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An anti-Zionist academic, Susan Abulhawa, refused to participate in a panel discussion with a pro-Israel speaker. “University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Academic Department Deletes Letter to Students Accusing Israel of ‘Genocide,’” by Dion J. Pierre, Algemeiner, January 5, 2024:
Later, the event was canceled after Abulhawa allegedly refused to share a stage with a Zionist. In its place, the school’s Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) held a panel in which UIUC Students for Justice in Palestine member Sara Hijab said, “I hope you realize the evil Zionism is and that it has no place anywhere in the world.” Labor and Employment Relations professor Augustus Wood added, “The armed resistance should not be referred to in crude inhumane terms such as terrorists,” apparently referring to Hamas….
So Abulhhawa and her colleague Laila El-Haddad did not appear after all. That panel discussion was cancelled because Abulhawa could not bring herself to appear on the same stage as a “Zionist.” But in its place, the Graduate Employee Organization put on a panel discussion that in its anti-Israel virulence did not disappoint. Sara Hijab of Students for Justice in Palestine described the “evil” of “Zionism,” and insisted that it “has no place anywhere in the world.” When she says this, she is calling for an end to the Jewish state, and its replacement by a twenty-third Arab state. Alone among the peoples of the world, the Jews are in her view not entitled to their own country. She would like us all to forget how Jews fared in their exile over thousands of years. She refuses to recognize that Jews have been living in what they call Eretz Israel, the Land of Israel, since 1500 B.C., more than two thousand years before there was a single Muslim in the area or, indeed, anywhere in the world.
What terms would Augustus Wood think appropriate to describe the Hamas terrorists who beheaded babies, burned children alive, gang-raped, tortured, and murdered young girls, sliced the breasts off women, gouged out the eyes and cut off the genitalia of men, murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children? Are these Hamas murderers not deserving of having what he describes as “crude, inhumane” terms such as “terrorist” applied to them? Isn’t that what Hamas lives for — to “strike terror” in the hearts of Israelis? Unlike Augustus Wood, I don’t think that term —“terrorist” — is too harsh and “inhumane.” I think it is not harsh enough, to describe the fiendish glee with which Hamas killers tormented and murdered helpless Israelis.
Many universities, including some of the most prestigious, such as Harvard and MIT — where a Jewish faculty member has just resigned in protest at the failure of the administration to protect Jewish and Israeli students and faculty — have done nothing to protect Jewish students from harassment and bullying, apparently thinking the protection of such students on campus is not part of their remit. But if any group of students is being menaced, as Jewish students now are on so many campuses, how are they expected, given their anxiety, to be able to concentrate on their studies? How can they possibly learn? University administrators need to study Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, wherein they will find that they have a duty to protect all students from intimidation and harassment on the basis of their ethnicity, race, or religion.
Two university presidents have had to resign for failing to recognize their duty to punish antisemitic threats and attacks on their campuses. More will follow, as the complaints by Jewish students and faculty about antisemitic behavior going unpunished on other campuses become public, and spread far and wide on social media. Congress is now set to open an investigation into the matter. Bill Ackman, the Harvard alumnus and billionaire hedge fund owner who, enraged by Claudine Gay’s “it depends on the context” response when asked by a congresswoman whether antisemitic bullying violated Harvard’s code of conduct, has now stopped his contributions to his alma mater, and urged other rich alumni to do the same. Now that the broad public has been made aware of the antisemitism on campuses, and administrators have been put on notice, both by alumni and by Congress, that they need to do much more to make campuses safe for Jewish students and faculty, the pro-Palestinian groups are going to face a very different, less forgiving atmosphere. They won’t be allowed to spread their hate as they have done until now. No more yelling about “globalize the Intifada.” Slogans that call for the eradication of Israel, such as “From the river to the sea/Palestine will be free,” will not go unpunished. No more will these anti-Israel groups be able to surround single Jewish students and prevent them from moving, all the while yelling hate speech at them. No longer will they get away with blocking them from entering buildings, or banging menacingly on doors of classrooms where Jewish students have barricaded themselves inside, afraid of being assaulted. Administrators have gotten the message; campus and regular police will disperse those anti-Israel mobs, and arrest those among them who refuse to do so.
And now Congressional Republicans have announced they are opening an investigation into antisemitism on American campuses. That’s just the beginning. They also want to study the effects of the DEI madness — the unholy trinity of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” — on faculty hiring and promotion, course offerings, and more. Things are looking up.