“today the most hostile place to be an American Jew is not at some formerly restricted country club but on a college campus”
I don’t agree with David Brooks very often, but he is right about this.
From the New York Times:
Universities Are Failing at Inclusion
Over the past five weeks, Jewish students on America’s campuses have found themselves confronted with those who celebrate a terrorist operation that featured the mass murder and reportedly the rape of fellow Jews. They see images of people tearing down posters of kidnapped Jewish children. At M.I.T., Jewish students report that they were told by some faculty members to avoid the university’s main lobby — which had been the site of a pro-Palestinian protest — for their own safety. At Cooper Union, Jewish students were barricaded in the library by a protest that started out as a pro-Palestinian demonstration and quickly became, one student reported, “pure anti-Jew.”
Rabbi Nomi Manon, who has directed the Hillel at the University at Albany since 2011, told The Albany Times-Union, “Every Jewish student that I talk to feels a sense of impending doom, anxiety, fear or anger about the really marked rise in antisemitism.” Shabbos Kestenbaum, who is a graduate student at the Harvard Divinity School, told The Forward, “The past few weeks have been the most isolating, saddening, maddening experience I’ve ever had.”
Universities are supposed to be centers of inquiry and curiosity — places where people are tolerant of difference and learn about other points of view. Instead, too many have become brutalizing ideological war zones, so today the most hostile place to be an American Jew is not at some formerly restricted country club but on a college campus.
How on earth did this happen? I’ve been teaching on college campuses off and on for 25 years. It’s become increasingly evident to me that American adolescence and young adulthood — especially for those who wind up at elite schools — now happen within a specific kind of ideological atmosphere.
It centers on a hard-edged ideological framework that has been spreading in high school and college, on social media, in diversity training seminars and in popular culture. The framework doesn’t have a good name yet. It draws on the thinking of intellectuals ranging from the French philosopher Michel Foucault to the critical race theorist Derrick Bell. (For a good intellectual history, I recommend Yascha Mounk’s recent book, “The Identity Trap.”)
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