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October 14, 2012 4:58 pm

Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews (REVIEW)

avatar by Edward Alexander

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Genocidal Liberalism: The University's Jihad Against Israel & Jews, by Richard L. Cravatts.

Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews, by Richard L. Cravatts.  Sherman Oaks, CA: David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2012.

By locating a genocidal impulse at work in today’s universities, the explosive title of this book (somewhat weakened by that over-used  word “jihad”) inevitably calls to mind an earlier book called Hitler’s Professors: The Part of Scholarship in Germany’s Crimes Against the Jewish People (YIVO, 1946), by Max Weinreich. That classic text cast  a backward look at the multitude of German professors (almost none of them “liberal”)  who served their dictatorial master’s needs by making antisemitism academically respectable and openly complicit in the destruction of European Jewry.  Their task was to put scholarship at the service of “the Jewish question.” But now, so Professor  Cravatts argues, the Jewish question has been renamed “the Israeli question “ and the “scholars”  who zealously pursue it are mainly liberals. Whereas Hitler’s professors kept asking “Do Jews have the right to live?” their liberal descendants keep asking: “Does Israel  have the right to exist?” The latter, like the former, answer NO.

How, asks Cravatts, “did the academic left come to hate  Israel,” which had been  looked on by most (not all)) liberals prior to June 1967 with approval and sympathy?  By 2007  Stanley Fish could observe in the New York Times that  at most American universities “anti-Israel sentiment flourishes  and is regarded more or less as a default position.” Moreover, added Fish, “When hostility to Israel comes, antisemitism is not far behind.”

In spring 2002, I arranged, through faculty channels but with great difficulty, for Daniel Pipes to give a lecture at my university. Even before a public announcement was made, I received a barrage of stern warnings by e-mail—from  American Muslims of Puget Sound, from “progressive” student groups, from  a wide assortment of Israel-haters– against proceeding. When I refused to cancel the lecture,  these complainers demanded equal time to “rebut” the speaker, which (of course) I also refused. For nearly a month I had to meet weekly with campus police to turn over threatening e-mails and to discuss security arrangements for Mr. Pipes.  On the evening of the lecture I had to deliver Pipes, via an underground tunnel, to two burly armed policemen who escorted him up into the lecture hall. And the University of Washington community is far less hostile to Israel  than its counterparts at such institutions as University of California (Berkeley, UCLA,  or Irvine, for example) or  University of Pennsylvania—or Brandeis. (“That’s because you have fewer Jewish students,” was how one wag explained the difference to me.)

Cravatts  names a variety of causes for the sharp decline in Israel’s status in academe. Having  been badly defeated on the field of battle in June 1967, the Arabs proved far more adept than their Jewish enemies in the war of ideas. For nineteen years, from 1948-67, the suddenly “occupied” territories had been entirely in the hands of the Arabs, theirs to do with whatever they pleased; yet it had never occurred to them to establish a Palestinian state there. Now, after endlessly reiterating that “Israel’s existence is itself an aggression” (Nasser’s words) and  having failed to  “throw the Jews into the sea,” they  presented  their cause to the world  as that of a beleaguered people deprived of its own state.  This  strategy  appealed powerfully to “progressives,” including (if not especially)  the Jewish ones. By 1970, Irving Howe (a non-Zionist himself) lamented: “Jewish boys and girls, children of the generation that saw Auschwitz, hate democratic Israel and celebrate as ‘revolutionary’ the Egyptian dictatorship;…a few go so far as to collect money for Al Fatah, which pledges to take Tel Aviv. About this, I cannot say more;  it is simply too painful.”

In subtler ways, the debasement of academic liberalism itself rendered its practitioners incapable of recognizing that Israel’s foundation was one of the greatest affirmations a martyred people had ever made.   Liberalism grew more and more dogmatic and dictatorial,  inclined to transform certain academic disciplines into “grievance” studies, receptive to the (fascist) idea that physiology determines culture, unashamed to select political desperadoes like MIT’s Louis Kampf to run their  professional organizations.    More and more they singled out Israel as the globe’s most blatant “anachronism” in a world that was (supposedly) moving happily away from the very idea of the nation-state and  national religious identity. Apologetics for what Michael Lerner had called the “earned antisemitism” of black violence against Jews in America now became the trademark of advanced liberals when estimating Palestinian violence against Israelis.

