Reflections on Richard Cravatts’ “Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews”

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Editor’s note: The review below is written by David Solway on Dr. Richard Cravatts’ new book, Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews, published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center. To order a copy, click here.

I first came across Richard Cravatts in an article he wrote for Pajamas Media on November 19, 2010, describing York University in Toronto as “a cesspool of anti-Semitic, pro-Palestinian activism.” York is notorious in Canada as one of its most prominent Jew-bashing institutions, taking its cue from larger and more prestigious universities like UC Irvine and Berkeley that promote, in Cravatts’ words, “slanted scholarship for jihad.” Genocidal Liberalism expands Cravatts’ investigative sweep to encompass the entire malign phenomenon of antisemitism cum anti-Zionism that has corrupted the moral integrity and academic rectitude of the American liberal professoriate.

Cravatts doesn’t pull his punches, relentlessly anatomizing the pedagogic bias currently in place, which is neo-Marxist in its orientation and undeniably anti-Jewish in its expression. “In the campus war against Israel, a new rhetoric has evolved.” The university, he charges, is by and large no longer “a place where civility and reasoned scholarly discourse normally occurs,” given the “gradual ratcheting up of the level of acrimony against Israel and Zionism” and the Left’s insistence that such criticism, no matter how incendiary or libelous, “is no more than political commentary on the Jewish state.” He furnishes a near- interminable list of “strident anti-Israel initiatives” that mar the intellectual life of the “liberal” and “humanistic” university, including academic boycotts of Israeli professors, the fostering of vociferous and occasionally violence-prone anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish Muslim student groups on campus, the furthering of divestment and disinvestment from Israeli companies and companies doing business with them, and the shutting down of pro-Israel speakers.

Cravatts points to an influential 1965 essay by Herbert Marcuse entitled Repressive Tolerance, which planted the seed of political and epistemic subversion in the fertile soil of American academia. “Purporting to endorse freedom of expression for all,” Cravatts writes, the essay instead reserved “that right, in actual practice, only to favored groups.” The program “could only be accomplished…by favoring ‘partisan’ speech to promote ‘progressive’ or revolutionary change,” which would be, in Marcuse’s phrase, “intolerant toward the protagonists of the repressive status quo.” By the latter, Marcuse meant classical liberal thought with its emphasis on tradition, individual autonomy, civic responsibility and limited government. Our contemporary Marcusians have learned their lesson well. In this way, the door was opened for the delivery of mendacious doctrines from post-colonial fanatics and postmodern destabilizers like Edward Said and Michel Foucault who have done so much damage to the principles of intellectual honesty and objective study on which the university is presumably founded.

Marcuse, a leading member of the left-wing Frankfurt School, clearly drew his inspiration from German philosopher Martin Heidegger, whom Cravatts does not mention but whose spirit pervades current “humanistic” thought. The godfather of the current mob of academic gangsters, Heidegger was appointed Rector of the University of Freiburg in 1933, using his considerable reputation to further the Nazi supremacist dogma. For Heidegger, the function of the university was to provide what he called, in his Rector’s Address, “service to knowledge” as an obligation to the National Socialist state, that is, to entrench a species of politicized education—in this case, the absurd theories of National Socialism, the restriction of free expression, and, ultimately, a lethal campaign against the country’s and the continent’s Jewish inhabitants. The current academic campaign against Jews and Israel, expressed in the condemnation of Israel as an apartheid and occupying regime engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians, is merely an updated and partially laundered variant of the German original. It is a palpable lie masquerading as an apodictic truth supported by fraudulent research and revisionist infatuations. The invention or suppression of facts and the propagation of fictitious memes and venomous tropes have become the liberal academy’s stock in trade.

