Many have heard about the latest (out of too many to cite) anti-semitic tirade at another ! American college campus, but tragically this is not an isolated case. Antisemitism is the remaining “acceptable” bias/prejudice within “polite” societal discourse. In fact, the one “safe harbor” where most parents (falsely) believe that their children are free to learn, grow and become all they can be – sans little oversight from their “prying” eyes – is supposed to be the college campus, yet this is certainly not reality-based thinking.
So, imagine the angst, confusion and terror, yes, terror, felt by ones children, barely on the cusp of adulthood, as they face an overwhelmingly hostile climate in their classrooms for daring to question a prof, one who expressed outright, unmistakable anti-semitic, anti-Israel diatribes. Whoa. Talk about a smack across the face. More than a wet noodle.
And even the oh so smart set are subjected to the same pernicious assaults, as this blogger’s own son became a victim, not long after stepping onto MIT’s rarefied campus. But having been taught to fight back (as an Editor-in-Chief at his high school newspaper he understood the “power of the pen”) he instinctively reacted thusly –
This past week, I attended the Dramashop’s performance of “The Company of Angels,” written by MIT Associate Provost for the Arts Alan Brody. As I thumbed through the Playbill, I came upon the end of the “Author’s Note,” a short message from Alan Brody in which he informs the audience that the modern state of Israel was the focal point of hope for the Holocaust survivors, but warns us that we shouldn’t misconstrue his play as “an apologia for political decisions being made by that country today.” He then continues to say that he hopes “the play is a reminder of what it means for any people to be homeless and stateless.” If his political agenda were not clear enough already, he concludes that he hopes his play “might help the people who see it to understand how important a home is to the Palestinians who have been driven to their experience of despair by historical circumstance.”
The moral implications of that statement are disturbing enough, of placing the onus on the Israeli people for the suffering of the Palestinians with the same moral weight as the unbearable burden of shame which lay upon the shoulders of the world community of silent bystanders after the Holocaust.
I also realize that it probably would not prove fruitful to begin a discourse on the utter fallacy of equating Israel’s policies of self-defense to the murderous genocide committed by the Nazis, an implication of Professor Brody’s statements clear to anyone who has studied the politics of the Middle East in the last decade.
Most significantly though for the readers of The Tech, I believe that it is an academic tragedy for a faculty member of Professor Brody’s stature to inject his own political tendencies into his work at the Institute. He was hired to contribute to the student body his great skill and talent in the world of theater, not for his personal ideologies which may constitute his world view. It is truly an inexcusable affront to those who survived the Holocaust and to the memories of the six million who perished, and a black mark on the proverbial eye of the Faculty of the Arts at MIT.
Chaim Kutnicki ’07 ….at least he took charge!
Yes, the aforementioned “safe haven” has been a delusion/illusion for several decades, however, many hardly took notice. Basically, ever since the radicals from the 60’s became the actual profs on campus, what was previously viewed as bubblings, soon morphed into full frontal attacks. Indeed, the revolutionaries became the “establishment”.
Due to all of the above the following was noted at the inception of this blog site: The Paradox and Pitfalls of Liberal Democracies In A Time Of (im)Moral Relativism: The Havoc Wrought By Western Academia was written to alert/highlight the pernicious effects of staying silent, in the face of the most enduring mental disease known to mankind – antisemitism. But just because a disease appears implacable, does not obviate ones obligation to fight it. Besides, if any other group were so egregiously targeted and maligned, would people of good will stand still? And when ones children are the targets, is it even possible to do nothing? Hope not.
More specifically, The Death Of The West, Or Its Survival, Runs Through Western Academia. NO exaggeration. Once again, another suspect rears its ugly head (like cockroaches they infest too many classrooms), and parents of soon to be college bound students are obligated to stay alert and be ready to assert themselves, if necessary, even if one is not the confrontational sort. Just buck up.
Posted on 9/17/2013 by admin
BY: ILYA FEOKTISTOK AND CHARLES JACOBS
“If they find out I’m Jewish, they’ll target me.”
This is one of a litany of chilling claims by Jewish students at Northeastern University in Boston MA about the anti-Semitic hostility they have been forced to deal with on campus, as quoted in a letter recently sent by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to Northeastern’s President Joseph Aoun. First alerted by our organization’s exposés of the university’s hostile climate for Jews, the ZOA’s own investigation has gone much further to lift the curtain on what Jewish students can expect to face if they enroll at Northeastern.