Liberals  more and more condemned Israel not in proportion to her misdeeds against Palestinians but in lockstep with Palestinian terror against Israelis. Paul Berman,  himself a liberal but a liberal chastened by experience, reflection, and renouncement, defined the process brilliantly: “Each new act of murder and suicide testified to how oppressive were the Israelis. Palestinian terror, in this view, was the measure of Israeli guilt. The more grotesque the terror, the deeper the guilt….And even Nazism struck many of Israel’s critics as much too pale an explanation for the horrific nature of Israeli action . For the pathos of suicide terror is limitless, and if Palestinian teenagers were blowing themselves up in acts of random murder, a rational explanation was going to require ever more extreme tropes, beyond even Nazism.” Liberal academicians like Gayatri Spivak (Columbia), Karen Armstrong (Leo Baeck College and PBS),  Jacqueline Rose and Ted Honderich (London University) became the glib metaphysicians of this mad science, professors for suicide bombing.

Cravatts has undertaken a very ambitious survey of the ideological roots of anti-Israelism, of the major anti-Israel “battlegrounds” (California campuses, Middle East Studies programs, radical student groups, Orwellian hate-fests, Boycott/Divestment/Sanction campaigns, and kangaroo courts called “academic conferences” in which Israel is permanently on trial. His concluding chapter offers practical suggestions on how to throw back this relentless academic campaign to blacken Israel’s reputation in order expel it from the family of nations.

A map so large as Cravatts’ cannot possibly provide a detailed examination of each location it includes; but if I had to choose one that best epitomizes this landscape  of outrage and also justifies Cravatts’ shocking title I would choose “the Paulin affair” of 2002-03.

George Orwell once posed the question of whether we have the right to expect common decency from minor poets. The prominence of Tom Paulin (whose poetry fluctuates between political doggerel and free verse of the sort that reminded Robert Frost of “playing tennis with the net down”)  in Britain’s literary and academic  world makes that question as compelling as ever it was. Until the year 2000 Paulin was also a critic aggressively politicizing  literature, viewing the work of D. H. Lawrence, for example, through the prism of “post-colonialism,” a pseudo-scholarly enterprise whose primary aim is the delegitimization of Israel. But in October 2000 he persuaded himself that an Indian student for whom he served as “moral tutor” at Oxford’s Hertford College had been discriminated against by an Israeli professor of Islamic philosophy named Fritz Zimmermann. He alleged (in over 200 phone calls on behalf of his protégé) that Zimmermann had been “bunged off to Israel to get out of the way.” The case was dismissed in a Reading  court on April 23, 2002  when the presiding judge severely rebuked Paulin, pointing out  that Zimmermann “was not in any way motivated by race,” that “neither Mr. Ahmed [the student] nor Mr. Paulin honestly thought there was any racial element in the complaint.” He also pointed out that Paulin’s abstruse research into Zimmermann’s ethnic and national identity was flawed: Zimmermann  was neither Jewish nor Israeli, but a German Gentile.

The court’s judgment was handed down just a few days after Paulin made his most ambitious bid for world  fame  by telling an interviewer for the Cairo weekly paper, Al Ahram, that he abhorred Brooklyn-born Jewish “settlers” and believed “they should be shot dead. I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them.” (For good measure, he added that Israel had “no right to exist.”) This unambiguous incitement to raw murder was clearly in violation of British law. The Terrorism Act 2000, section 59, states: “A person commits an offence if he incites another person to commit an act of terrorism wholly or partly outside the United Kingdom. It is immaterial whether or not the person incited is in the United Kingdom at the time of the incitement.”  But Paulin uttered his call for the murder of Jews living in the disputed territories with complete impunity—though not without substantial reward. He soon took to the welcoming pages of the London  Review of Books (January 2003) with a 133-line poem called “On Being Dealt the Anti-Semitic Card.” Here , along with numerous apoplectic and incoherent utterances on the Crusades, Joseph de Maistre, the Enlightenment, and Christian fundamentalism, he spewed forth his extreme dissatisfaction with being called an antisemite: “the program though/of saying Israel’s critics/are tout court anti-Semitic/is designed daily by some schmuck/to make you shut the f—up.”

But the publicity generated by the two British scandals was as nothing compared with what was provided Paulin in America, courtesy of Harvard and Columbia. In November 2002 Paulin, now a visiting professor in the English Department of Columbia, was invited to be the Morris Gray lecturer by the Harvard English department. Cravatts quotes that department’s chairman, Lawrence Buell,  explaining the selection as Harvard’s way of affirming its “belief in the importance of free speech…in the academy.” Rumors were also circulating that Columbia was considering a permanent appointment for him there—perhaps because its most famous member, the late Edward Said, had lauded Paulin for being “a reader of almost fanatical scrupulosity.”

