Caught in Their Crossfire
Soon to vote on a resolution to boycott Israeli academics, the Doctoral Students Council at the City University of New York is showing itself to be as closed-minded and intellectually bankrupt as so many of its counterparts in institutions of higher learning across the world. This is but one example of the moral turpitude that has infected Western campuses with a disease far more deadly than Ebola.
There are, however, two literary silver linings in this otherwise black cloud: irony and poetic justice.
The irony is that the majority of Israeli academics (particularly those in the humanities and social sciences) not only share the outlook of their colleagues in universities abroad, but impart it to their students at home. Nor is the lectern their sole soap box. On the contrary, their academic credentials also give them access to the op-ed pages of all Israeli newspapers. And the greater their critiques of their own country, the more exposure they receive in Europe and the United States.
This is where the poetic justice comes in.
Whenever an academic community boycotts Israeli professors, it automatically loses a host of highly articulate useful idiots for its cause. And there is no Israel-bashing quite as effective as that which emanates from the Jewish state itself.
It is thus that members of Israeli academia feel unfairly treated by such boycotts. Aside from having to kiss goodbye their coveted junkets, lecture tours and book deals, they are shocked that they — the “good Jews” with impeccable left-wing politics — should become ivory tower cast-outs.
Take Dr. Anat Rimon-Or, for instance. A lecturer on education, culture and ethics at various academic institutions in Israel, Rimon-Or is a radical ideologue whose positions on Israel would make any anti-Semite proud; and her dim view of the West would warrant her being hired to do public relations for the Iranian regime.
Last month, Rimon-Or posted a lengthy defense of ISIS on her Facebook page. Rather than being discredited on the spot, she was invited to participate in a prime-time TV panel on Monday evening. This coincided with reports of ISIS holding its ground in Kobani in Syria, after successfully taking over a military base in Iraq.
The following is an excerpt of her social-media rant, which was barely literate in the original Hebrew:
“There is something heartwarming about the way in which this organization [ISIS] responds to the Americans: with a show of power and contempt; with decapitation. … Confronted with drones that massacre Muslims in all countries possessing oil or other resources, they pull out their knives, cut off heads, [and] film it. Behind it all there is a statement: … Get the hell out of the Middle East — you and the corporations that your armies serve. … I would like to take this opportunity … to ask Obama … : How can ISIS be fought with force? After all, it is the product of force that was already used in the past, isn’t it? How can an organization that is the product of the use of force be eliminated by the use of force?…
“I wanted to propose a different direction. … Try apologizing … to the citizens of Iraq; try compensating the survivors. Try honestly confessing about the evil and cruel way in which the United States exploits the world’s resources for the wealthy. Dispatch your researchers to gather statistics on the number of victims from the Muslim world that this policy exacts, and of the level of destruction in all parts of the world that it imposes on the guilty, the righteous and the innocent. …
“After the apology and offer of compensation, try finding out from ISIS what they want, and help them achieve it.”
When asked on the broadcast how she could condone decapitation “for any reason whatsoever,” she denied supporting the practice, but qualified that beheading was not exclusive to Islamists, since it was employed during the French Revolution.
Though Rimon-Or is an extremist, her worldview is by no means an aberration in Israeli academia. That she would be among those boycotted by CUNY doctoral students is both fitting and funny — a perfect illustration of how leftists deserve each other.
Too bad the rest of us are constantly caught in their toxic crossfire.
Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.'” This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.