Middle East studies in the News
Radical-Left Campuses: ‘Politically Correct' Anti-Semitism
by Paul Strand
Have America's college campuses been overrun by an addiction to political correctness? Some students charge they are being treated as second-class citizens if they don't fit the political correctness mold. The most prominent victims these days: conservatives and Jews. They have seen their beliefs bashed by professors and fellow students.
Some young Republicans say they have found their grades lowered because of their politics. Jewish and conservative students have been shouted down in classes. Many have learned to just keep their mouths shut and their heads down.
But there are some people who are no longer willing to keep silent. They are starting to spread the word through grassroots media that there is an outright political harassment growing on today's campuses.
Take, for instance, 'Columbia Unbecoming.'" In this videotaped cry for help, 14 Jewish students at New York City's Columbia University tell their tales of academic abuse at the hands of professors whose Middle East Studies department is headquartered in this building.
Daniella Kahane from the class of 2005 said, "Students who want an honest discussion of the Middle East on campus are being silenced. And it's a problem that starts with professors."
Rachel Fish heads up the New York office of The David Project, which worked with the students to put "Columbia Unbecoming" together.
Fish said, "Those students who offer a pro-Israel voice are often intellectually intimidated, and in some cases even harassed and abused by faculty members
Tomy (Tommy) Schoenfeld, class of 2004, says he had a wild encounter in class when Assistant Professor Joseph Massad found out Schoenfeld had been an Israeli soldier. According to Schoenfeld, the professor said: "...It's relevant, and I demand you to answer: how many Palestinians have you killed?"
And Schoenfeld said, "I'm not going to answer, but I'm going to ask you a question. How many members of your family celebrated on September 11th if we're starting with stereotypes?"
We asked Massad to give us his side of the story. He never responded to our requests. Also, critics say that not all the abuses involve professors.
Student Ariel Beery said, "In the language lab here, anti-Semitic literature was put up on the walls showing Jews as the the classical, money-grubbing, greedy user of Gentiles."
Columbia, so long popular with New York's huge Jewish population, twice set up committees to deal with this crisis. But in the end, they only dealt seriously with the complaint of one student out of the 60 who came forth with grievances.
New Yorker Evan Coyne Maloney is a self-made documentarian, whose own film, "Brainwashing 101," has made a stunning impression at film festivals and campus showings even before its actual release.
Maloney said, "What must be great about running a university is you get to investigate yourself. And if you investigate yourself, nine times out of 10 you're going to declare yourself innocent, right?"
One reviewer of the Maloney film said it was "one of the most horrifying and hysterical documentaries I have ever seen." In it, Maloney details several cases where conservatives have been harassed on their college campuses.
Like when a Cal Poly student in the Multi-Cultural Center confronted Steve Hinkle, of the Cal Poly College Republicans as he was hanging a flyer. The flyer simply invited people to come hear Mason Weaver, author of "It's OK to Leave the Plantation."
Laura Freberg, the College Republicans faculty advisor, said, "She confronted Steve and basically told him to take his flyer and go, and if he refused to do so, she would call the police."
Steve Hinkle said she stated, "You can't post that flyer in here because that flyer's offensive and we have a right not to be offended." She mentioned the flyer as being an example of 'hate speech.'
Maloney commented, "They actually called the police on the student who was hanging the flyer, and he was brought up on ‘hate speech' charges, he was subjected to a seven-and-a-half hour hearing, and told, under threat of expulsion, that he had to write letters of apology."
Another feature in Maloney's documentary: speech codes infused with political correctness.
Maloney said, "I think the one from Brown says that you can't say anything that makes anyone feel 'angry, impotent or disenfranchised. One of my favorites maybe, is the one from University of Connecticut that bans 'inappropriate laughter.'"
Maloney told us of another college where it was a blanket policy that every single course had to discuss race, class and gender. He commented, "The physics professor and the botany professor were racking their brain trying to figure out how they were going to introduce this into the course. How do you talk about plants -- are there some plants that are racist?"
Maloney is one of the newest wave of new-wave filmmakers, a former computer geek who uses the new tiny technology to put real films together right inside his cramped Manhattan apartment, and then promotes them on his own blog and websites.
He describes himself as a libertarian-conservative with neo-conservative overtones, radicalized by seeing 9-11 up close and personal.
"Being a New Yorker and watching the towers fall from the rooftop of my office building," stated Maloney, "really has a way of grabbing you by the collar, slapping you in the face and waking you up about what kind of threats exist in the world."
After 9-11, he became fascinated with far left protestors who appear to side with Islamic and Palestinian radicals against their own country.
He began documenting how their love affair with the Palestinian cause has led them to a virulent hatred of Israel, a hatred he says is starting to spill over into a hatred of the Jews.
A clip from Maloney's video 'Peace, Love and Anti-Semitism?' shows pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protestors.
Amid these comments ...
"On the other side of my sign I wanted today to say 'First dump Bush then dump our Zionist Congress."
"I really felt unsafe, there was so much Jew hatred."
"I believe that they should be phased out and I think they could be relocated. I've heard Madagascar mentioned several times."
Then a portion of the film points out that the Nazis kept suggesting sending Jews to Madagascar.
None of this surprises the Jewish students in "Columbia Unbecoming."
Noah Liben once watched Professor Massad blow up at a student who questioned the alleged Israeli massacre of Palestinians at Jenin in 2002.
Liben said, "He quickly yelled and her, and demanded 'I will not have anyone sit through this class and deny Israeli atrocities, or else you can leave my classroom immediately.'"
Ariel Daube had angry students turn on him after a pro-Palestinian panel discussion.
"...and point to me and say things like 'Just remember who's the oppressed and who's the oppressor. You are the occupier...," said Daube.
Fish commented, "The question is 'Does Israel have a right to exist?' and the answer is 'No.' And it's all under the mantle of Palestinianism."
Daube said "I started to get scared. I'd heard of stories in other universities of Jewish students being attacked, and in my mind there was no reason that it couldn't happen here."
Some folks are amazed all this is happening at Columbia, the so-called 'Jewish Ivy.' But it's a warning sign. A whole new wave of anti-Semitism may be starting to infect a radical Left totally smitten with the Palestinian cause."Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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