Racist, extremist college professors, part of the “liberal academic elite,” present the biggest threat to Jews, both on and off campus, said the CEO of the U.S. arm of the Jewish National Fund (JNF). “They [Jew-haters] are using make-believe distinctions to justify hate,” said Russell F. Robinson this past Sunday at the Spirit of Israel Brunch, a JNF fundraiser at Montammy Golf Club, in Alpine. “We’re here to talk about what JNF can continue to do for Israel, and write the next chapter in the Zionist story,” he said.
Event co-chair Ruth Pomerantz, who introduced herself as a child of two sole survivors of their families from Poland, set the stage for the event by noting that we are living in an upside-down world. Media is ignoring the rise of antisemitism, and “Those who hate need no reason to hate, and assimilation does not stop antisemitism.”
Pomerantz explained the purpose behind two JNF initiatives, Caravan for Democracy and the JNF campus fellows program, which both address issues of Jew-hate. Caravan for Democracy brings students—particularly non-Jews—to Israel, to show what Israel society is really like. The campus fellows program provides meaningful access and programming to students at university campuses to show the next generation how to support Israel in meaningful and positive ways.
Two former students who participated in the programs attended the breakfast: Caravan of Democracy brought Mustafa Pacha, an American of Afghan descent and former Rutgers student, to Israel, which gave him the tools to address and speak against Jew-hate within his own community; and the campus fellowship program helped Maxine Wiesenfeld, a Great Neck native and product of Jewish day schools, to use JNF resources to address hate on campus while she was an undergraduate at UMass Amherst.
The brunch’s keynote speaker was Scott Shay, a businessman who frequently writes on Jewish topics. His most recent book, which was distributed at the event, is “Conspiracy U: A Case Study,” which used Shay’s alma mater of Northwestern University as an example of how campuses become overrun with unchecked Jew-hate.
Shay explained that his father’s experience as a Holocaust survivor showed him that Jew-hate existed long before the current era, particularly in prewar Germany in the two decades before Jews began to be deported to work and death camps. Boycotts of Jewish stores were present there, with a smear of tar being placed on business signs, to indicate its status as Jewish-owned. The tar was our earlier century’s version of BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions), he said.
Jewish and Middle Eastern study programs at major universities have now been taken over almost entirely by anti-Israel professors and administrators who are Palestinian sympathizers, but anti-Israel and Jew-hate propaganda is present in other departments as well, where it does even more damage. “Universities are purposely downplaying this to keep fundraising,” said Shay, noting that Rutgers, a state-funded university in our own backyard, continues to employ the women’s studies professor who authored “The Right to Maim.”
Jasbir K. Puar’s book, published by Duke University Press, uses a modern version of blood libel, stating that the goal of the IDF is to injure Palestinians into disability in order to weaken them and prevent them from gaining power. Puar is a professor and director of graduate women’s studies at Rutgers. According to the book’s description by Duke University Press: “Debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury.
“The Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies,” stated the Duke University Press’s description.
Puar’s blood libel made the abjectly absurd thesis that Israel’s goal is to keep Palestinians maimed yet alive in order to control them. Puar is a proponent of intersectionality theory, and has written extensively on gay and lesbian tourism, queer theory, theories of intersectionality, affect, homonationalism and “pinkwashing.” Pinkwashing is the theory that Israel uses its broad support of LGBT rights in its society to obscure its long-standing murderous intents toward Palestinians.
Shay posited that it is truly the faculty on campus that drives what is being taught, and he does not believe students arrive on campus as Jew-haters; rather students arrive as blank slates. Hate is taught and learned on the college campus.
“By the way, the word ‘antisemitism’ is too nice. Call it what it is: Judenhass, or Jew-hate.
“Tons more can be done in terms of activism. There’s no short-term solution, but we need to be concerned alums of these schools. The work is not always done from the top of the podium. These universities are saying that there is just one group in the world who does not have the right to self-determination: the Jews,” said Shay.
“Conspiracy U” is published by Wicked Son Press and available on Amazon and wherever books are sold. See more about Jewish National Fund USA at https://www.jnf.org/.
By Elizabeth Kratz