I should indicate that Cravatts’ subject has been addressed before by several erudite and committed writers who have lobbied to clean up the latrine of higher education in America. David Horowitz in such books as Indoctrination U and Reforming our Universities, Gary Tobin et al. in The Uncivil University (referenced several times by Cravatts), and Stephen Norwood’s chilling The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower expose the academic Left’s growing rapprochement with tyrannical doctrines and especially with the metastasizing Islamic movement, such rapprochement constituting a symptom of its abdication from founding principles and the betrayal of its mandate. There is no doubt that the natural corollaries of the narrow, deformed and prejudicial temper prevailing in academia are anti-Jewish odium and anti-Israel denunciation. The two are indissolubly linked. Loading “cruel and destructive invective on Zionism,” says Cravatts, the professors are in reality “promulgating vile, disproportionate opprobrium that frequently shows its true face as raw anti-Semitism.”

Norwood, for his part, reveals how Harvard, Yale and Columbia during the 1930s embraced or were sympathetic to the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini. Today, as Cravatts amply demonstrates, the educational establishment cultivates an equally comprehensive sympathy for Islamofascist themes, curricula and organizations. Third-rate thinking, ignorance, ingratitude, chicanery and political indoctrination have become the mainstays of the Humanities, Middle East Studies programs and misnamed Social Sciences departments.

As an instance of such dissembling, Cravatts directs our attention a BDS (Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions) manual, Fighting the New Apartheid: A Guide to Campus Divestment from Israel, authored by Palestinian-born Fayyad Sbaihat of the University of Wisconsin, in which we read that the divestment campaign should avoid “debating facts on the ground.” In order for the BDS agenda to be successful, “Israel must be characterized as a pariah state” regardless of “specific events and facts [which] can prove illusive when one attempts to build a case around them.” This confession of transparent duplicity is not only astonishing in itself, but also in its being ignored or tacitly supported by many college administrators, left-leaning teachers and impressionable students.

The BDS conference held at the University of Pennsylvania in early February 2012 provided yet another instance of the distortions, dishonesty and malevolence targeting Israel, as legitimized by the academy. One of its principal speakers was Ali Abunimah, founder of the Electronic Intifada website, who is fond of comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. Another was English professor Amy Kaplan, who went so far as to suggest methods for introducing the Palestinian mythology and the BDS campaign into completely unrelated classes in order to advance an anti-Israel prepossession clearly intended to influence unsuspecting students—and was subsequently defended by her chairpersonette, Nancy Bentley.

One remarks, too, in this regard the March conference at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, under the heading “Israel/Palestine and the One-State Conference.” Featuring such rabid anti-Israeli pseudo-scholars and shameless fact-twisters as Stephen Walt and Ilan Pappé, the colloquium plainly envisages the end of the Jewish state. Historian Bruce Thornton writes of Pappé in particular, “That such a travesty of the profession of history is invited to speak at a prestigious university testifies to how intellectually and morally corrupt the American academy has become.” Harvard is one of 17 American universities receiving substantial donations from Arab sources—$329 million from 1995 to 2008, the last year on record, and doubtlessly another hefty sum since.

Indeed, as Cravatts notes, “in the past 30 years…the Saudi royal family has funneled $70 billion into universities in the West…to create scholarship and teaching that is almost uniformly designed to demonize Israel, advance the Palestinian cause, and undermine Western values…while…helping to enable the spread of Islam.” Money talks, of course, but not always loudly; it also whispers seductively into the curricular ear. The scholars who benefit are “good students of the funding game.” Shying away from embarrassing their patrons and focusing on the “alleged shortcomings of Israel and the U.S.,” they have found a way of getting “several millions dollars dropped in their laps.” This goes some distance toward explaining the prevailing pro-Arab, anti-Jewish climate that vitiates our putative Lyceums.

Heidegger and Marcuse would surely have been pleased. As are the swarms of their disciples among the, let’s say, intelleftual anti-Zionist crowd, who have risen from the preceptorial slime and identified with America’s, and the West’s, enemies. The seminars of loathing they teach and promote, euphemized as “educational events,” lay all the blame for the Middle East’s dysfunctions at Israel’s feet. And in so doing they have not only trained their sights on a pluralistic and democratic Israel while fawning before an autocratic and venal Islamic polity, but have materially facilitated the wave of antisemitic sentiment that is now flooding the world.

