Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Richard Cravatts, a Professor of Practice and Director of the Master’s Program in Communications Management at the Simmons College School of Management. He is President of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a grassroots community of over 50,000 academics on more than 3500 campuses worldwide, and a board member of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, the Investigative Taskforce on Campus Anti-Semitism, and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. He is also the author of the new book, Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad Against Israel & Jews (David Horowitz Freedom Center).
FP: Richard Cravatts, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Illuminate for us the jihad against Jews and Israel on the American campus.
What is the extent to which the campus Left is allied with jihadist elements, Muslim student associations, and funded by Saudi money? Why do you think they have the formed this “unholy alliance”?
Cravatts: Many of us have been concerned for some time with the relentless, deceptive, and dangerous attacks against Israel emanating from college campuses, particularly because academia was always thought to be a place where honesty debate and scholarly inquiry could flourish. But at least with regard to Israel, that no longer is the case. In fact, what I characterize as an intellectual jihad against Israel is taking place right now on campuses everywhere, characterized by such vile contortions of history and fact, and driven by such moral imbecility and double standards on the part of its adherents, that is has few parallels as a campus movement. It involves, first, a rapturous adherence to a cult of “Palestinianism,” in which seeking social justice for the ever-suffering Palestinians has become the primary intellectual mission of many liberals who deride Western values and democratic states, and a convenient cause for many in the Arab world for whom the Palestinians have become a club to use against Israel and Jews. On campuses, this has evolved into a dangerous “unholy alliance” between Islamists with a specific agenda to dilute Western institutions, and leftists who, in accommodating radical Islam, not only enable what Robert Spencer has called a “stealth jihad,” but help facilitate it.
On campuses, the stealth jihad is led by the Muslin Student Association, an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood whose 600 chapters serve as command centers for inviting guest speakers with incendiary rhetoric, annual hate-fests during which Israel and Jews are libeled, slandered, and demonized, shouting down or preventing speeches by pro-Israel, anti-jihad speakers, and other instances extremist behavior and destructive narratives about the Israel/Palestinian debate. This alliance between jihadists and Leftists, who ordinarily share little in common, ideologically, serves both sides well: Muslim students who wish to deflect the pathologies of Palestinian cause savor being able to assign the West’s worst appellation of ‘racist’ to Israel, and campus liberals at the same time fulfill their Marxist dreams of trying to envision and help create what Ruth Wisse of Harvard called the “ideal of the egalitarian state,” something that the Left had hoped that Communism would create, but which ultimately failed to be established anywhere and in the pursuit of which some 100 million souls perished during the twentieth century.
And petro-dollars have helped to lubricate this stealth jihad. Jay P. Greene, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute , noted that “Gulf Arabs gave a total of $88 million to 14 U.S. universities between 1995” and today. What does all that largesse buy? For one thing, academic recipients are going to shy away from any critical investigation of the donor’s own political system, autocratic rule, or abuse in the social and civil rights of the citizens of those oil-rich but often economically- and socially-backward countries. Though many of the funded centers, such as Georgetown’s, are established with the stated intention of helping to “build bridges” between the Christian West and Islam for the purpose of enhancing mutual understanding, in practice the centers end up serving as beachheads where Arab states can attempt to influence scholarship and indoctrinate a new generation of scholars.
FP: What damage does the campus Left cause because of its ideological attacks on Israel as a racist, apartheid state, and how it reinforces other items in the leftist agenda (i.e. attacks on “colonialism” and political correctness, etc.)?
Cravatts: Canadian MP Irwin Cotler has said that the most serious crime one could be accused of in the twentieth century was racism and Nazism, and it’s interesting that both of those terms are now used promiscuously against Israel on campuses around the world. The academic enemies of Israel have created a false narrative in which the “colored”, indigenous Palestinians have been dispossessed by occupying “white” European Jews with no real connection to Israel, that the presence of Jews in the Palestine is yet another indication of colonialism, imperialism, militarism, and Nazi-like brutality.
The frequent condemnations, on and off campus, that Zionism is equivalent to racism and that Israel is an “apartheid” country (a charge given credence by such luminaries as former President Jimmy Carter, among others), is very purposeful, because if it can be asserted, over and over, that Israel is a racist state, that it was built on stolen land, and that it continues to exist in violation of international human rights and at the expense of the Palestinian victims, it can legitimately be attacked, vilified, and even dismantled for its sin of racism.
What you yourself, Jamie, have identified as the “Left’s sacred cow of multiculturalism.” has also meant that faculty as well as students have been seeped in an ideology which refuses to demarcate any differences between a democratic state struggling to protect itself and aggressive, genocidal foes who wish to destroy it with their unending assaults. For the multiculturalist Left, the moral strengths of the two parties are equivalent, even though the jihadist foes of Israel, for example, have waged an unending struggle with the stated aim of obliterating the Jewish state through the murder of Jews.
Thus, this inclination to worship multiculturalism forces liberals to make excuses for those cultures which have obvious, often irredeemable, moral defects, such as the Islamist foes who currently threaten Israel and the West. As commonly happens when liberals appraise the relative merits of their own countries and others, one set of expectations are used to measure Third-world countries and their leaders, and a totally different, far more stringent (if not unreasonable) set is used when evaluating the behavior and values of the United States, the EU, or Israel. This cynical, nearly hypocritical, view has meant that the Left frequently denounces Western democracies as imperialistic, racist, militaristic oppressors, precisely because they wish them to evolve to a purer, newly-structured society and feel that they have the collective insight and moral strength to effect this change as they strive for social justice.
The danger in all of this, of course, is the campus enemies of Israel and the West, by excusing terror and Islamism at the same time they criticize the West’s attempts to protect itself, emboldens are enemies, and cast Israel—and its supporters—as the villain and the actual obstacle to world peace.