Frank Luntz, Communications Guru, questions Jewish Student Response

Jewish Students Under Assault — Part I

Redacted from article by Jonathan Rosenblum


April 1, 2011

Video to follow: Muslim Student Confronts David Horowitz at University of California San Diego


Jewish college students find themselves increasingly under attack on campuses around the world. The seventh annual Israel Apartheid Week just took place on 55 campuses world-wide. Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney rightly described such events seeking to “promote Palestinian human rights” as “accompanied by anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation and bullying.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper lamented that the “anti-Israel mob” is frequently “allowed to prevail.” And opposition leader, Michael Ignatieff described the anti-Israel events as a “cocktail of ignorance and intolerance.” At Ottawa’s Carlton University, a non-Jewish supporter of Israel and his Israeli roommate were surrounded and then chased by an Arabic-speaking mob, one of whose members swung a machete that missed the head of the non-Jew by inches.


The demonization of Israel to which young Jews are exposed begins long before university studies; the campuses are merely the venue for the most intense exposure. British journalist Melanie Phillips described on Israel TV this week the “demonization, dehumanization, and delegitimization” of Israeli Jews that has become the daily fare of the mainstream British media, and which she documents in nauseating detail in her new book The World Turned Upside Down.


James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, explained on Jordanian TV already in 1990, how a powerful Arab Lobby could conquer the campuses and media by allying the Palestinians with the American Left – ’60s radicals now tenured professors, African-American student groups, and, above all, Jewish progressives. Vast sums of Arab oil money have been used to advance the process. Over the last ten years, 600 million dollars in Arab money has flowed to American universities — most to the elite universities, where the next generation of American leaders are trained — to fund Middle East Studies programs, for which excoriation of Israel is always the soup du jour.

The recent resignation of the head of the prestigious London School of Economics over the receipt of very large donation from Libya, and the granting of a spurious PhD. to Muammar Gaddafi’s son Seif in return, is an example of the same Arab largesse with strings attached in England.


The Jewish progressives have certainly filled their assigned role. Thirty professors of Jewish studies recently signed a petition asking Orange County, Calif. prosecutors to drop charges against Arab students who conspired to prevent Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Oren from speaking at University of California at Irvine.


Charles Jacobs and Avi Goldwasser, co-founders of the David Project to combat the anti-Israel tenor of American universities, describe the success of Zogby’s project: Radical professors express the dominant narrative that Israel is a racist, genocidal nation. “Outside the classroom anti-Israel groups hold conferences, screen films and conduct theatrical demonstrations that portray Israel in the harshest terms. Israel’ advocates are prevented from speaking; pro-Israel events are disrupted; Jewish students are intimidated verbally or even physically, and are excluded from pro-Palestinian events.


Nor do academics even feel the need to hide their visceral distaste for Jews, not just Israelis. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz just returned from Norway, where none of the country’s three leading universities would agree to sponsor a lecture by him on Israel and International Law, offered free of charge. The same universities have hosted speeches by prominent academic proponents of BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) against Israel, such as Ilan Pappe. The framer of one Norwegian academic boycott petition began with an explicit reference to Jews’ – even secular Jews’ — “self-satisfied [and] self-centered tribal mentality.”


ON THE UNIVERSITY CAMPUSES, there will always be a hard-core group of students whose identity is strengthened by the sense of being a minority under siege, but for most the effect is just the opposite. Even those with the strongest Jewish identity become apologetic, if not absolutely cowed, when the subject of Israel arises.


Communications guru Frank Luntz recently described to the Jerusalem Post’s David Horowitz a focus group he did with 35 Harvard and MIT students, 20 non-Jewish and 15 Jewish. Within ten minutes, the non-Jewish students had started talking about “Israeli war crimes,” “the Israel Lobby,” “Jewish power.” And all the while the Jewish students just sat there as if struck dumb. It took a full 49 minutes, until the head of the Harvard Israel Action group tried to answer. After three hours, Luntz dismissed the non-Jewish students and berated some of the brightest Jewish students in America for having being unwilling or incapable of responding.


By way of partial explanation, Luntz suggested that the Jewish students have been raised by parents for whom tolerance and being non-judgmental are the supreme values – particularly the vast majority of Jewish students from left-wing background, As a consequence, they are uncomfortable standing up for Israel against Palestinian claims.


The failure to provide Jewish university students with more tools to defend themselves constitutes one of the great failures of organized Jewry in both the United States and Great Britain. But the explanation is not hard to find. In their ambivalence towards Israel, Jewish students merely reflect the ambivalence of the larger community, including many in leadership positions in organized Jewish life.

From: Americans for a Safe Israel afsi@rcn.com  

  


 

 
 
 
 

 

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