Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance on Campus - Andrew Harrod

by Andrew Harrod

“Today on American college campuses, there is only one group of students that you are allowed to attack and you can attack at will, and those are Jews”

“Today on American college campuses, there is only one group of students that you are allowed to attack and you can attack at will, and those are Jews,” states the narrator in the new film Hate Spaces:  The Politics of Intolerance on Campus.  This latest production from Americans for Peace & Tolerance, the makers of the J Street Challenge, engagingly examines how demonization of Israel’s Jewish state is reviving anti-Semitism in American academia.

Hate Spaces extensively documents what has become a nationwide campus “hostile environment” for Jews, according to Susan Tuchman from the Zionist Organization of America.  Student signs at colleges like Columbia University appear in the film with statements such as “Israel is a swollen parasite…the Jews:  Too fat…Too greedy…Too powerful…Fight the Jewish mafia.” 

Quoted in Hate Spaces, University of California (UC)-Los Angeles Hillel President Natalie Charney notes an “anti-Israel culture” in which “singling out the only Jewish state creates an environment where it’s ok to single out Jewish students.”  The film focuses on one of Israel’s main campus adversaries, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a leading supporter of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel with deep links to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The film notes SJP members chanting “Allahu Akbar” to celebrate the nonbinding 2013 UC-San Diego student council decision for BDS and a SJP chapter president’s 2010 assault upon a Jewish UC-Berkeley student.

Former SJP member and current “pro-Israeli Muslim” Rezwan Ovo Haq notes that “SJP largely masquerades behind the human rights issue” of support Palestinians as part of a broader human rights agenda.  Yet in SJP he was “slandering Israel and I had deep-seated hatred for Israel.”  Corresponding to this ugly reality, a University of Tennessee SJP member once tweeted:  “What is the difference between a Jew and a pizza?  The pizza leaves the oven.”

Eminent law professor Alan Dershowitz notes in a film interview that “antisemitism used to come mostly from the right, now it’s coming mostly from the hard left.”  Hereby “one of the strangest alliances on university campuses today is between the hard left” of minorities like blacks and Islamist groups like SJP.  Accordingly, San Diego State University student journalist Anthony Berteaux discusses once identifying with SJP as a gay, Asian man.

Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens wonders at such leftwing “useful idiots of the twenty-first century.”  “Why is it that the liberals and progressives who espouse a certain set of values are so intent on demonizing and de-legitimatizing the one country that shares their values” in the Middle East, he asks.  By contrast, past African-American civil rights leaders such as W.E.B Dubois, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Bayard Rustin “have been Zionists, from socialists to liberals to conservatives,” notes African-American Zionist Chloe Valdary.

Faux progressive condemnation of Israel, Dershowitz notes, arises largely because “there is no subject today in the world which has more distortion, more lies, more dissembling, than discussion about Israel.”  Hate Spaces shows women from Israel’s Arab minority joining Israel’s parliament and winning the Miss Israel beauty contest, belying a sign in the film condemning Israel as the “Fourth Reich.  During speaking engagements, Dershowitz challenges listeners “to name a single country in the history of the world faced with threats comparable to those threats faced by Israel both internal and external that have had a better record of human rights.”

Israeli-American political commentator Caroline Glick discusses the “pathology of anti-Westernism.”  Various commentators in the film note that leftists quick to condemn Israel and the wider Western world often have little concern for the human rights of black slaves, women, or homosexuals in Muslim-majority countries.  “A lot of intellectuals are playing out this sort of colonial guilt thing…by sacrificing Israel to what is in fact the most ferocious imperialist, colonialist force.  Islam is a colonialist, imperialist enterprise,” historian Richard Landes states.

Film segments such as “Privileged Hatred” examine double standards concerning Israel in academia, as political commentator Melanie Phillips notes on C-Span that “those promoting free speech have ended up banning speech across our campuses.”  Glick explains that “if you are part of the oppressor group, than obviously your victim has the moral right to do to you whatever he deems fit because as a victim he essentially cannot be judged.”   Therefore anti-Israel student protesters reject appeals to evenhandedness with “what’s the other side to Hitler… any support of Israel is hate speech…allowing free speech is allowing free speech to the rich and powerful.”  “This event is shutdown,” screams one student disrupter of a pro-Israel event, who slanders that Israel and its supporters “have turned Palestine into a land of prostitutes, rapists, and child molesters.”

Hate Spaces segments “Tenured Hatred” and “Schools of Ideology” explore Israel’s pariah status in American faculty lounges.  While Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates contributed over $1 billion to American universities in the years 2009-2015, “for at least 50 years the faculty of most universities has been besotted by the philosophy of tyrants,” Stephens notes.  The film demonstrates the results of such factors with leftist icon Noam Chomsky absurdly pontificating that the “policies of Hamas are more forthcoming and more conducive to a peaceful settlement than those of the United States or Israel.”

Against Israel’s fanatical foes in the Ivory Tower, Glick issues a clear clarion call, stating that “you can’t cohabitate a university campus with these people because they aren’t there to coexist with you; they are there to destroy you.”  Accordingly, “if you are not willing to fight fire with fire and go after them as the hate groups that they are, then you are going to lose your voice on college campuses.”  Knowing the enemy is essential to victory, Chinese military theorist Sun Tzu once recognized, and a good place to start with defeating Israel’s campus enemies is watching Hate Spaces.

Andrew Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is a fellow with the Lawfare Project, an organization combating the misuse of human rights law against Western societies. You may follow Harrod on twitter at @AEHarrod.


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