This article gives a little too much ‘credit’ to one person, but to me the important point here is that we need to look into how the American college campus was lost so that we can go about trying to regain it.
How did the Jewish community, known for its rhetorical genius, lose a critically important political battle on American campuses? Here is a thumbnail sketch:
In 1990, James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, explained on Jordanian TV how the Arab Lobby can and will match Jewish political and organizational success in America. Zogby and his allies recognized that the campus and the media, unlike Capitol Hill, are two battle grounds that Arabists could win by allying themselves with the American left. In both venues they already had beachheads and feet on the ground. The campus was in transition politically, influenced by ’60s tenured radicals who had adopted the dogma of post-colonialism, and its Palestinian version, Professor Edward Said’s “Orientalism.”
Moreover, America was experiencing a significant increase in foreign born Muslim students as well as increased Muslim immigration (many from countries with a culture of vicious anti-Semitism). Zogby focused on forming alliances with Marxist professors, die-hard socialist activists, African- American student groups, gay-lesbian groups and, most importantly, Jewish progressives. He also realized that an emerging anti-Israel Left/Muslim axis on campus could be better organized and benefit from an inflow of Arab petro dollars into prestigious American universities. All this was happening while many Jewish leaders, intoxicated by the Oslo agreement, were abandoning Israel programming.
Today, we can see the brilliance of Zogby’s strategy: Anti-Israel sentiment suffuses the campus atmosphere. In the classroom, radical professors express the the dominant narrative that the Palestinians are right and the Israelis are in the wrong. In its mild form, the Palestinians suffer needlessly at the hands of Israeli occupiers; in its more vicious version, Israel is a racist, genocidal apartheid nation. Outside the classroom, anti-Israel groups hold conferences, screen films and conduct theatrical demonstrations that portray Israel in the harshest of terms. Israel’s advocates are rudely interrupted, prevented from speaking; pro-Israel events are disrupted; Jewish students are intimidated verbally or even physically, and are excluded from pro-Palestinian events. Pathetic attempts by Jewish groups to initiate dialogue with Palestinian students are rejected. Any acknowledgement of Israelis’ humanity is seen as a validation of Palestinian oppression. Our epoch’s secular religion – political correctness and multiculturalism – judges people by who they are, not what they do. Israelis are by definition always guilty, while darker skinned, impoverished, indigenous Palestinians are eternally innocent.
There’s another point that needs to be made here. For whatever reason, the vast majority of the American Jewish community is unfortunately incapable of voting Republican. As a result, the community either votes Democratic or stays home, and since most Jews don’t stay home on Election Day, the result is that the Democrat gets the Jewish vote regardless of their position on the issues. That leaves the Democrats free to do anything they want to court the Left – including abandon Israel.
The picture below thus reflects reality in today’s American Jewish community. And until that changes – until non-Orthodox Jews feel that they can vote Republican and not be deemed sinners for having done so – the Jewish community is likely to continue to be a partner in a radical Leftist agenda that includes supporting the ‘Palestinians.’
What could go wrong?