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‘Jews=vermin’ of the 1930s is ‘Israel=settler colonial violence’ of the 2020s

Both are the ideology that justifies the mass murder of Jews

Higher education on many of America’s highest campuses has descended into sloganeering.

Language is robbed of meaning. Conclusions about history lack knowledge of history. Anger substitutes for thought. Hatred and violence are justified as ideals. “Free Palestine,” i.e., destroy Israel, is shouted. “From the River to the Sea,” i.e., massive ethnic cleansing, is paraded.

Which is the bottom line by many students at elite American universities today: shouting.

It is perfectly fine for Hamas to murder and mutilate Israelis because Israeli “settlers” are not civilians.

Shout out this “truth,” as many students at our most elite universities have done in the past month.

Back up: When students at Harvard, for example, reference Israeli “settlers,” they do not mean Israeli residents of the West Bank. They mean all Israelis, wherever they live. Israelis, including Israeli babies, are not civilians — language robbed of meaning — ergo, they are legitimate targets of murder and mutilation.

Because all Israelis are “settlers of a colonial state” —ignorance of history — the entire state of Israel is worthy of destruction. All of this sloganeering is offered with anger, not thought, as is “Free Palestine.”

Words emptied of their plain meaning, leading to conclusions emptied of facts, is precisely the stuff of which Nazism was made. To say Jews are not human beings but “vermin” makes as much sense as to say that Israeli partygoers and toddlers are not civilians, but perpetrators of “settler colonial violence.”

Remember, that is the language used by some 30 groups of Harvard students in responding to the Hamas massacre of Oct. 7.

Remember: the gas chambers were supervised by doctors. Mass murder was conducted by Germans with the highest level of education. The result of their education was absolute moral corruption.

In the case of some articulate American students and professors at some elite American universities, the result of the mass murder and mutilation of Oct. 7 was its justification, shouted out.

Americans have had an extremely rude and alarming awakening as to what is being conveyed at many elite American universities.

We call attention to this in order to keep this country from going down the path of the 1930s in Germany.

We hope that the rude awakening will yield an equally powerful reaction: the reintroduction into American education of some absolutes. Not everything can be relative if society is to sustain itself, the most basic absolute being: thou shalt not murder. Running a close second: thou shalt not rejoice over murder.

When this is ignored — as the entire world found out only too brutally in the 1930s and 1940s — the victims are not only the direct objects of the hatred-masked-as-idealism, but everyone. The six million dead Jews in the Holocaust did not constitute the largest cohort of dead groups in WW II.

Societies consumed by anti-Semitism end up consuming themselves.

The rude and alarming wake up call about American higher education at its highest levels requires:

• directly calling out the hatred, or cowardice, or wiggle-wiggle, of its leaders;

• withholding of donations until the hatred is thoroughly de-taught;

• withholding of applications by the best and brightest.

On this last score, the lead has been taken by elite Jewish high schools in New Jersey, whose principal put the matter as bluntly, clearly and appropriately as the times require. In a letter to families in his school, Rabbi Eliezer Rubin wrote:

“They [elite universities] believe that they could take our families for granted . . . We need to dissuade them from the notion that they are entitled to our children by mere virtue of the fact that they are prestigious institutions.

“The privilege is for these universities to educate our students, not the other way around. It is just that: a privilege. Not a right.

“Put simply: If a university cannot keep our students safe, we cannot in good conscience send them there.”
Harvard, Columbia and Penn have now put together committees to examine how it is that, as Rabbi Rubin put it, “universities have allowed a toxic ideology to fester, and that ideology manifests as raging, aggressive and overt anti-Semitism.”

As they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. And the first impression from Harvard, Columbia and Penn — and from Cornell, Cooper Union, Yale, Tulane and others — showed the rot that has taken deep root in their institutions over decades. Therefore, there will be no need for critics to hold their feet to the fire, to carry through on their promises, as Harvard’s president put it, “to identify all the places — from our orientations and trainings to how we teach — where we can intervene to disrupt and dismantle this ideology [anti-Semitism], and where we can educate our community so that they can recognize and confront anti-Semitism wherever they see it.”

Not good enough. The problem is far larger than anti-Semitism. Students who do not recoil from mass murder suffer from profound maladies besides anti-Semitism, such as a profound lack of empathy and humanity. Will these universities rise to the occasion? Can they?

One thing is clear: They have made a start, which is a lot more than can be said for the Auraria Higher Education Campus, which has allowed The Golda Meir House to be turned into a pro-Palestinian enforced Jew-free zone.

It’s a lot more than can be said for the University of Denver, whose chancellor thinks that his condemnation of the mass murder, mass mutilation and mass kidnapping of Oct. 7 would compromise “the free expression of our community members.” Perhaps he is right. Perhaps the free expression of his community members includes the expression of support for mass murder, mutilation and kidnapping. We remind the chancellor that DU has a plaza dedicated to Holocaust remembrance. Had he been there, he would have no basis on which to condemn an event 85 years ago this week: Kristallnacht.

Copyright © 2023 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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