That wasn’t a marketing gimmick to increase enrollments. When asked to affirm that Zionists were welcome on campus in 2017, Wong replied, “that’s one of those categorical statements I can’t get close to . . . Am I comfortable opening up the gates to everyone? Gosh, of course not.” He needed to walk that back.
On Thursday, a day on which rockets were fired at Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip, the College Council of Pitzer College voted overwhelmingly to suspend Pitzer’s study abroad program with the University of Haifa. The council, a board that includes faculty, students, and staff, joins the college’s professoriate, which had already voted to suspend the program in November.
“Americans Stand Apart in Support for Israel,” said Gallup in 2005, the same year that the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel got started. In 2019, this week, the Democratic party found itself at odds internally over a resolution that only implicitly condemned Ilhan Omar for repeatedly invoking anti-Semitic stereotypes. In the end, they succeeded in passing a generalized resolution on hate by pretending that anti-Semitism hardly ever comes from the left.
In 2016, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recorded a record number of attempts to disinvite speakers.
That was the year CIA Director John Brennan couldn’t finish speaking at the University of Pennsylvania because left-wing protesters disapproved of Barack Obama’s CIA. It was the year that Janet Mock, a “black, native Hawaiian trans woman and activist,” pulled out of an event at Brown University because left-wing protesters were upset that Hillel, which to their mind deserved to be ostracized for its attachment to Israel, was one of the numerous co-sponsors. Left-wing protesters also tried to drive out the usual suspects, including Ben Shapiro and Charles Murray
On November 10, 1975, Daniel Patrick Moynihan spoke to the UN General Assembly, which had just passed Resolution 3379. The resolution declared Zionism “a form of racism.” In response, Moynihan said, the “abomination of anti-Semitism has been given the appearance of international sanction.”
A preposterous lie had been perpetrated by the General Assembly: that the term “racist” described a national movement distinguished by its conviction that anyone born of a Jewish mother, or any convert to Judaism, regardless of race, was part of the Jewish people. The General Assembly had also perpetrated an obscene lie: that the national movement of a people decimated by the Nazis was akin to Nazism.
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!