At Harvard the dispute over Paulin became one about free speech or “hate speech” or (perhaps) the constitutional right of a British subject to have an endowed lectureship bestowed on him in America. (Britain does have a surplus of such people.) After much tumult, the English faculty, with the blessing of Harvard president Lawrence Summers, rescinded its invitation to Paulin. But then the school’s civil liberties absolutists weighed in on behalf of Paulin’s “right” to lecture, and the English faculty reinvited him. (Some urged that he should be encouraged to speak because they were confident that his egregious stupidity would expose him to deserved ridicule and keep him from wallowing in the [painless] martyrdom he sought.)

The deeper significance of the Paulin affair was revealed, unintentionally, by Shakespeare scholar Professor James Shapiro, one of Columbia’s most ardent defenders of a Paulin appointment. Casting his eye over Paulin’s oral and written remarks about shooting Jews dead and destroying their country, Shapiro declared that they “did not step over the line.” Apparently Shapiro’s dividing line is like the receding horizon; he walks toward it, but can never reach it. The real question—not whether Paulin should be reciting poems at Harvard or tutoring students at Columbia but whether or not he should be in Reading Gaol (like an earlier and much better Oxford poet named Wilde)—was almost entirely ignored.

Public discourse about Jews and Israel had now crossed a threshold: the dividing line between the permissible and the possible had been erased. In the following months writers and publications that had long been hostile to Israel did, in more “civilized” and literate form, what Paulin had already done in his unkempt Yahoo style: they moved from strident criticism of Israel to apologias for antisemitic violence and calls for dissolution of the country. The liberal UC Berkeley historian Martin Jay (in Salmagundi, winter/spring 2003) merely blamed Jews for “causing” the “new antisemitism; but  Paul Krugman (Princeton) went a step further (New York Times, October 23, 2003) by “explaining” (away) the Malaysian Mahathir Mohamad’s regurgitation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as “anti-Semitism with a Purpose”;  and then the liberal historian Tony Judt (NYU) outdid both of them in the New York Review of Books (October 23, 2003)—the Women’s Wear Daily of liberal academics–by calling for the end of the State of Israel as the panacea for the ills of the world. It was Judt’s call for politicide that provoked the invention (by David Frum) of the term that has provided Cravatts with the title for his important book.

Edward Alexander’s most recent book is The State of the Jews: A Critical Appraisal (Transaction Publishers, 2012).

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  • A liberal is not a leftist, although the boundary between the two is blurred. Nadine Gordimer once said “I’m not a liberal. I’m a leftist” (reported in “A Vibrant Battler of Apartheid Keeps Her Vibrancy,” The New York Times, May 10, 2002).
    Andrei Markovits, writing in the Winter 2005 issue of Dissent, which straddles the border between liberal and left, equated progressives with leftists when he said, “A new European (an American) commonality for all lefts—a new litmus test of progressive politics—seems to have developed: anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism (though not anti-Semitism, or at least not yet).”
    Noted feminist writer Phyllis Chesler, in her 2003 book The New Anti-Semitism, writes, “Islamic reactionaries and western intellectuals and progressives who may disagree on every other subject have agreed that Israel and America are the cause of all evil.”

  • Martha

    Islamic Jihad massacres, as hate crimes en-masse

    Every Islamic terror act, anywhere, is a clear cut case of intolerance. It is always against the “other.”

    True, by Islamic Jihad any infidel targets are fair-game. It’s just that some groups are easier targets than others, as “justification” are aided by propaganda, often backed by some radical liberals in the West. Such are many Muslim aggressors posing as “victims.” For instance, those Arab immigrants’ grandchildren, invaders in Jews’ Israel/Palestine who go by the title “Palestinians,” while some in the West really buy the notion that these mass-murderers (who hide behind civilians, to bring about casualties, to be used as trophies) are just about “Palestine-Arab-State,” ignoring or unaware of their real ethnic cleansing aims from the entire Holy Land.

    Ethno-religious hatred classics:

    Arab supremacy –derived from Koran, Koranic spirit and themes– especially resulting in enslaving Africans and Asians in the Arab world (often having the “inferior” non-Arabs as ‘sex-slaves’ as well) and the genocide in the Sudan (of already 3.5 million, since the 1950s) by a classic combination of Arab racism and Islamic Jihad. The same diabolical combination that “founded” (in the 1920s) the Arab Vs Israel “conflict,” by infamous Mufti who collaborated with the ultimate ‘racists’ – the WW2 Hitler/Nazis. Ever since, the ‘holy war’ against the Jews in the land has always been under the dual slogan of Allah Akbar and Itbach al-Yahud (AKA genocide). Leaving also behind, an inspired legacy of decades (and current) of ugly Nazi style cartoons in the hateful Arab press.

