Once again, a student group at the University of Michigan has put forth a resolution to the Central Student Government asking the university Board of Regents to divest from several companies “that violate Palestinian human rights.” This is the eleventh resolution in 15 years; all preceding attempts have been voted down or failed. Nevertheless, a vocal minority chooses again to force this issue, and the whole campus must therefore enter once more into the land of futile effort and escalated inter-group division.
Member Writings and Interviews
There is nothing natural about tolerating the views of others. If someone stands, as today’s righteous say, on “the wrong side of history,” why refrain from shutting him up? Yes, Justice Holmes warned against “attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death.” But it is a wonder that this dissenting view became conventional American wisdom. It is a wonder, too, that as a young man and proud Jew I was taught to think that neo-Nazis should be permitted to march on a public street in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in the United States. One can reject this teaching. One cannot deny that it is remarkable and fragile.
After the appearance of anti-Semitic posters last week at various locations across campus, students gathered on Wednesday to discuss anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism on college campuses.
The excellent Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is out with a new survey of student attitudes toward free speech.
FIRE’s release comes soon after John Villasenor of the Brookings Institute published the results of a survey he commissioned, which suggested that “freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses.” Anyone paying attention to the steady stream of reports of students shouting speakers down and even disrupting classrooms will not be surprised by that conclusion. But surveys help tell us whether we are dealing with the attitudes of an obnoxious few or a wider disregard for freedom of speech among students.
Donna Robinson Divine argues that the Zionist nation-building story, while inspiring, does not reflect the trials, pains and losses of the nameless immigrants who deferred their own happiness to advance the Zionist cause in the years after the Balfour Declaration.
This summer, Nazi symbols and the slogan “Jews will not replace us” at a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, generated a rare clarifying moment in an otherwise politically scrambled time. Since the United States led the Allies to victory in the Second World War and the Nuremburg Trials condemned the perpetrators of genocide, Nazism has been the most powerful symbol of evil in our culture and Jews its most identifiable victims.
Why do so many so-called progressives cry out against Zionism while accepting so much violence against women elsewhere int he Middle East?
In the name of social justice and diversity, students at elite colleges are casting aside the very works that probe those topics so deeply. The central authors of the Western tradition—from Plato and Aristotle to Mill and Orwell—are no longer part of the required curriculum in the social sciences and the humanities. Their absence carries a high price.
Concrete barriers were erected and a security perimeter was created around six buildings, all reinforced by hundreds of police officers. Weapons, backpacks, helmets, and masks were forbidden. This was not some distant capital in a war zone. This was the University of California at Berkeley last night.
The first eight months of Trump create a dilemma for a historian of modern German history. If you raise the specter of Hitler, ask what Trump has in common with fascism in the past and make comparisons to the emergence of the German dictatorship from the collapse of Weimar democracy, a chorus erupts about the misuse of historical analogies. If you focus on the differences between the United States in 2017 and Germany in 1933 and offer reassurances about American checks and balances another chorus bemoans your complacency and facile optimism. In reality both choruses are speaking up within me, keeping me up at night and asking how I can best to be true to my vocation as a scholar and my responsibilities as a citizen.