ZOA’s letter, based on first-hand reports from students, shows that the problem at Northeastern is not simply a case of professorial academic bias against Israel. Northeastern’s professors are using the basest forms of social bullying and intimidation to silence Jewish students who dare defend their Jewish identity in the classroom.
According to ZOA’s investigation, Professor Denis Sullivan, Director of the university’s Middle East Center goes furthest in abusing his authority in the classroom to violate his students’ academic freedom. Here are some vignettes from what the students told ZOAabout Sullivan’s lack of academic ethics in class:
“A Jewish student in the class raised her hand and asked a legitimate question… Instead of answering the question, Professor Sullivan personally attacked the student, as the rest of the class snickered. …She was so traumatized by the attack that she began crying and had to leave the room.”
“According to one Jewish student, when you question what Sullivan tells the class about Israel, Sullivan ‘finds a way to make you feel stupid.’”
A Jewish student wrote a paper taking the position that Hamas, with its genocidal goals, cannot be given legitimacy. “Professor Sullivan rejected the student’s paper and threatened her with a poor grade unless she rewrote it … The Jewish student felt that she had no choice but to rewrite her paper.”
“One student reported that he is afraid even to reveal his Jewish identity in Sullivan’s class.”
When a Jewish student questioned the anti-Israel position of a visiting Palestinian diplomat Sullivan brought as a guest to his class, “Professor Sullivan publicly ridiculed the student.” The diplomat “refused to answer the question, characterizing it as offensive.”
Sadly, Sullivan is not the only Northeastern professor who has victimized Jewish students, according to the ZOA:
“When a Jewish student respectfully challenged” Northeastern Sociology and International Affairs Professor Berna Turam’s justification of Islamic honor killings during class, “Professor Turam – and the other students in the class – laughed at the student, humiliating her. On another occasion, ProfessorTuram laughed at and publicly mocked this same student as she presented her research proposal in class … Strangely, Professor Turam repeatedly referred to this student as “Rachel” – a Hebrew name – despite being told that this is not the student’s name. This student stopped wearing her Star of David to Professor Turam’s class.”
Readers of this column will have heard by now about Northeastern’s Economics Professor and Pakistani citizen M. Shahid Alam, who was caught on video telling students that anti-Semitism is something that one should be proud of and bragging about intimidating pro-Israel students in his classes. As the ZOA’s investigation revealed, in an e-mail to Northeastern’s President Joseph Aoun, a Jewish student personally recounted his feelings in response to hearing Alam’s hateful words:
“I sat painfully listening to Professor Alam insinuate that students should be proud to be called anti-Semitic. I had never in my life, ever, experienced anti-Semitism firsthand until this past year when I witnessed Professor Alam and Professor Sullivan display an age-old hatred against the Jewish people … No one should experience hatred like this in their learning environment.”
Thus, whether or not one transposes Northeastern U to “any college” U.S. A. (or elsewhere) is neither here nor there. What is germane is that students are being terrorized by their profs and not a damn thing is being done to stop them, other than this or that “investigation” which hardly changes the calculus.
Now, what would effectuate a positive outcome is a concerted parental push to warn all college profs/administrators, wherever their kiddies choose to study: those who engage in mental terror will themselves become the victims. To wit, their tenure will be stripped – one way or another, whatever it takes – with a clear caveat: if a volte face is not imminent, holding onto their jobs will be the least of their problems. Civil rights claims will be brought, not only against the offending prof but the school itself. And if all else fails, a ruckus on campus is always a fall back option, and it should be a sword hanging over their heads as a viable remedy.
Unfortunately, too many parents are cowed by school authorities, unaware that they are the consumers and the university is beholden to their contractual duties – the well being of their charges. Once broken, all options must remain on the table.
Admittedly, this “mama bear” internalizes the desire to allow ones college-aged offspring to “take charge” and assert their rights. Well and good. But there are some situations whereby even young adults are incapable of defending themselves.
Think of it this way, while packing your sons/daughters off to college – as you make sure that they have all the accouterments needed to succeed on campus, oh yeah – add another “suit of armor”, perhaps the most important/significant of all and convey as clearly as possible: dear son/daughter, if confronted by antisemitism (often masked by anti-Israel, pro-Arab disguises), whether by a prof or otherwise, attempt to handle it on your own. If unsuccessful, do not dare let it stay under wraps. Call your parents, we promise to assist and not give up until the offenders “cease and desist”.
Nothing less should be acceptable – to Jews and all people of conscience.
By the way, rock on…but do pass on…! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8bR4EU2eUg&list=PLeh4IiCHmJJxS_TRyv8x-oiehHvjb2yxE