Blue State Blues: They Learn to Hate Jews Because They Are Taught to Hate America

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS - MARCH 23: The Harvard University campus is shown on March 23, 2
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This week’s hearing on antisemitism at American universities shocked the nation, as the leaders of several elite colleges refused to say that calling for the genocide of Jews would violate the code of conduct on their campuses.

They talked about “context” and hid behind the First Amendment — which they ignore when they ban conservative speakers, or “microaggressions.”

What we learned is that some of our elite university administrators are moral cowards. But to understand the roots of antisemitism on campus, we have to dig deeper.

That was the job of Dr. Pamela Nadell, the antisemitism scholar from American University who appeared on the congressional panel with the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT. But she failed, because she has the wrong understanding of the problem.

Nadell said that antisemitism was an American “tradition.” In fact, the opposite is true: while the United States has experienced antisemitism, it has historically been the least antisemitic country on earth, outside of Israel. Our “tradition” is to embrace Jews.

In 1790, President George Washington wrote to the Jewish community in Newport, Rhode Island, pledging that in the U.S., “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” Jews would be full and equal citizens –not merely be tolerated, as if their natural rights depended on the “indulgence” of others. And he promised Jews would never have to fear persecution, as they had in other lands: “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

That letter reflected a deep admiration for Jews, and for the Biblical story of Israel, that has existed in this country since the first Pilgrims arrived.

That is our true American tradition, not the hatred that has sometimes obscured it.

Washington’s letter also reflects how our Founders understood religious liberty under the First Amendment, which was then still fresh on the page. And the first president also made a specific commitment to Jews: that we would always feel safe, as well as free, in the United States.

The Jewish students who spoke on Capitol Hill said they did not feel safe — not even in Philadelphia, just steps away from where the Constitution was written.

The university presidents cited the First Amendment, but they neglected its basic foundations. They forgot Washington’s letter.

That is why there is antisemitism on campus: our universities have abandoned their basic principles. They have become revolutionary in their outlook, committed to the transformation of society, rather than passing on the values and wisdom of our civilization.

The rot at Harvard did not begin on October 7. It began long before — even before the university began teaching students about the “legacy of slavery” at Harvard, rather than the institution’s true legacy as a cradle of abolition, whose privileged sons gave their lives for the Union and the cause of freedom.

So many Harvard students volunteered to fight in the Civil War that they had their own regiment, the 20th Massachusetts infantry, whose flag hangs in Memorial Hall.

Students walk past that flag every day, but few know what it is. Nor do they encounter the writings of the Founders, or the philosophers who inspired them.

I was assigned to read John Locke once as a Harvard undergraduate; I was assigned Karl Marx several times, including “On the Jewish Question,” a crudely antisemitic text.

Students learn to hate Jews because they are taught to hate capitalism, to hate success — to hate America.

They are taught that America’s prosperity — which surrounds them — is the product of unjust privilege and exploitation, not innovation, hard work, and liberty.

Through that lens, Israel’s success is viewed with suspicion, not admired. It is easily described as the latest manifestation of imperialism or “systemic racism,” rather than what it is: the best example of an oppressed people liberating themselves.

Jews feel powerless to contest the lies that surround them because they have been relegated to the margins in the new hierarchy of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI).

Though Jews come in every color, and the majority of Israeli Jews are not European in origin, Jews in America are considered “white.” Therefore, even when they are the victims of violent hatred, their voices carry less weight than those who are targeting them — whose motives must be carefully examined, who must be treated with empathy.

The fact is that the children of immigrants from Muslim countries are arriving on campus, and many have views about Jews and Israel that reflect the closed societies their families came from. The universities ought to challenge these views, but generally do not, treating them instead with deference.

That is only partly a result of donations flowing to universities from Qatar and other oppressive regimes. It is also a self-imposed conformity that comports with the pursuit of  “social justice” rather than “truth.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is rightly being praised for grilling the university presidents at the hearing. But it was Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) who came closest to identifying the problem, when he asked how many conservatives taught at these universities. 

All three said they did not know, and Harvard president Claudine Gay claimed ignorance of a study in the Harvard Crimson that found only 1% of professors were conservative.

Such ideological conformity breeds intolerance, as Wilson said: “It’s due to illiberalism.”

The illiberalism of our leading academic institutions will not be easy to undo, and it may be impossible. The virus has taken over the host.

Removing the conditions that led to the outbreak of antisemitism requires more than forming a committee, or firing a president. It means dumping entire bureaucracies and academic departments. It means throwing out most of the curriculum and starting over.

Most universities will resist that change; they will find it much simpler to extend their repressive speech codes.

So Congress needs to keep up the pressure — not in one hearing, and not just when Republicans run the committees (which may not be for long). Taxpayers are subsidizing these institutions.

It is time for our universities to stop hating the country that funds them.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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