Wednesday, November 30th | 6 Kislev 5783

October 13, 2022 12:01 pm

Wellesley College Becomes a Beacon of Shame

avatar by Karen Lehrman Bloch


[Illustrative] Harvard University students displaying a pro-Palestinian sign at their May 2022 graduation ceremony. Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder

What surreal antisemitic act recently occurred on a college campus? It’s hard to keep up. In the brouhaha over Berkeley’s attempt at judenfrei speakers; a former CAIR staffer being asked to investigate antisemitism at CUNY; and Brooklyn College scheduling “implicit bias training” on Yom Kippur, many may have missed that, on September 28, the Wellesley News Editorial Board called for the “Liberation of Palestine.”

Yes, Wellesley College, the supposed beacon of liberalism, went full-on fascist, calling for the destruction of the one Jewish state. Of course, the editorial doesn’t actually use the word destruction, but anyone with even the tiniest familiarity with the KGB-inspired propaganda called Palestinianism knows that liberation “from the river to the sea” is code for ethnically cleansing Jews from the land of Israel.

And with this editorial, Wellesley finally beat out Harvard in the woke virtue-signaling Olympics. The Harvard Crimson *only* endorsed BDS in an April 29 editorial.

Wellesley’s response? First: “The Wellesley News is a student newspaper — an organization that is editorially independent from Wellesley College,” read a statement. “Its editorials reflect the views of the newspaper’s editorial board; they do not reflect the views of Wellesley College.” Another call for “free speech” from those least likely to grant it to anyone with un-woke opinions.

Then, after JNS ran a piece highlighting the fact that the editorial also called the Mapping Project a “vital service,” Wellesley President Paula A. Johnson wrote in a letter to the community: “While it is not my practice to comment on the newspaper’s editorials, I do feel the need to make it clear that Wellesley College rejects the Mapping Project for promoting anti-Semitism. … Claiming that Jewish people and organizations are responsible for a host of societal harms and calling for action against them is, by definition, anti-Semitism.”

OK. But what about the call for the elimination of Israel — essentially genocide? Is Wellesley fine with that?

Just as professors have an ethical responsibility not to lie to their students, student journalists have an ethical responsibility to base their arguments on an unbiased truth. The Wellesley editorial even says so: “As journalists, we have an obligation to document the truth.”

OK, so let’s check some of their “truth.”

  • “[W]e offer our support to those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, due to the continual violence in occupied Palestine.” Continual violence — yes indeed there has been. But who initiates it? No mention here of Hamas or any of the 10 terrorist groups that operate in the area. And not a word about the Palestinian Authority’s “pay for slay” program of rewarding terrorists with cash.

Willful ignorance or simply ignorance?

  • “We stand with those who have been subject to inhumane treatment and denied fair trials … those who have been jailed for merely drawing attention to the cruelty of the Israeli government and the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF).” Wow, changing IDF to IOF. A bold move for a student newspaper. Does “documenting the truth” now include using propagandistic terms that only terrorist-aligned groups use?

The photo above the editorial is the logo of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Is it possible that these intelligent, well-meaning writers may have taken all of their talking points from SJP?

  • “We also offer our support to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. … Supporting BDS means boycotting corporations that are complicit in the harm being done to Palestinians.”

BDS is trending — so who wouldn’t want to be part of this super-woke movement? Perhaps these esteemed students are part of the nearly two-thirds of college students who know nothing about the Holocaust and what preceded it.

More to the point, BDS founder Omar Barghouti has stated publicly that the main goal of BDS is the elimination of Israel.

  • “The occupation of Palestine has been difficult to discuss at Wellesley in the past. Advocacy for Palestinian liberation and BDS has often been conflated with antisemitism. We believe that support for a free Palestine is in no way antisemitic. The News wholeheartedly condemns antisemitism wherever and whenever it appears. We recognize that members of our community and their families have been personally impacted by these hateful beliefs and affirm that Jewish people have a right to feel welcome and secure at Wellesley and around the world.”

Well, thank you; we do appreciate these obligatory words of “inclusion.” But how does that apply to Israel? Israel, to these writers, is an “illegitimate occupier” and thus has no right to exist. How is the final colonial act of making Arabia judenfrei not antisemitic? How is denying Jews our ancestral homeland not antisemitic? And how does this denial make Jewish students feel “welcome and secure” at Wellesley?

  • “The Mapping Project … aims to show how institutions in the Greater Boston area implicitly and explicitly support the occupation of Palestine. Institutions such as colleges and universities, prisons, military contractors and financial entities are linked through monetary support or partnerships and collaborate to support Israeli apartheid…. We believe that the Mapping Project is providing a vital service. Collecting data about these institutions, tracing their financial and political activity and publicizing this information is incredibly important.”

And the façade falls. Now, we have a nearly word for word repetition from the egregious Mapping Project, which astoundingly remains up, four months later. One could point out that publishing the names and addresses of Israel’s supporters is no different from a White Citizens Council in Mississippi publishing the names and addresses of civil rights supporters 60 years ago. But would it matter? In the world of the far-left, Jews are the one minority not entitled to civil rights.

  • “We proudly support the BDS movement and the liberation of Palestine, and we call on our fellow students, our professors, Wellesley’s administration and the Board of Trustees to do the same.”

Encouraging professors to lie as well. Nice touch. Again: willful ignorance or just ignorance? In either case, Wellesley College just went from a beacon of liberalism to a beacon of shame.

Obviously, it should never have gotten to this point. Pro-“Palestinian” activists won the 50-year propaganda war. But at this point, all Jews need to call this what it is — academic terrorism — and need to fight: through electing politicians that will end funding; through pulling students; through shaming.

We also need to see this as part of a bigger issue: universities no longer feel a need to act like universities. I was an international relations major at the University of Pennsylvania. I took dozens of political science courses. Not once did I know the individual politics of my professors. Because it was considered unethical. Today professors create classes based entirely on their own opinions.

So the question for colleges today is: Do you want to continue to be called a university, where the emphasis is on critical thinking and not indoctrination? Where students seek knowledge and facts — not propaganda? If so, we need to see a detailed plan on how you’re going to return to fulfilling your core mission.

In the meantime, each university that allows academic terrorism to rule its campus needs to publicly answer for it. Wellesley, now that you are fully aware of what your students wrote: What is your third response? Your reputation as a university — an ethical, liberal institution — hangs in the balance.

Karen Lehrman Bloch is editor in chief of White Rose Magazine. A version of this article was originally published by The Jewish Journal.

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