Antisemitism
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Campus antisemitism reminds Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu of 1930s Germany. Professor Shai Davidai writing to the COO of Columbia reverts to the German comparison too:

“There were millions of Germans like you in the 1930s who were just doing their jobs. Who do you think ran the universities of Berlin and Munich and Heidelberg and Frankfurt in the 1930s? Who helped the Hitler Youth check out books by Jewish authors to burn outside of campus? Administrators. Just like you."

Clearly there is disquiet abroad. The uncompromising fury, the way Columbia spawned pro-Hamas encampments across America (and now the Atlantic) comports eerily with pre-Holocaust German academia and the run up to passing laws against Jews. The banners, the flags, the keffiyehs, the vitriol the violence - make the campus an all-out assault against allowing Jews the rights other minorities take for granted. “The idea is that Jewish students and faculty should be able to tolerate this because they are white”, wrote a professor at Columbia.

Dangerous Jew-hatred (redundant because it can never be safe) blew the lid off the pressure cooker. When anti-Jew advocacy runs riot, anti-Jew acts won’t be far behind. “Zionists don't deserve to live”' a queer Columbia student rants. If spooky enough to be identified by the pronoun “they”, ipso facto she’d be spooky enough to go out and kill a subhuman Zionist.

The brainwashed starts at a tender age: “The other night I watched a dad coming from the protest with his little girl, giving a good hard few final snaps on the drum he was carrying, nodding at her in crisp salute, percussing his perspective into her little mind.”

Since harmony has gone for good why not set a cat among the pigeons and see what may come from slipping in two authors who, both of them Jews, make so bold as to back the Columbia solidarity (with Hamas) encampment. Michelle Goldberg, columnist for the New York Times, considers the campers to be legitimate critics of Israel: GOP Wanted Crackdown on Israel Critics. Columbia Obliged

“By bending over backward to be agreeable, Columbia’s exceptionally poised president, Nemat Shafik emerged from the four-hour grilling largely unscathed. All that’s been damaged is Columbia’s guarantee of academic freedom. There is no question that in recent months there have been incidents of blatant, unacceptable antisemitism at Columbia: a swastika was graffitied in a campus bathroom, and an Israeli student hanging up posters of hostages was assaulted.

And as at many other schools, some at Columbia have celebrated terrorism; in an ugly essay repeatedly cited at the hearings, Massad, the anti-Zionist professor, wrote of “jubilation and awe” occasioned by the “innovative Palestinian resistance” of Oct. 7. But just as the existence of Communists in America didn’t justify McCarthyism, the rhetorical parts of the campus left don’t make it OK for Congress to demand that universities curtail denunciations of Israel while it wages a brutal war on Gaza.”

Now make believe that you are debating Michelle Goldberg over her opinion that Columbia students are critics of Israel. You have to convince the moderator about where criticizing Israel ends and hating Israel begins. The tools at your disposal are two rule sets for defining anti-Semitism which Zionist spokespeople hold in high regard. One is the “3 D” rule devised by Natan Sharansky: Delegitimisation. Demonisation. Double standards. The other was made by a committee, which already lowers confidence. To win the debate you must use either definition or both to put your opponent on the spot.

How useful were the definitions? Did you win the debate by convincing the moderator that the 3 Ds or the higgledy piggledy other definition proves that the happy campers at Columbia could not possibly be “Israel critics”?

Robert Reich may not be as beatable an opponent as Michelle Goldberg. Reich after all is a former US secretary of labor on top of being a professor of public policy. The title of his column could have been designed to drive a disputant mad: “Protesting against slaughter – as students in the US are doing – isn’t antisemitism.”

It is not too difficult to pick out instances of hypocrisy and shallow deception. But that won’t win you the debate. You have to close Reich down by using one or both definitions to persuade the moderator that “the protesting against slaughter” can be antisemitism and nothing else. Take it away.

“Can we be clear about a few things? Protesting against this slaughter is not expressing antisemitism. It is not engaging in hate speech. It is not endangering Jewish students. It is doing what should be done on a college campus – taking a stand against a perceived wrong, thereby provoking discussion and debate. Education is all about provocation. Without being provoked – stirred, unsettled, goaded – even young minds can remain stuck in old tracks. The Israel-Hamas war is horrifying. The atrocities committed by both sides illustrate the capacities of human beings for inhumanity and show the vile consequences of hate. For these reasons, it presents an opportunity for students to re-examine their preconceptions and learn from one another. The mission of a university is to coach students in how to learn, not tell them what to think. It is to invite debate, not suppress it.”

