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By Andrea Peyser
December 5, 2016
It was billed as a rally for students to demand free tuition from public institutions of higher education and lodge a cornucopia of grievances.
Instead, some giddy demonstrators devolved into a pack of rabid haters.
“Death to Jews! Death to Jews!” members of the crowd shrieked.
This didn’t happen in Germany in the 1930s, nor was it a modern-day ISIS extravaganza. The hatefest occurred last year at the Million Student March at Manhattan’s Hunter College, part of the City University of New York.
It was supposed to be an exercise in economic rage against the machine, taking place on campuses throughout the United States. But the Hunter event resembled a pogrom, with scared Jews slandered, scapegoated and made to fear for their physical safety
Welcome to today’s colleges and universities, many of them venues in which Jew-bashing is not just tolerated, it’s tacitly encouraged by the frequent inaction and support of woefully politically correct administrators and radical leftist professors.
“This has metastasized into a cancer,” Charles Jacobs, special consultant on the fascinating new documentary film “Hate Spaces: The Politics of Intolerance,” tells me. The title evokes the “safe spaces” — rooms stocked with such stuff as crayons and videos of frolicking puppies — set up on campuses to shield students from “microaggressions,” or ideas considering too “triggering” for delicate flowers to contemplate.
But with all the nonsensical coddling of infantilized kiddies, few places of learning are free from threats, harassment and verbal and sometimes physical attacks on Jews. As my own Jewish daughter prepares to go to college next year, this frightens me to the core.
Fighting the power is proving elusive.
Hunter’s president and student leaders released a statement a day after the rally declaring they “strongly condemn anti-Semitic comments.” Oh, that’ll stop them.
But in a CUNY-commissioned report released in September, lawyers Barbara Jones and Paul Shechtman of Bracewell LLP essentially concluded that they were shocked — shocked! — to find that anti-Semitic words and deeds have befouled four of the system’s campuses. Then the kicker: “Much of what we have reported is protected speech.”
Imagine the public outcry if a report about attacks waged against Muslims, blacks, Latinos, women, gays, lesbians, transgenders or members of any other protected group were deemed “protected speech.”
The concerted assault on Jews and the American value of inclusion masquerades as anti-Israel activity. But the two faces of hate are one and the same.
According to the documentary, put out by the Americans for Peace and Tolerance organization, of which Jacobs is president, anti-Jewish unrest at Hunter and elsewhere is ginned up by well-funded organizations with missions to destroy Israel, particularly Students for Justice in Palestine.
The groups promote the sickening international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — BDS. The aim is to stamp out trade with, and investments in, Israeli companies and to end cultural and academic exchanges with the Jewish state, the only country in the Middle East in which women enjoy equal rights and homosexuals don’t fear being thrown off tall buildings.
Two more examples:
A screening of a pro-Israel documentary this year at the University of California, Irvine, drew protesters who blocked the exit paths, chanted, “Long live the intifada,” and prompted attendees to fear for their safety and call campus police.
Mock “eviction notices” were slipped under dormitory room doors of more than 2,000 students believed to be Jewish at New York University in 2014 by members of a pro-Palestinian group, ordering them to leave.
The cruel prank has spread to at least a dozen other campuses.
“Hate Spaces” is executive-produced, directed and written by Ralph Avi Goldwasser, who 12 years ago helped create the doc “Columbia Unbecoming,” in which 14 students and graduates of Columbia University describe being intimidated by professors for expressing pro-Israel views.
“Since then, it’s only gotten worse,” Goldwasser tells me.
A 2013 workshop held at Yale University promoted “sensitivity,” even toward participants who’d indulged in or fantasized about such fetishes as bestiality. Yet what protections are afforded to those of the Jewish faith?
Near the doc’s end, Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, says, “We have to do more, we have to fight harder . . . because the facts are on our side, morality is on our side, history is on our side.”
I can only hope truth prevails.