Antisemitism is not only an emotional, indeed almost glandular, disorder, it is likely the most contagious intellectual pathology known to humankind. Today, it has infected not only North American and European campuses, but has spread even to Israeli universities, many of whose teaching and administrative staff, under the convenient banner of anti-Zionism, have become willing and enthusiastic carriers of the disease. “Many Israeli professors,” Cravatts observes, “veer to the Left politically and many, incredibly, share the same virulent anti-Israel, anti-Zionism sentiments.” The same is true of American and European Jewish anti-Zionists “who, in a peculiar act of introjection, attempt to psychically expunge…the liberal guilt that condoning Zionism would bring upon them.” The plague has become ubiquitous when even those eventually targeted for exclusion become its most ardent advocates. It is clear that a species of indefeasible madness has taken hold of the academic community.

When a civilization begins to decay and enters the twilight of its existence, it is invariably vanquished by an army of barbarians. This seems to be what is happening now, judging from the mental debility and cultural exhaustion that have stricken our cognitive elites. These barbarians now proliferate as an advance guard in the contemporary academy. They have almost nothing to say about any of the bloodbaths and savageries daily being enacted in country after country throughout the world—Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Libya, Sudan, China—but when it comes to the Jewish state, with its scattered settlements in its ancient homeland of Judea and Samaria and not a single Israeli remaining in Gaza or in south Lebanon’s buffer zone, the chorus of revilement erupts into a veritable cacophony. The “visceral hatred by the Left,” Cravatts writes, and the “singular obsession many academics have with Israel, and only Israel, from among the world’s countries,” is a symptom of the double standard “that has permeated the university” and “an indication of just how far [it has] diverged from [its] purpose.” It is, in fact, a sign of its descent into the realms of scholarly perversion.

As I have stressed before, there is nothing sacrosanct per se or inherently prestigious about the university. Like any human institution, it can profane its founding principles and grow decadent and oppressive. The German universities of the 1930s, as we’ve seen, despite their long tradition of rigorous scholarship, were by no means beacons of informed thought and genuine research but propaganda factories working overtime. One must always remember that the university may as easily become a turbine of indoctrination as a generator of intellectual vitality or a transmitter of genuine knowledge.

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  • muchiboy

    We are all guilty,perhaps,of having biased opinions.To some extent,we may see certain views as black or white,more or less.As this,and like minded articles,would demonstrate,opinions on Israel are no exception.
    "The current academic campaign against Jews and Israel, expressed in the condemnation of Israel as an apartheid and occupying regime engaged in the “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians, is merely an updated and partially laundered variant of the German original. It is a palpable lie masquerading as an apodictic truth supported by fraudulent research and revisionist infatuations. The invention or suppression of facts and the propagation of fictitious memes and venomous tropes have become the liberal acade’s stock in trademy."
    One cannot deny the deepest Jewish roots in Palestine.In fact,there has been an unbroked Jewish presence in Palestine since God knows when.Now,in the same vein of truthfulness and reasonableness,we cannot deny the continued presence of the Palestinian Arab either,unless,of course, one is into splitting the truth into absurdities,in which case I would suggest a personal agenda,rather then truthfulness.And surely,an arguable and reasonable,and I suggest strong,case,can be made for occupation of Palestine by the Diaspora.As well,the de facto ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people must be acknowledged by Jews,and resolved by Israel and a complicit America.There are certain characteristics of Israeli history and society that characterized South African Apartheid.Israel just carried it to its (il)logical and immoral conclusion (i.e.practical exclusion of the Palestinian people from defined borders resulting in a majority of Jewish occupiers).Congratulations!
    On the other hand,we are only too familiar with the litiny of undemocratic behaviors and institutions in the Islamic world.The general dismal record of Human and women Rights in Islamic societies is in clear contrast to the democratic institutions and respect for Human Rights in Israeli society.Yet,when we recognize the laudible rights and democratic institutions of Israeli society we must consider the underlay of the gross violations of Human rights of the Palestinian people.That is no small matter that can be dismissed easily.muchiboy

    • Ted G


    • steven L

      Hi Muchyb,

      Ignorance is bliss.

