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College Insurrection Tag

Concentrated, intense anti-Israel activity at Vassar College in early 2014 resulted in gross displays of anti-Jewish hostility, as I documented at the time, Anti-Israel academic boycott turns ugly at Vassar. Thirty-nine Vassar professors signed a letter in the student newspaper supporting the academic boycott of Israel, and aggressive protests by Students for Justice in Palestine created a pervasive climate of fear on campus. When I was invited by a student group to speak on campus, no academic department would co-sponsor my appearance despite the fact that several departments co-sponsored the appearance the week before of the anti-Israel activists Ali Abunimah and Max Blumenthal. The hostility following my appearance on campus was so intense that Vassar SJP circulated on social media a Nazi cartoon. Since then, there has been near continuous anti-Israel activism on campus, including an appearance by the leader of national Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and a dining hall boycott of Sabra Hummus (which later was reversed).

In January 2015, we reported on how anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement supporters hijacked a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event on the San Mateo Bridge. Some Stanford students turned a Black Lives Matter march into an anti-Israel event by unfurling a huge Palestinian Flag on the bridge span at its highest point.  Hundreds of motorists were trapped, and they caused accidents. One of the key activists involved was Kristian Davis Bailey, a leader of attempt to demonize Israel by tying Zionism to problems of non-whites in the U.S. through the theory of "intersectionality." [caption id="attachment_113857" align="alignnone" width="600"] [January 2015, San Mateo Bridge, image via Farah Salazar Twitter][/caption]It is a highly racist approach, seeking to exploit racial tensions by portraying Israel -- and Israel alone -- as the cause of problems it has nothing to do with. As we saw recently in Chicago at an LGBT conference and Oberlin College, because "intersectionality" theory portrays Israel as uniquely evil in the world, the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism quickly blurs. This year, we are aware of two attempts to co-opt the memory of Dr. King by putting on anti-Israel events as part of MLK Day activities. There likely were many more that we don't know about. At George Mason University, the MLK Day Program featured and event by Students Against Israeli Apartheid showing an anti-Israel film.

University of Missouri professor Melissa Click who famously called for "some muscle" to remove a student journalist from a campus protest was charged with assault on Monday and has now been suspended. Reuters reports:
Missouri suspends professor who called for 'muscle' against student reporter A University of Missouri communications professor who called for "some muscle" to get a student journalist to back off during campus protests in November, was suspended by the school on Wednesday, days after she was charged with misdemeanor assault. The university's board of curators said Melissa Click was suspended with pay pending further investigation and it ordered an investigation to determine promptly whether additional discipline would be appropriate.

On December 15, 2015, Legal Insurrection broke the story of the 14-page demand list prepared on behalf of the Black Student Union at Oberlin College. The list was a pity party of racial and class gripes, some of which were comical, some of which were quite nasty (like the demand to boycott Israel). The 14-page demand list was separate and apart from the much-mocked dining hall petition complaining about the lack of fried chicken on Friday nights and cultural appropriation of dishes such as General Tso's chicken. But the nastiest part was that the students demanded the firing of various professors and staff, and the promotion to tenure or tenure track of others. Seriously. Oberlin's President Marvin Krislov has just posted his response to the Demands, which now are on the Oberlin website . I think it would be fair to characterized the response as a complete rejection of the notion of unilateral Demands and attempts to interfere in the employment of faculty and staff.

We covered this a few days ago at College Insurrection but the story has gone national. This all springs from a report by the Council of Trustees and Alumni called A Crisis in Civic Education. Among many troubling findings, the report revealed:
There is a crisis in American civic education. Survey after survey shows that recent college graduates are alarmingly ignorant of America’s history and heritage. They cannot identify the term lengths of members of Congress, the substance of the First Amendment, or the origin of the separation of powers. They do not know the Father of the Constitution, and nearly 10% say that Judith Sheindlin—“Judge Judy”—is on the Supreme Court.

Oberlin College is an institution in turmoil over the past several years, and anti-Israel activism is part of the problem. Now, over 200 alumni are claiming the anti-Israel activism has created a hostile environment for Jews, and the alumni are demanding the college take action to address the problem. The issue of when anti-Israelism crosses into anti-Semitism is a hot topic on campuses recently because of the very aggressive tactics of anti-Israel campus groups, and the intense demonization of Israel. "Intersectionality" analysis is used by anti-Israel activists to try to co-opt the Black Lives Matter movement and other similar movements:
Every real or perceived problem is either blamed on or connected to Israel. The concerted effort to turn the Black Lives Matter movement into an anti-Israel movement has at its core the claim that Israel is the root of problems of non-whites in the United States. Thus, if a police chief somewhere attended a one-week anti-terrorism seminar in Israel years ago, every act of brutality by a cop on the beat is blamed on Israel.
When City University of New York Students for Justice in Palestine, for example, tried to turn the Million Student March into an anti-Israel event and blamed high tuition on Zionists, the CUNY Vice Chancellor called it “thinly-veiled bigotry, prejudice, anti-Semitism.” At Vassar College, SJP circulated a Nazi cartoon after weeks of anti-Israel activism that included picketing a course which involved travel to Israel. Prof. Miriam Elman laid out the history and analysis in Fighting The Hate: When Does Anti-Israel Become Anti-Semitic? As described below, it appears Oberlin may need to go through a similar self-evaluation.

2015 was a big year in campus news and we covered pretty much all of it at College Insurrection, which makes it difficult to pick just 10 posts so I'm going to focus on stuff that made me laugh. Here goes: 10. Holyoke College Cancels the ‘Vagina Monologues’ for Not Being Feminist Enough 9. University of Michigan Students Were Questioned About Free Speech — With Alarming Results 8. Liberal Academia Needs The “Old Yeller Treatment” 7. Appalachian State University Publicly Shames ‘Privileged’ Students 6. Oberlin College Choir Creates Brilliant Musical Parody About ‘Triggered’ Students

Scrolling through our Oberlin College tag presents a very sorry recent history of the campus. The Great Oberlin College Racism Hoax of 2013 was not used an opportunity to examine the campus grievance culture, but rather, as an excuse to to advance “even more extreme policies”. A student wrote to me at the time:
I’d like to personally thank you for your coverage of the Oberlin hate hoax. Many students… have been following your site and are glad that somebody is helping to get the word out about the Oberlin administration’s response. The Daily Caller story just grazes the surface of what really happened. The administration didn’t just allow students to live in fear, they actually used that fear to get students to push for even more extreme policies on campus. Many students formed into “working groups” to propose solutions for “institutional change”, nearly all of which have been approved by the administration and are being enacted.

It's that time of the week again. Let's look back at the last seven days in blogging. Of course, there was plenty of political news. The media became the story a couple of times.