My appearance on Morning Joe: “There’s a phrase that collapse happens slowly then suddenly. For Jewish students on campuses at Cornell and elsewhere, we’re in the suddenly phase of things. This has been building for 20 years.”
I appeared on Morning Joe on MSNBC this morning to discuss Cornell and campus antisemitism. It was a friendly crowd on this topic.
I’m pretty sure this was my first appearance on MSNBC. You can watch the entire segment here, my piece is below:
Transcript (auto-generated, may contain transcription errors)
Willie Geist (00:00):
So, professor, let’s pick that up with you. You’re a law professor, as we said at Cornell, a prestigious Ivy League University. How is it that schools so many schools over the last decade or so that have taken such great care for the safety in many cases, just protecting them from words or protecting them from arguments they don’t like to hear, cannot take care with the physical safety of Jewish students. How can it be that that young student can walk across Harvard’s campus, and as Jonathan [Greenblatt] said, not just be yelled at, but be physically assaulted and those students not be expelled on the spot? What is happening with the leadership at these schools?
There’s a phrase that collapse happens slowly then suddenly. For Jewish students on campuses at Cornell and elsewhere, we’re in the suddenly phase of things. This has been building for 20 years. This is not something that started on campuses on October 7th.
You have a combination of 20 years of gross demonization of Israel by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, and by a lot of Professors. Multiple academic associations have endorsed that, holding Israel out as uniquely evil. You have another thing that’s squeezing Jewish students, which is the racialization of the conflict, where it’s portrayed as a racial justice issue to be against Israel, which we all know is not true.
So you have Jewish students being squeezed, and unfortunately the administrations don’t seem to recognize what’s happening. And in some ways, they have aided and abetting it, abetted it, maybe unknowingly by perpetuating this racial stereotypes on campuses through diversity, equity, and inclusion and other racial doctrines. So Jewish students feel squeezed. But this did not start on October 7th. This has been 20 years in the making on campuses.
Joe Scarborough (01:48):
Professor, I’m so glad you said that because, it’s something I know I’ve been talking about on this network for 20 years. Jewish students, sometimes at Ivy League schools, sometimes at USC, sometimes at state run schools in the middle of America. Jewish students have been targeted for decades. And I’ve just got to ask why. I’ve never really understood this. Why is it that college professors, university presidents, sit back and do nothing? And again, not since October 7th, as you have said, but I talked about Columbia, you know, for years, in 2003, 4, 5, 6, 7, what was going on? The antisemitism going on in that campus from college professors? Why don’t university presidents treat bigotry against Jews the same way they treat bigotry against every other group of students?
They don’t seem to have the moral clarity and strength to stand up to a lot of the activists on campus, particularly the faculty. At Cornell University in just the last decade, there’ve been three boycott resolutions presented to student government, one of which was done over Passover, so the Jewish students wouldn’t be able to be there. And the administrations have been mostly silent about it. Now, Cornell has been good at opposing BDS, but there’s a social justice movement and an activist component of campus, which is not the majority, but Cornell and other universities seem afraid of them. They seem afraid of students showing up at the president’s office, picketing them. And so I think we need leadership at Cornell and elsewhere that recognizes the underlying problem.
I just gotta say how Orwellian the term social justice, these same people who proclaim, themselves, to be champions of social justice.
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