      You need to go to school and learn a little bit of the different sides of history of the ME and then come back. It is amazing what knowledge does to people. Become a thinker and not a believer. Use productively your neurons. They have a purpose. Traveling to the ME, Nigeria, Sudan is also a good way to become less partial.
      Your problem is the failure to admit that Jews have no intention to blow people away, want a solution that preserve their rights while the Muslims want to eliminate the Jews and the non-Muslims from the face of Earth and refuse to recognize their many shortcomings.

    • Anonymous

      smallaboy is a paradigmatic exemplar of black antisemitism … he is envious of Jewish intelligence and accomplishment …

      the main point, though, is that every moment that Israel exists, is a moment in which smallaboy is defeated … Israel is going nowhere, and so anusface smallaboy is destined to be a pathetic, defeated loser every minute of his worthless existence … meanwhile, we'll add to our roster of Nobel Laureates in science and medicine … too bad for the dirty swine …. toodles

    • Denis MacEoin

      There's too much to deal with here, but most of your post cries out for correction. You seem to be poorly read in the history of Israel. Israelis did not, in 1948 or before, set out to 'ethnically cleanse' the Arabs. They had already agreed to a simple 2-state solution, one state for Jews, one for Arabs. It was the Arabs who refused to accept their own state (and still do) and who invaded Israel with the expressed intent of committing genocide there or expelling every last Jew from their legally acquired state. During the war, Jewish forces expelled Arabs on several occasions (that happens in war), but far more fled when the Arab armies and the Higher Committee told them to leave or forced them out to make room for their (failed) attacks. I'll leave it there in the hope that you'll buy a book or two (I recommended Benny Morris's 1948) and discover that the basis for your attack on Israel is false and that you have to do some hard thinking. Then you can explain how Israel is an apartheid state when there isn't any apartheid in the country.

    • BS77

      mucus boy, shut your pie hole….

    • aspacia

      Hey dummy, it is than not then in the context you used. Go back to grammar school dolt. Typically, you have no valid claim and omit the pertinent fact that 650,000 Jews were expelled form their homes too, but were absorbed by their brethren, whereas the corrupt muslims sorely discriminate against their brethren.

      Read some fact idiot.

      • muchiboy

        Thank you,aspacia,for the grammar lesson.I fear I may have neglected my English studies in favor of my ethics class.From the look of things,perhaps you can teach me some grammar,in turn I can teach you a little ethics.Deal? muchiboy

        • kentatwater

          You might consider getting a refund on both your English and ethics classes. I think you've been cheated.

        • aspacia

          I have taught logic, and ethics along with it. The lifeboat or island scenario. I also am well aware of the J or j for Justice model as well as the madman St. Augustine's Just War along with A Case for Torture, etc.

          Muchless, go back to your room and play with your dolls, and let the grownups talk.

    • Bruce Josloff

      This is called reasonable debate. Not shouting and screaming over speakers and humiliating contradicting points of view and acting like a spoiled, puerile brat.

  • Ted G

    I should probably elaborate on my "Nope"
    I meant nope to your entire post! It was dishonest!

  • Libertyman

    The only group that can be identified as Ethnic Cleansing… are the ones who wanted to annihilate the Jews from Israel in the first place. The same ones who committed Ethnic Cleansing in Lebanon.. the same ones who stole three times the land mass that Israel occupies in 49 and 50 from Jews who were forced to Israel by Islam itself. The same ones who committed genocide of 2 to 21/2 million black Christians in Sudan.