“Provoke young minds”? “Preconceptions”? Death to America, death to Israel. Zionists don’t deserve to live. Can you imagine Piers Morgan permitting the lift of an eyebrow and the ghost of a caustic smile on that stolid chin. And you haven’t even brought the 3D definition into play.

“Delegitimisation” if you can get the tongue around it, means,

“The process of constructing a categorization of groups into extreme social categories which are ultimately excluded from society. It provides the moral and the discursive basis to harm the delegitimized group, even in the most inhumane ways".

“Demonisation" is the act or fact of regarding, treating or speaking of a person or thing as entirely bad.

“Double standards” are a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another”. A code of morals may apply extra severe standards of behaviour to Israel and to the Jews.

Do you see the problem? Not one the Ds is specific to Israel or to Jews. I mean Democrats, delegitimise MAGA supporters all the time. Don’t they? They also demonise and apply double standards to MAGA supporters. The IHRA committee definition is uniquely applicable, though it is also uncommonly complex. Read half my, “Making anti-Semitism complex has failed to fight it” and see why it would make your debating opponent go, oh my gosh.

Well then what? A definition consisting of 16 everyday words from the time when Jesus was possibly alive? There weren’t even pro-Hamas protests on Columbia lawns in the first Century.

“In every generation there are those who rise up against us and seek to destroy us.”

Had you participated in a Seder over the festival of Passover you would have come across the statement in a thin book known as the Haggadah (If the book came with commentaries it would have been fatter.) Sixteen words and what do you get: another day older and deeper in doubt. (Apologies to Tennessee ernie Ford and his “16 Tons” classic)

But who wants to destroy whom? Antisemites want to destroy the Jews. Yes, yes, Hitler, Iran, Hamas...They go without saying. But what’s it got to do with Michelle Goldberg and Robert Reich who have a soft spot for college kids having provocative preconceptions that Jews deserve death. Words and deeds, dear readers, blew off the paper thin cover of Hitler wannabes. However – and Professor Reich, your tenure depends on things that cannot be spoken within trumpet blast of Ivy League walls. No, it is more than that: there are things that cannot be permitted to be true. Israel is in the right and Hamas in the wrong.

Every anti-Zionist; every ‘pro-Palestine’ government; every Ivy League professor and student shouting for Hamas; every charity with a humanitarian mandate (the International Red Cross, UN Human Rights Council and Amnesty are Hitler wannabes); every pro-Palestinian/Hamas group; the UN gargoyle with its Court of Justice; oh and your “critics of Israel’ who complain that no one may criticize it without being called antisemite. Every one of them would have felt morally comfortable to let Hitler be. In their different guises and degrees of frenzy every pro-Hamas has been caught harbouring a flagrant ambition to witness the liquidation of Zionists. These nightmares are not double standards at play or delegitimation or demonization because then we would demand the freedom to call for the liquidation of every queer.

We are not mind readers. People give themselves away by words and deeds. When protestor or a President demands an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and stigmatises Israel but not Hamas for not laying down arms, that person declares that dead Jews and the destruction of Israel is what he/they/she wants to happen.

Why is it about professors of Law and judges at the ICJ that they make up laws when prosecuting Israel? Because they want to render it helpless. They want mass Jewish death. Professor Francisca Albanese made law that Israel has no right to self-defence because of being an occupying power. She had to invent the State of Palestine before proving that Israel occupies it. The judges at the Hague do the same trick. They live for the idea of dead Jews.

Up to the Passover Seder I had been blissfully oblivious that I was not the developer of the simplest and most effective definition in town. The year I first ‘discovered’ it was 2012 and plunked it in my modest tome, today only available as an eBook. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007PIVM6G

Ever since, for the last dozen years, I’ve been developing the notion that every antisemite wants personally to kill Jews or to facilitate others to kill Jews. Who besides antisemites desire Jews to be dead? Of all types of racism is not anti-Jewish racism the only exterminationist type. One who is an anti Black racist does not hope or plot for black people to be wiped off the face of the earth.

Thank you for your patience. This is how to put Michelle Goldberg and Robert Reich on the spot. Excusing the tent-dwellers of Columbia, they excuse an all-consuming desire to murder Jews.

Steve Apfel is a world authority on anti-Zionism and a prolific author in general. Follow STEVE APFEL .