    The Armenian Genocide 1915-23, was both: Turkish ethnic supremacy and an overall holy war against Christians. The same goes to Turkish anti-Greek and anti-Assyrian genocide. Totaling a combined 2.7 million Christian victims.

    Ethno-Religious Moro-Muslims VS Philippines’ natives.

    Ethno-Religious Malay-Muslims VS Thai natives.

    Ethno-Religious Islamic-Hausa-Fulani VS Igbo Christians in Biafra Nigeria – 1960s-70s (3 million dead).
    Current (2011-13) Boko Haram Islamic mass-murder campaign in that country, deepens the Ethno-Religious divide.

    Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam Black-Muslim supremacy’s anti-White racism is deeply woven with radical Islamic vision. So were its linked Zebra murders in the 1970s and the Beltway snipers shootings in 2002.

    Ethno-Religious “pure-Muslim” Pakistani VS Bangladeshi (regarded as the impure) genocide – 1971 (3 million dead).

    Ethno-Religious “Palestinian” and Lebanese Muslims VS Christian Natives Maronites in Lebanon. 1970s-2000.

    Iran-Iraq war – 1980s (a million victims – at least). Racism (Arab supremacy vs Aryan-Iranians) and “we are the true Muslims” motivation, on both sides.

    Pakistani Sunnis and Shiites VS Ethno-Religious Ahmadis, resulting in mass violence. So is rampant anti-Ahmadi bigotry among “Palestinian” Arabs.

    Ethno-Religious Muslim-Uighur VS Han native Chinese. Terror attacks (not just against government but against ordinary Chinese too) recorded.

    Ethno-Religious Indonesian Muslims VS Chinese (especially in the late ’90s, mass rape and murder); Vs native Papuans (100,000 dead); Vs native Catholics in E. Timor (1975-99, resulting in 200,000 victims).

    One of the ardent supporters and admirers of Osama bin Laden, who celebrated 9/11 massacre, the pan-Arab, pan-Islamic AEL (Arab European League) founded by Arab Lebanese, former Hezbollah D. A. Jahjah, has been accused of inciting racism and violence in Belgium.

    Ever since the bloody ‘Islamic theme of al-Aqsa’ intifada erupted (2000), Jews in Europe have been even an easier target to Islamic anti-Semitism, physical attacks and attempted ethnic cleansing. Such as by Arab/African Muslims in France; by Turkish/Iranian Muslims in Germany; by Arab-Muslims in the Benelux, Sweden and Norway. The kidnappers and torturers to death of Ilan Halimi to the sound of reciting the Koran (Paris, 2006) –for instance– were inspired by Hamas literature.
    The (2012) Toulouse school massacre by Mohamed Merah of the Islamic hate group ‘Forsane Alizza,’ (NYT reported Jan/23/12, that its site was laced with hate posting, it typically claimed to be “fighting Islamophobia,” and the DailyTelegraph reported Mar/23/12, that in Jan/12, “Forsane Alizza was banned in France for inciting racial hatred,”) made sure to mention those “Palestinians.”
    Likewise, Arabs in Latin America, have been targeting Jews.

    The Pakistani Jihadi Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) in Mumbai (2008), aided by the ISI (Pakistan Spy Agency) specifically targeted Whites, and even more so the Jews.

    Ethno-Religious Arab-Muslims VS native Coptic-Christians in Egypt, hate crimes still going on…

    Ethno-Religious (mostly separated by origin/ethnicity as well) Shiite VS Sunnis, and vice versa in Iraq (Zarqawi argued that ‘Shia were more dangerous than the “Zionists and Crusaders,”‘ Egyptian Cleric said -Mar/09- “Shiites are worse than Jews,”) and in Pakistan.
    Sunni Vs Alawites, Syria (al-Qaeda cleric’s Fatwa -Jul/12- calls Alawites, “greater infidels than the Christians and Jews”).
    Bloodshed going on, full force.
    A study about 2011 worldwide terror attacks -for example- found 70% of the (over 12,000) killings were perpetrated by Sunni Muslims. That includes: al-Qaeda, Taliban, and others.

    Last point but not least: most “conflicts” and bloodshed around the globe today ARE correlated to Islamism.

  • Carlos Perera

    The university’s jihad against Israel and Jews sounds an awful lot like its jihad against Western civilization in general. For what it is worth, my own view is that the Left–including its academic division–will reflexively take the side of the “Other” against any representative of the West; Israel is viewed as a colonialist outpost of the West, working its wicked will on the virtuous “indigenous people of color” they dominate in the Middle East; Judaism is one of the pillars (along with Greek civilization) on which the modern West is founded philosophically, hence it is suspect, even apart from its Zionist manifestation.