    The idea that Israel owes land to Egyptians, Iraqis, Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanians masquerading as a "new" people group called “Palestinian” is positively sociopathic.

    • danseagull


  • Youssef

    Every Friday, bearded men in shin-length robes demonstrate in Tunisia’s capital against perceived insults to Islam in a country once known for its aggressive secularism. They have occasionally turned violent, attacking secular intellectuals and harassing women for their style of dress.

    This emerging movement of believers known as Salafis has seemingly appeared out of thin air — and prompted fears of a culture war in this North African country of 10 million.

    Read more:


  • gary fouse

    I am currently reading Cravatts book. There are so many references to UC Irvine, where I teach and where I have personally witnessed the poison brought to campus by the MSU: Mohammed al Asi, Amir Abdel Malik Ali, Yvonne Ridley, George Galloway, Cynthia McKinnney, Neturei Karta rabbi Isroel Dovid Weiss. I could go on and on. What Cravatts says is true and I have personally seen it in action.

    The good news is that since we don'r have the large humanities departments as UCLA, Berkeley and others, we have a good campus where 99% of the kids are not involved in this crap. The only entity that interrupts our otherwise placid campus is the MSU.

    Their so-called punishment for the Oren event was a sham. The same year, they were honored by the Cross Cultural Center, which is a joke in itself.

  • Fred Dawes

    All part of the plan of the globalist and the 2 monkeys Cravatts and sloway are both butts if the killing of 8 million more jews happens we are all next the jews may not be loving and cute people but if ISRAEL Disappears the USA Is next and the end game is to murder billions of people the globalist bankers need millions dead and it is all about Eugenics and the nazi used that idea of fools to justify the murder of 12 million people and the nazi rats are still working to murder us all, Cravatts and many other monkeys will help in that evil, madness.

  • jason foley

    Any race, are equal, we should not look at other races to discrimination, we are humans<img src=""&gt;

    • SpiritOf1683

      Jason Fooley (no typo), not every race or creed is equal. Some are moral dungheaps – Islam being the prime example of a hate-filled, intolerable, bigoted and barbaric, so go away troll.

      • Fred Dawes

        thank you.

    • Fred Dawes

      that is so PC, its nuts.."Any race is equal", is so BS.

  • kblink45

    Excellent review! Especially poignant was the observation that "(t)he liberal university's attitude to (toward?) Israel constitutes nothing less than the litmus test of its viability as a potentially noble and transmissive institution." The same may be said of liberals themselves.

  • kblink45

    I once engaged in a debate with a German academic and avowed progressive that revealed how Holocaust minimization is de rigueur. The discussion emanated from a dispute over a reference to Heidegger in a Francis O'Conner story. Our disagreement over how to interpret the reference should have been brief and should have ended in a simple agreement to disagree. Instead it rapidly devolved into invective and ended with my colleague telling me that I perhaps wasn't capable of understanding literature. I let it go. The next day, I approached this colleague with references to support my view, that Heidegger was an anti-semite and Nazi apologizer and that this recognition was relevent to our dispute. My colleague was borderline contemptuous that I should presume to judge Heidegger.

    Liberals who are invested in Holocaust denial must be called out for what they truly are, hypocrites and propogandizers of evil. No. That's not strong enough. They are themselves evil.

    • Fred Dawes

      Its been part of real history 6-8 million human beings killed in death camps over 2 million russia troopers 10 to 15 million others that did not die in camps over 10 million, many little kids only a fool; can not see this evil, world war two was a total evil war and a evil blood bath of madness.
      The question is do we want it to happen once more with 5 billion dead? it can happen and it will.

