Thursday, December 1, 2005

Antisemitism and Anti-Israelism on Campus

I have been asked by a number of people about the recent testimony by a number of leaders of Jewish organizations regarding antisemitism and anti-Israel attitudes on campus. I recently completed a paper on this topic which will be published by the American Jewish Committee's Koppelman Institute. As soon as it is published I will post a link to it on this site.

In short, while the situation is not great, neither is it as dire as many people would have you believe. In many respects Jewish life on the North American campus is thriving. There are a broad array of Jewish Studies courses available and Hillel is undergoing an unprecedented renaissance.

There certainly are problems regarding the presentation of Israel and Israel's position, but the cry of "oy gevalt" regarding the campus strike me as somewhat out of touch with reality.

4 comments:

Dave said...

I remember hearing the same complaints of imminent doom to Jewish life when I was at New York University 25 years ago. And my father heard the same thing when he went there from 1945 to 1949. It's amazing, as Andy Rooney observed, how long the world has been going to hell without actually getting there.

Deborah Lipstadt said...

You might be interested in the article by Simon Rawidowicz, Israel, The Ever-Dying People. He makes the same point and traces it back to the time of the Mishnah.

Dave said...

My pal Anne Ward, an archeologist and classical scholar, tells me that there are ancient documents written by Babylonian and Egyptian scholars, decrying how things are not as good as they used to be, that today's children are not as well-behaved as the writers were when they were children, and things are going to hell in a handbasket.

Just last year, Rich Gossage, former relief pitching ace, decried the huge sums of money being given to ballplayers, and said that in his day, he played for "the love of the game."

What Goose left out was that in 1978, he signed a massive (by the standards of the time) contract with the Yankees, and Catfish Hunter had just become the first millionaire free agent. At the time, sportswriters and barhops bemoaned the high salaries, and complained that Joe DiMaggio and his era's crowd played "for the love of the game."

However, in 1942, DiMaggio became the first player to earn $100,000 for playing ball, squeezing it out of the Yankees after his 56-game hitting streak season. Oddly enough, the Yankees initially offered him a salary cut! Sportswriters bemoaned how players were demanding so much money.

And in 1915, when entrepreneurs set up the Federal League as a rival to the American and National Leagues, offering fatter salaries to playes who jumped, everyone bemoaned how money was dominating baseball.

And so on.

The more things change, as we know...which also explains why the subtext to Holocaust denial is that it's supposed to be a gigantic Jewish conspiracy...the same old stories about Jews, being obsesse with money, conspiratorial and isolationist in nature, are simply updated for a modern audience.

I think most of it is simply older folks, who less hair, more weight, and slower movements than younger people, being envious of the young, their toys, and their smug sense of knowing it all, by virtue of just having taken that course or simply being 18.

I actually get amused when someone my age calls modern music "noise" and bemoans its sexual nature.

I politely ask them, "Oh yeah...so what was Donna Summer and the disco age about? Square dancing and abstinence?"

And my mother always chortled at how scandalous Elvis Presley and the Beatles were.

Where can I find that articlde?

Deborah Lipstadt said...

Israel, the ever-dying people, and other essays
by Simon Rawidowicz; Benjamin C I Ravid

Type: English : Book : Non-fiction
Publisher: Rutherford [N.J.] : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, ©1986.
ISBN: 083863253X

I bet you can find a used copy on Amazon