Last week I attended a lecture organized by the Speakers Action Group and the Canadian Jewish Civil Rights Association. Prof. Richard Cravatts’s presentation was titled The Campus War against Israel and dealt with the rising anti-Semitism in the American and Canadian universities.
Prof. Cravatts has a very successful career teaching marketing and advertising at the Boston University. He has the classical academic look, thoughtful and logical in his speech and is impeccably dressed Yet he has chosen to follow the thankless task of exposing hatred (publishing over 300 articles on anti-Semitism), which makes him hated in many circles, a position that he would have avoided if he stuck to his original career.
On the other hand, have you heard about the coal mine canary? Long time ago the mining workers would carry down into the mine caged canaries. If poisonous gases leaked into the mineshaft, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners.
So what is the link between these two things? Is Cravatts the coalmine canary? Yes, to some extend, but there is much more to that metaphor, which makes it much more disturbing. We will come back to it, but let’s first see what Richard Cravatts had to say.
The campus jihad against Jews is troubling and it has been a fact for over 20 years, anytime something happens in the Middle East, there is always a backlash targeting the Jews.
Drawing on his experience in marketing, he compared Israel to a brand. Every brand has its supporters and enemies. In this case, Israel’s brand has been hijacked by its enemies, with the purpose to destroy Israel. The voices that defend Israel are usually defensive or not willing to tell the whole story.
The usual perception of Israel is that it consists only of religious people and army, which is definitely wrong. The information about the victims and suffering in the conflict is wrong as well, only 50,000 have died in the Israeli-Arab conflict, yet few people know it and the fact is not widely publicized.
Another misconception is that Israel is an apartheid state and its land was stolen from the Arabs by European colonizers. And one of the most widely held misconceptions is that the Jews control the media and finances.
The positioning of Israel (from marketing point of view) is badly defined. For the Arabs it is an evil militaristic state. Why is that?
One of the roots of the problem is that liberals dominate the Western universities. The early students of the 1960’s are now professors – and they reproduce their delusions by teaching them to their students. In their times, those liberals had causes to unite around, like the Vietnam War and the South African apartheid state. With the Vietnam War and the South African apartheid gone, the Palestinians became the new victims.
Another problem, which is very bizarre in its essence, is the unholy alliance between the Palestinian Muslim groups and the leftists. Both movements have nothing in common.
There are over 600 chapters of those militant Muslim groups at the universities, which demonize Israel and attack Jewish students. They are helped by leftist professors, who spread misinformation on many issues concerning Israel, like the issue with the “illegal settlements”. If you go deeper into history, you will find out that reality is that they were not build on occupied land. The university administration has been very lax on the growing anti-Semitism.
In Canada multiculturalism is being sold as a great way of representing and empowering minorities, but in fact it encourages extremists and creates a double standard – offensive speech is allowed against Jews, whites and Christians, but Muslims and blacks can’t be criticized.
In California anti-Israeli speakers can attack anybody without limits and most of them are invited by Muslim students. They protest any speaker who criticizes Islam and at the same time they claim that they support free speech. Then why do they support weird speakers who have hateful presentations?
Often it is much worse than mere speech – many Palestinian groups on campus openly support terrorism.
Another part of campus culture is the concept of “social justice”, promoted by many groups, like Palestinians for Social Justice. They don’t like the world as it is now, with poor and rich people, and with Israel being too successful. They want to abolish all that and make all people and countries equal. But these are phoney issues, which will bring destruction if to attempt to apply them. Such an issue is the return of the Palestinian refugees from 1940’s – they cannot return, because at the time they didn’t have a country. The real goal of those groups in this particular case is to flood Israel with Arabs and destroy the Jewishness of the state.
The Jewish students are not protected as a class on campus. From a logical point of view, they should get the status of an endangered group like many other minority groups, because they are afraid to show that they are Jews.
The major issue when dealing with the hostility is that not enough people take a stand against it to explain the real situation, like for example the wall that has been built is not something arbitrary, but protects from terrorists infiltrating the country, that the apartheid is a misconception, etc.
After that Prof. Cravatts played a shorter version of his documentary Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus. Frankly, it was quite depressing. It started with rabid Arab students wearing Palestinian scarves together with pale, often bespectacled nerds, yelling “Viva Viva Palestina!”, “Down with Israel!”, “F**k the occupation!” etc., etc., etc. They were followed by radical “academics” (like the weird creature named Ward Churchill). Of course, he included Jewish students who explained their frustrations and problems, but they were too rational to fit in that campus madness.
The next part of the presentation included explanation of specific facts on anti-Semitism through pictures.
There are recurring themes in the lies about Israel, like the poster released in Toronto, which depicts a small Palestinian child, who is targeted by an Israeli helicopter shooting a missile at him. It implies that the Jews are child murderers.