  • Amused

    Hey PEOPLE , WHY are you guys gettiong upset with "muchiboy " ?
    Hedoing nothing different or apart from EXACTLY WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING . Exactly what Solway in this PHONY article is doing – PROPAGANDIZING to support your own views .
    Sure , there are LIBERAL professors AND Conservative professors , and most likely everything in between , yet Solway in the true motis-operandi of your entire lot , throws you his "psuedo-facts , and lists authors that are basically no better than has been or unacredited unknown bookwriters . Anyone can publish a book .Especially if it appeals to a specific agenda in agreement with those of organizations , who generate the money to publish .As most of these guys couldn't sell a newspaper. It permeates the Right AND the left . If yuou people think you're any different , just look up Santorums academic record at Penn State . Research what he claims he was and did and said , as opposed to what he REALLY said and done and did . Do yourselves a favor , and investigate before the press eventually outs this PHONY , as it surely will should he take the nomination .

    • aspacia

      Okay Amused, what pseudo facts?

    • Jack9

      Amuses post is a perfect example of the failure of Higher Education to teach the art of stringing together a single cogent sentence.

    • Ted G

      Sorry Amused, factual history trumps re-written history every time.
      You know re-written history…thats what us honest folks call propaganda.

      People have all this info available to them if they just look for it

      This is why you get slammed everytime you spout off this BS.

      I could never understand how people over in the ME, islamists mostly spew this stuff while knowing without a doubt that it is a lie.
      You know the stuff I'm talking about…that Solomons temple was never on the mount or that there ever was a people called palestinians crap like that!

    • Fred Dawes

      He can say what he wants!

  • SpiritOf1683

    Didn't Churchill once say "The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-Fascists"?

    Sounds very much like he had Naziboy in mind.

    • Fred Dawes

      yes he did and you can see the facts.

  • Whos_John_Galt

    Very often one hears the revisionists and propagandists finding ancient historical links between the "Philistines" ("Invaders" in Hebrew) and the Arab "Palestinians."

    There is no truth to this claim!

    The Philistines were one of a number of Sea Peoples who reached the eastern Mediterranean region approximately 1250-1100 B.C.E.

    • Fred Dawes

      Great history thank you.

  • Fred Dawes

    The monkeys in the middle east are so mixup into each other its a joke, the focal point of that part of the world is killing each other, it is the land of the Gods of the east and it is a place of fools and total madness.

  • Richard

    It is, at the very least, a bit odd that the author does not find it noteworthy that the major universities cited as offenders viz. UC Berkley. University of Pennsylvania, Harvard et al. are ALL run by Jewish administrations (and have been for decades) with an extremely high percentage of Jewish faculty members. The United States population is made up of less than 3% Jews. These three universities have faculty populations above 70% Jewish. Furthermore, the politically active, abrasive members of these faculties are about 95% Jewish. The author and those authors he cites seem to slip and slide between anti-Semitic/ anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist/ anti-Israel as if the two were the same. They are not. Marxist Jews, that is those Jews who control American academe, are devoutly anti-Israel. Oddly, it was Marxist Jews (Zionists) who settled in Kibuttzes in the early twentieth century Palestine. Nevertheless, todays secular Jews in academe are as devoutly anti-Zionist as they are pro homsexuality and abortion. It is wrong and, quite frankly, dishonest to lump anti-Israel and anti-Semetic, never once mentioning that the major intolerant perps are themselves Jewish. Anti-Semitic Semites; I don't think so.

    • aspacia

      Okay, were is your valid support? I know there are many self-hating Jews, like LeVine, Chomsky, et al who hate all gods along with their heritage, do a great deal of damage and enable those who want them dead, but I believe your stats are off. There are religious Jews who are anti-Zionist too.

      Again, VALID SUPPORT.

  • dysgenic

    Who can doubt that the world would be a much more peaceful and happy place without Zionist usurpers and warmongers in it?

    • aspacia

      The world will be far more peaceful without Islamicists who murder their brethren as well as the infidels like you and me.

      • kentatwater

        Not to mention a reduction in the number of anti-Semites.

  • David

    For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

  • Brian

    David Solway is a brilliant thinker and beautiful writer. I'd like to see Front Page highlight his articles more aggressively. He deserves a wider readership.