While dealing with campus “anti-Zionists,” fighters for “BDS justice” and critics of the “Israeli apartheid” on campus, I had always been puzzled by the fact that other than a few students and people from the outside, I haven’t seen many academics (if any) willing to stand against those forms of anti-Semitism.
My encounter with Prof. Tammi Rossman-Benjamin pretty much resolved that puzzle. She is a Hebrew lecturer at the University of California. She has been working for years to explain the ugly reality of the campus anti-Semitism commenting on videos, pictures and documents, with no emotion involved. On the surface, that looks like an important issue that should be supported by everybody, just like any other fight against injustice.
Yet, when the groups that organized her presentations in Canada (among which were The Never Again Group, Hasbara, and the Canada-Israel Friendship Association) started to work on her visit, they had to go through hurdles that few other speakers encounter. It was as if they were trying to get into Canada Hannibal Lecter and not a soft-spoken polite Jewish woman.
Tonight, shortly before she began her lecture at York University, a mysterious guy in jacket and jeans came in and said to her that he was the security person, who corresponded with her. He told her that he was going to stick around outside and watch, to which Tammi calmly noted that now he can see that she is not a danger to anybody. That is why I had to tape her entire presentation, including the Q&A session – it was important everything to be showed exactly how it happened.
You can see in the video her calm, factual approach. However, anti-Semitism has penetrated the academia so deeply that criticising it is a dangerous business. Tammi has been attacked verbally and through petitions and courts. She has been called racist, bigot, islamophobe and any other name that the Left uses when they know they lack rational arguments.
That situation clearly explains why almost every academic is afraid to confront anti-Semitism in its different forms. Compare Tammi to John Greyson – the talentless hack, who teaches cinematography at York University, has never produced any movie that a normal person would want to see (but we still pay for his movies through government grants). He tried to go to Gaza to support the Hamas terrorists and didn’t realize that the Egyptians won’t like that. They liked even less the fact that he was carrying some spy gear. He spent 51 days in an Egyptian jail and came back to Canada to a hero’s welcome provided by his lefty buddies.
It’s a no brainer – if you support in Canada Muslim murderers and terrorists, you’re a university hero; if you oppose them, you’ll get only blackmail and insults.
It’s not easy to live in a sick society, but courageous people like Tammi Rossman-Benjamin give hope to all of us.
Here is what she said during her presentation:
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