Progressive institutions remain silent on antisemitism

Academic and political intolerance is just as much a form of abuse and intimidation as the physical violence exercised by bigoted brutes.

A man wearing a Swastika [Illustrative] (photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
A man wearing a Swastika [Illustrative]
(photo credit: CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS)
Periodic outbreaks of orchestrated hatred, street mob violence and pogroms were a common experience for Jews in many countries for centuries. After the Holocaust, we thought these were a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, it seems we were mistaken. In recent years, antisemitism has raised its head again – only now the violent mobs of the past have been replaced with furious liberal intellectuals and ranting political activists, the physical violence of yesteryear substituted with verbal abuse and intimidation in the realm of academia and political debate.
Academic and political intolerance is just as much a form of abuse and intimidation as the physical violence exercised by bigoted brutes. We know that there is no difference between physical and mental abuse. Abuse is anything that hurts you, either mentally, physically or emotionally, and is worse when carried out by a person in a position of authority.
Jewish and pro-Israel students and academics experience daily antagonism for simply having a different opinion. They are harassed in the same venues that hold the concept of safe spaces so dear – safe spaces for everyone except Jews, apparently.
Jewish members of mainstream political parties find that the same colleagues who are militantly vocal in condemnation of racism and white supremacy, willingly cooperate and join hands with hatred and genocidal Islamic religious extremism directed at Jews and the State of Israel. They cooperate with open and violent bigotry, in the guise of “free speech” and the excuse of “legitimate criticism” of the State of Israel.
Progressive institutions remain silent when hooligans disrupt and harass talks by Israeli representatives and rallies by Jewish students. They tolerate the onslaught of propaganda, lies and slander aimed at delegitimizing Israel, and promoting incitement and hatred. Institutions meant to be the sanctuary for the free flow of information and exchange of ideas have become an arena dedicated to vilifying Israel and suppressing the truth by academic professors and lecturers. This is similar to the dark times when priests used their pulpits to demonize the Jews and incite the masses.
The silencing of Israel’s narrative through academic intimidation and boycotts is in effect an intellectual pogrom. Isolating and falsely demonizing Israel as a pariah state or an international outlaw, or as being beyond the pale, are no more than an attempt to cast the Jewish people into an academic and intellectual ghetto. Their aim is to ethnically cleanse the Jewish narrative and the truth from the legitimate debate on the Middle East.
Social media and online networking are employed to make the demonization of Israel part and parcel of mainstream discourse. Myths they propagate become widespread on the blogosphere, with groups on Facebook, threads on Twitter and countless videos on YouTube forming the basis of a digital pogrom against the Jewish narrative. This process of delegitimization is an affront to freedom of speech, a fundamental right in any democracy.
They do this to none of the countries in the world with despotic regimes and a prevailing absence of human and civil rights, not to mention academic freedom. Only Israel.
The Saudi, Iranian and Qatari money creating seats in the Middle East centers and studies makes it profitable for academics who vilify Israel, just as European governments make it profitable for self-proclaimed human rights groups and Israeli organizations to vilify Israel and its legitimate and natural acts of self-defense.
Financial gain is not the only incentive. Political indoctrination and the attempt to push a political agenda at all costs have contaminated the intellectual integrity of the most honorable academic institutions and respected political parties. Moral cowardice of the political leadership allows this hatred of Jews and Israel to run rampant.
The spreading of libels goes beyond the political debate and academic institutions. Very often, academic centers are commissioned by legislators to create the curriculum for high schools. Thus, the politician’s and academic’s warped interpretation of events in the Middle East and animosity toward Israel are spread to a younger generation, a generation that lacks the knowledge or intellectual capacity to understand and oppose the hateful indoctrination it is being manipulated by. Most grotesquely, taxpayers’ money is used to perpetuate the anti-Israel bias
The creation and existence of a Jewish state have made the unbridled violence against Jews a thing of the past. Israel is both a sanctuary and a defense for Jews the world over. The animosity to Jews has not subsided though, with “progressive” intellectuals now taking the role of Cossacks and Nazis.
The writer served as deputy director-general of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry.