Selling Liberal Jews a Bill of Goods – Another Caroline Glick masterpiece

Redacted from article by CAROLINE B. GLICK
June 24, 2011

Just before Obama snowballed his Jewish donors in Washington, Yale engaged in a similarly transparent bid to romance its Jewish supporters. This week we have been witness to two transparent attempts to sell liberal American Jews a bill of goods. And from the looks of things, both were successful.

The first instance of liberal American Jewish credulity this week unfolded in Washington. At a five-star hotel, eighty Jewish donors shelled out between $25,000-35,800 to attend a fundraiser with US President Barack Obama.
The second instance Yale University launched new program on anti-Semitism after Jews decry Yale closing anti-Semitism study center.

As has become his habit, Obama opened his remarks by talking about his commitment to Israel’s security. And as has become his habit, Obama went on to say that it is his job to force Israelis to bow to his demands because he knows what is best for Israel. Speaking of his ongoing efforts to force Israel to concede its right to defensible borders before entering into negotiations with the Hamas-Fatah unity government, Obama said, “There are going to be moments over the course of the next six months or the next 12 months or the next 24 months in which there may be tactical disagreements [between the US and Israel] in terms of how we approach these difficult problems.”

Obama went on to say that he expects his American Jewish supporters to take his side in his attacks on Israel. As he put it, the quest for peace between Israel and the Hamas-Fatah government is “going to require that not only this administration employs all of its creative powers to try to bring about peace in the region, but it’s also going to require all of you as engaged citizens of the United States who are friends of Israel making sure…that you’re helping to shape how both Americans and Israelis think about the opportunities and challenges.”

And how did the Jewish donors respond to Obama’s presentation? They loved it. They were, in the words of Obama donor Marilyn Victor, “re-assured.” Speaking with Politico, New York businessman, Jack Bendheim said, “I think he nailed and re-nailed his commitment to the security of the State of Israel.” Other attendees interviewed in the article echoed his sentiments. Imagine how they would have swooned if Obama had confessed a secret love for bagels and lox.

What does Obama have to do for these liberal American Jews to accept that he is no friend of Israel’s? Apparently the answer is that there is nothing Obama can do that will convince his many American Jewish supporters that he is not Israel’s friend. They will never believe such a thing because doing so will require them to choose between two unacceptable options. The first option is to admit to themselves that in voting for Obama, they are voting against Israel.

Just hours before Obama snowballed his Jewish donors in Washington, Yale University engaged in a similarly transparent bid to romance its willfully gullible Jewish supporters. Yale University’s announcement two weeks ago that it was shutting down the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA) unleashed a storm of protest. Students, faculty, alumni and major Jewish organizations all expressed anger and disappointment with Yale’s surprise move.

Yale justified its decision on the basis of two falsehoods. First it claimed that YIISA had failed to undertake sufficient top quality scholarship. Yet in the wake of the announcement dozens of leading scholars of anti-Semitism co-signed a letter authored by Prof. Alvin Rosenfeld, who directs Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism, praising the YIISA as “a pioneer in advancing research on contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism.”

The second reason that Yale claimed it was closing YIISA was because there was insufficient faculty and student interest in its programs. This falsehood was ridiculous on its face since several dozen Yale faculty members served on YIISA’s various academic committees and boards of advisers.

The main suspicion provoked by Yale’s decision to close YIISA was that it was doing so to appease Islamic critics. YIISA’s Director Prof. Charles Small focused its attention on contemporary forms of anti-Semitism. Since the most dangerous form of contemporary anti-Semitism is Islamic anti-Semitism, Small made Islamic anti-Semitism a focus of YIISA’s research activities. The concern arose that Yale closed YIISA in order to end campus research and discourse on the topic.

Monday Yale tried to quell the controversy surrounding its decision to close YIISA by announcing that it was forming a new institute called the Yale Program for the Study of Anti-Semitism. Yale announced that its tenured professor Maurice Samuels will serve as director of the program. Samuels is a scholar of French literature. In his acceptance announcement Samuels addressed Yale’s critics promising that, “YPSA will discuss both contemporary anti-Semitism and historical anti-Semitism.” He also said that in the coming year YPSA will hold a major conference on the topic of French anti-Semitism. Samuels’ statement is notable for two reasons.

First, if it is true, then the only difference between YPSA and YIISA is the director. And the only thing Yale was really interested in doing was firing Small. To offset criticism of its transparent move, Yale has been waging a whispering campaign against Small. Yale administrators have been insinuating that because the university did not hire him as a regular member of the Yale faculty that Small is not an academic, or somehow not good enough for Yale. But Small was in fact, on the Yale faculty. He was a lecturer in the Political Science department and ran one of Yale’s post-doctorate and graduate studies fellowship programs. Despite his intensive work building YIISA, Small taught a heavy course load.

Their willingness to support Yale’s bid to curtail research and discussion of Islamic Jew-hatred and allow Yale to scapegoat Small demonstrates an affliction common to liberal American Jews today. It is the same affliction that makes them unable to countenance voting for a Republican.

That affliction is class snobbery. By insinuating that Small is not up to Yale’s academic standards, Yale was able to rally the Jewish members of its larger community by appealing to their snobbery. The fact that Yale didn’t mind Small serving as a dissertation advisor to its doctoral candidates is immaterial. The facts be damned.

The same Ivy League snobbery that makes it socially unacceptable to vote for a Republican – and certainly not for a Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann despite their deep-seated and consistent support for Israel – is what allowed Yale to get away with ending its study of Islamic anti-Semitism by besmirching Small’s academic achievements and good name. Remove him from the club, and you end opposition to his academically unjustifiable firing.

The great circus master P.T. Barnum said famously that there is a sucker born every minute. Liberal American Jews aren’t born suckers. They become suckers out of their own free will.

caroline@carolineglick.com

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