    Once the Left categorizes social, demographic, religious, or ideological groups as “oppressors” or “oppressed” no amount of sound argumentation suffices to justify the actions of the former or discredit those of the latter. Thus, racial, ethnic, or religious groups that are wrapped in the mantle of the virtuous oppressed–like the Palestinians–can do no wrong, whereas those that are tarred with the opprobrium of the latter can do no right. And, following the Marcusean doctrine of “repressive tolerance,” the Left will brook no argument from the oppressor groups: they will be opposed “by any means necessary,” including physical repression, terrorism, etc.

    Until the men of the West are willing to meet the challenge of the Left nose-to-nose on the terms of a battlefield, we–and that includes Israel and the Jews–will continue to cede ground to those who would bury us in the ash heap of history.

  • jerry kleiner

    If my experiences are a good sampling of what makes a lot of non-Jews quite upset with Israel is its policy of settlement building or settlement expansion. I believe that one area of Israeli policy has done more damage in terms of public relations than anything else. Right now with many in the public realizing that radical Islam is the greatest threat to world peace, it would be an ideal time to close these settlements. I know that wont happen but I dont know why?

    We gain so little by this policy and we lose so much.

  • Fredric M. London

    I object, strenuously, to the term liberal being applied here. They are leftists, they are doctrinaires, they worship at the altar of politically-coerced censorship, but there is NOTHING liberal about them. Just look at the word liberalism, and what it means. These ‘people’ are following the narrow, intolerant, and inflexible teachings of a mean spirited concept, which has gone off the charts in their defense of evil, as illustrated by this article. Those who label them liberal are ignorant. They are purveyors of one of the most fascistic concepts in world history, politically-coerced censorship.

  • Joseph E

    The Shoa is gradually not taught in Eurabia schools because of mohamed “sensitivity”, which is a liberal, progressive, Islamo-Lefties, post zionists, dhimmicrats whitewashed word that conceals the usual mohamed distortion of history, suppression of freedom of conscience and free speech.

    Serving therefore the (OIC) koran dictatorial sharia master’s, for the mohamed poltical Islam expansion, needs by (instead) norming and making antisemitism academically respectable and openly complicit in the destruction of Israel and the Jews.

  • Joseph E

    Is there a people among the nations, of whom sons have reach such mental and psychological distortion, where every (endured) agony and creation done for them are despised and hated,
    Whereas all enemy action taken against them, every
    robbery, murder and rape, fills their hearts with emotion, admiration and addiction?

    And here in Israel, carrier became he of the self hatred germs, up to the point into which he sees as a redemption, the nazism “palestinians” who managed to concentrate here the zoological european anti-semitism coupled with the eastern dagger lust .

    01.05.36, Barel Katzanelson.

    A Talkback From Barak Dror via (אירית כהן) Irit Cohen
    Barak Dror
    הציטוט המלא, שממחיש שגם בגולה, הרבה לפני הציונות והרבה לפני ×””כיבוש”, היו מין שמאלנים פסיכים שקראו לפוגרומים:
    “… היש עם בעמים אשר מבניו הגיעו לידי סילוף ×›×–×”, שכלי ונפשי, שכל מה שעושה עמם, כל יצירתו וכל יסוריו הם בזויים ושנואים, וכל מה שעושה אוייב עמם, כל שוד וכל רצח וכל אונס ממלא את לבם רגש הערצה והתמכרות?

    אכן, ברוסיה ב-1881, בעצם ימי הפרעות, ישבו בנים ובנות לעם ישראל והדפיסו בחשאי מתוך מסירות נפש, פרוקלמציות, הקוראות לפוגרומים, מתוך תקווה שהדם היהודי שישפך יעזור להתקוממותו של המוז’יק הרוסי.
    אכן יודעת ההיסטוריה העברית כל מני רנגטים ודגנרטים. צורות של שמד.

    כל עוד אפשרי הדבר שיבוא ילד יהודי לארץ ישראל, ילד שטופח על-ידי יסורי הדורות ומשא הנפש של דורות, וכאן ידבקו בו חיידקים של שנאה לעצמו, של ‘עבדות בתוך המהפכה’, ויטרפו עליו את דעתו עד כדי כך שיראה את הגאולה הסוציאלית בנאצים הפלשתינים שהצליחו לרכז כאן בארץ את האנטישמיות הזואולוגית של אירופה עם תאוות הפיגיון שבמזרח – אל ידע מצפוננו שקט”