When it comes to anti-Semitism on the left, the political scientist Mira Sucharov can be too cautious. In 2016, after a speaker at Vassar College gave what seemed to me and many others an obviously anti-Semitic talk, Sucharov seemed to agree. Sure, the claim that Israelis delay returning the bodies of Palestinians because it takes time to harvest their organs “quacks like an infamous anti-Semitic myth,” she wrote. But that doesn’t make it anti-Semitic. Huh?
In 2012, the University Chicago released a Statement on Principles of Free Expression, which is an antidote to activist demands that institutions of higher learning disinvite, shut down, or shout down invited campus speakers like Heather Mac Donald, a wrong-thinker on Black Lives Matter, or Christina Hoff Sommers, a wrong-thinker on feminism.
The faculty of Pitzer College, a small elite California school, has turned a critical eye toward the college’s study abroad programs. That makes sense. After all, they’ve got one in China where, according to the State Department, the government restricts “political and social discourse at colleges, universities, and research institutes.” Academic subjects “deemed politically sensitive,” such as civil rights, are “off limits.” I mean, Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to turn the academy into a “stronghold that adheres to party leadership.” That doesn’t sound very Pitzer at all!
Imagine yourself at the therapist’s office. “Doc,” you say, “there are invisible forces pressing down on me. I’m too weak to save myself!” The therapist replies, “You’re right. The danger is everywhere.” You ask, “What should I do?” The therapist replies, “Hide. But that’s a temporary solution. Unite with other victims and crush the sadistic fascists who run the show. It’s a long shot, but… sorry, our hour is up.”
Today, thanks to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, launched in 2005, campuses around the world are treated every year to Israeli Apartheid Week. The plan, orchestrated by an array of student and non-student organizations, and aided by academic departments that host breathtakingly dishonest anti-Israel speakers, is to depict Israel as just like apartheid-era South Africa.
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) was officially launched in 2005 in a statement whose author was identified as “Palestinian civil society.” Among the statement’s demands were these: that Israel end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” dismantle the West Bank security wall built during the second intifada, recognize the “rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and promote the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. To compel Israel’s submission to these demands, it called for “broad boycotts” and “divestment initiatives” akin to those levied against apartheid-era South Africa.