund babies from the 60s.

Honestly, what’s the mystery? Leftist fascists have long-plotted (and positioned themselves) for a takeover of our schools. We just sat by and watched. Same with our government.

It’s time to do to the American educational system what Trump and Cruz have done to the GOP establishment.

It’s also time to do the same thing to the fake American news media. It should simply be boycotted. Same with the democrat entertainment/propaganda media. (If you pay to go to the movies or watch network television, you’re as culpable as a parent sending their children to intellectual slaughter in our schools.)

Egypt’s borders to Gaza and the West Bank are also closed. Why aren’t these closures protested?

Gee, I thought Vassar was a women’s college. Is the guy pictured a male lesbian?

luminescentspirit | February 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

I am proud of Vassar College for having the courage to bring this argument to public consciousness. I am proud to say that I was taught at Vassar how to think – not what to think. There is a crucial difference. Learning how to debate, and learning how to see both sides is crucial for truth and understanding. There seems to be a lot of allegedly liberal progressive bullying going on by certain factions that want to control public thought and manipulate public opinion. The academic world is not immune to such tendencies. Though I am told there is freedom of speech, I live in a society where i am not allowed to express my observations – or challenge prevailing notions – for they will be considered accusations. I live in a culture now where the terms anti semitic, racist, and homophobic, are being used as redemption tickets to deflect truth, and prevent objective discourse on the complexity of any dilemma. If you are not for Israel, you are considered Anti Semitic. If you defend the policeman who arrested a thug of color, you are a racist. If you question the line between liberty and licentious in the gay rights movement, you are accused of of being homophoebic. The news media seems to promote such salacious propaganda. It is odd to me that the anti defamation league only seems to defame whites, and particularly christians, many of whom fought during the sixties and seventies for civil rights, gay rights, and against anti semitism. While such imperatives have made incredible headway, some lament that at present, there doesn’t seem to be Equality as much as there is favoritism bestowed upon those once imperiled factions. And those that have ascended andattained power are using it to Hate and acquire more power…The core ethos of Christianity, which is seminal to the occidental world, and the openness of our country to welcome all, regardless of race, creed, or religious preference, demands a love of the other…But what happens when the love of the other becomes destructive to self? That is the challenge Shakespeare subtly anticipated and dilineated, and what the western world is facing now – where cultures are being strangled and destroyed by “the Other.” And when mentality and intellect are manipulated and distorted by the Other.

The point i am making is that i am proud that vassar is having a dialogue. Inquiry and understanding requires dialectic, not domination, nor tyranny or suppression…Peace lies in the capacity to understand and honor the other, not in subordinating or worse, vanquishing through victory…