The definitions of anti-Semitism, as formulated by the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, show that there is little new in that type of hatred:
The demonization and delegitimization of Israel is in full force – comparing the county’s realities to Nazism and apartheid, which are hated, will automatically create hatred toward Israel. That comes in a pair with the creating of “Palestianism” – the Arabs from Judea and Samaria are presented as a suffering and self-loathing people, which is easy to understand through the Western liberal stereotypes, which also include the glamour of guerrilla resistance, refugee pathos, etc.
A major problem is the intellectual rot in Middle Eastern studies, which manifests itself in assuming that only an Arab can have the scholarly understanding of the issues, thus dismissing many excellent non-Arab scholars. The Palestinians became the “chosen people” of Middle Eastern studies.
The Blood Libel, the myth that Jews kill babies to use their blood for Matzos, is also alive and well. That horrible accusation was featured in posters displayed at the San Francisco State University in 2002:
Another example of turning the truth upside down is the nazification of Israel – shown in an ad for an event named “Holocaust in the Holy Land”, which perpetuates the myth of the Palestinian genocide:
Another tool is the using of academic “scholarship” to attack Israel – books that keep alive the Protocols-like myth of the omnipotence of the Jews, written and promoted by scholars:
During the question period, most of the attendees’ talk revolved around the questions about what to do against the hatred. Richard Cravatts stated that we have to get the truth out, to confront hostility and to work for removing those academics, who poison the minds with hostility and hatred. There are already organizations who work consistently in that field, like ADM, Hilel, etc.
The last person, who asked a question, made a very profound statement: that in this case we deal with irrational people, who cannot be convinced in logical way, they live in their own world, resembling “Alice in Wonderland.”
That is very true, anti-Semitism is always irrational, it is based on myths that would not survive even the slightest attempt of rational analysis. Yet it has successfully survived for centuries and now it is on the rise. Why is that?
Anti-Semitism never appears alone as a self-standing phenomenon, it comes as a blow that first hits the Jews, but it is always followed by a devastating catastrophe that affects everybody else.
The slaughter of the Jews by Mohammed in the old Arab lands eventually expanded into a devastating invasion, which destroyed the Christian civilization in many countries. The religious persecution of the Jews in medieval Europe brought the Inquisition, which went after anyone who thought differently. The pogroms in Russia in the early XX century culminated in the Russian Revolution, one of the most devastating events in history. And everybody knows what happened in Germany under Hitler…
For the last 60 years, Israel had stood alone against the Muslim fanaticism, from the times when nobody took the problem seriously. And guess what happened? The problem came to the West.
That makes the Jewish people the canary in the coal mine. Now the canary is suffocating and if nobody takes the situation seriously, the disaster will be coming soon. The fact that many people, even Jews, like Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein or the rabbis from Neturei Karta pretend that don’t see anything doesn’t change the things. After all, most of the members of the Lenin’s first government were Jews, yet that didn’t help the hundreds of thousands of Jews who perished during the civil war.
The other problem are the people, who perpetuate anti-Semitism, as it was mentioned, they are not rational. The vast majority of them are people who don’t produce anything, who always need to find some external dark force to blame for their miserable existence. Those are the “true believers” as defined by Eric Hoffer, who would join any cause to escape from their frighteningly empty existence: “A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence. It cures the poignantly frustrated not by conferring on them an absolute truth or by remedying the difficulties and abuses which made their lives miserable, but by freeing them from their ineffectual selves – and it does this by enfolding and absorbing them into a closely knit and exultant corporate whole.” (Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harper Perennial, 1989, p. 41)
Many students and academics fall into that group, they are too separated from the real world to evaluate things in a rational way. They always need a cause. If one cause is discredited, they move to another one without thinking. The coming “new ice age” scam from the 1970’s gave the beginning of a movement, which after being discredited, morphed into the “global warming” swindle, with the same people (like David Suzuki) as its champions.
While environmental movements could cause relatively limited harm, the anti-Semitism is much more serious. The united dimwits, who cheer the creation of a country supposed to replace Israel with an Arab-Jewish state dominated by Muslims, may sincerely believe that the result would be a John-and-Yoko-like multicultural paradise, but every rational person knows what has happened to the Jews in Muslim-dominated countries.
Yes, the environmentalists can build some useless power source, like a windmill, and the worst that can happen is it may not work as expected, and then everybody would laugh and forget the whole thing. But with the half-baked solutions offered for the Israel-Arab problem, those “true believers” are playing with the lives of over 7 million people. If the country is destroyed, there will be no way to turn back. Once the Muslim fanaticism is encouraged in the annihilation of Israel, it will be very difficult to stop it. And after the Jews are gone, the elevated intellectuals will be pulled down from their ivory towers to be slaughtered next.
There is no excuse for anti-Semitism. If we don’t unite against it, the Western world has no future.