WASHINGTON, DC, February 5, 2013 — Just when you thought it was safe to leave your son or daughter on campus, any campus, along comes the New York Post’s Andrea Peyser to report that later this week, Thursday, Brooklyn College is set to host an anti-Israel “hate fest” in the guise of a debate. Debate, in Liberal-speak means, “I talk, you listen.”
The fix is in.
Among the featured “debaters” is Omar Barghouti, who will surely press his case for a boycott against Israel at an event co-hosted by the college’s Political Science department. Academic freedom, as we keep learning, has now become a synonym for Israel-bashing.
Fans of anti-Semitism know Barghouti as a Qatari-born activist who founded the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. His message is a mirror of tactics Hitler used a generation ago, introducing the genocide by means of a boycott against all Jewish goods and services.
Here’s the crazy part: Barghouti is going for his Masters degree in Philosophy at – Tel Aviv University. That’s right, an Israeli academic institution.
As we say around here when it comes to absurdity: “Never mind. It’s too complicated.”
On the plus side, from an education in an Israeli university, Barghouti may get a chance to do his cause some good, not just for himself but all around. In the fields of medicine, economics, physics, peace and literature, Muslims – 20 percent of the world’s population –have won 29 Nobel Prizes. Jews, with a world population of 0.2 percent, have won 130.
Personally, I am in favor of boycotting Jewish services as long as it is done right, which means everything. For all anti-Semites out there I recommend an immediate halt to the Salk polio vaccine and if it is syphilis you get, syphilis you keep, without the benefit of Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s “magic bullet” and the first effective treatment against the disease. Like Salk, he was Jewish, after all.
Our campuses, some may have noticed, have become a melting pot for anti-Semites, obviously to rouse up a generation of Hitler Youth. Get them while they’re young. So my concern is that this wildfire of anti-Semitism, from Europe and elsewhere, may yet spread out to the United States, if it hasn’t done so already.
I appreciate Europe for sending us Beethoven, but please, keep your Holocausts. Been there, done that!
This brings up a column just sent in by Carolyn Glick, deputy editor at the Jerusalem Post. She took part in a “debate” among the best and the brightest of London and ended up asking why anybody would want to live there anymore – anybody Jewish, that is. The talk began politely enough and then turned poisonous when it turned to Israel. She writes: “The public atmosphere in England regarding Israel is ugly and violent.”
Is this what is coming to our shores, or is it here already? I covered this before in the most praised and condemned column I ever wrote here.
Still outside the United States there’s Canada, once home of the gentlest people on earth. Then something happened.
Some years back the Toronto Film Festival decided to honor filmmakers from Tel Aviv. As quickly as you can say Josef Goebbels a petition went up to boycott the Festival and, of course, Israel. The usual suspects signed on: Jane Fonda (of course), Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, and Julie Christie … which was an unwelcome surprise.
That wasn’t enough. A cast of thousands from the film community added their names to the list of happy boycotters.
Back home, Jimmy Carter’s book about Israel, his “Mein Kampf for Dummies,” was dipped in bitterness word for word, lie for lie.
Carter accused Israel for every atrocity under the sun. Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz answered each falsehood chapter and verse, which, as I’ve experienced, only stirs the hornet’s nest. One reader accused me of being too harsh on anti-Semites. I should be more tolerant of those who dream of Dachau and grow nostalgic at the thought of Auschwitz.
Dershowitz proved, fact for fact, that Israel is the only country in the region that does not practice apartheid.
But the last word seems to go to those who traffic in baseless hatred.
Overseas there’s a form of political Olympics taking shape even as we speak. Which country is most anti-Semitic? That is the question. Some say Norway. Some say Sweden, home to a surging influx of Muslims. Some say France. Some say Germany (still). And as we just heard from Carolyn Glick, there will always be an England.
We should expect London’s Sunday Times, in a recent cartoon, to feature Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a monster. That’s Europe, and so what else is new? But here in America we should be surprised when Harvard sponsors its own hate fest in which it generously headlines speakers who offer both sides concerning Israel, those who hate Israel as opposed those who hate Israel very much. They consider that fair and balanced.
Over at Park Slop Food Co-op in Brooklyn, 10,000 miles away from Jerusalem, the best and the brightest had nothing better to do than to demand a boycott of all Israeli goods. The boycott summons went down, but why was it even brought up – here in the United Stares of America?
People came here from Europe to get away from all that, and as for me, I came from a place that rained sticks and stones, and I assumed, I trusted that if not better for me, at least the world would be a better place for my kids, certainly in this, the greatest of all nations.
I once had the same experience over here that Carolyn Glick had over there in London. But that’s for another time, except for the lady who asked me:
“What can we do about all this anti-Semitism?”
Damned if I know.
Jack Engelhard is a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, bring his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe.
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