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  • “Larry Summers: Colleges have become hypersensitive to racial prejudice. Why not anti-Semitism?”

    Posted by Jonathan on April 3rd, 2016 (All posts by )

    Summers:

    Instances of anti-Semitism by this standard are ubiquitous in American academic life. Nearly a dozen academic associations have enacted formal boycotts of Israeli institutions and in some cases Israeli scholars. Student governments at dozens of universities have demanded the divestiture of companies that do business in Israel or the West Bank. Guest speakers and even some faculty in their classrooms compare Israel to Nazi Germany and question its right to continued existence as a Jewish state.
     
    Yet, with very few exceptions, university leaders who are so quick to stand up against microagressions against other groups remain silent in the face of anti-Semitism. Indeed, many major American universities, including Harvard, remain institutional members of associations that are engaged in boycotts of Israel. The idea of divesting Israel is opposed only in the same way that divesting apartheid South Africa was opposed — as an inappropriate intrusion into politics, not as immoral or anti-Semitic.

    He’s right.

    Martin Kramer goes further:

    Larry Summers asks why universities sniff out every trace of prejudice, but look the other way when it comes to anti-Semitism. “University leaders who are so quick to stand up against microagressions against other groups remain silent in the face of anti-Semitism,” he writes, especially when it takes the form of Israel-hatred. My answer: Jews themselves hesitate to use the A-word. Why? It’s not supposed to exist anymore. And if you’re not for yourself, no one will be for you.

    He’s right too. Western leftists who don’t hesitate to make reckless, ignorant statements about supposed apartheid in Israel, an open society with gay pride parades and anti-Israel Muslims in the legislature, are circumspect about the commonplace human-rights horrors of Iran and the Arab world.

    The unwillingness of liberal American Jews to call out anti-Semitism on the Left reminds me of the unwillingness of self-described liberals/progressives to acknowledge the effectiveness or moral justification of armed self-defense in response to criminal violence.

     

    32 Responses to ““Larry Summers: Colleges have become hypersensitive to racial prejudice. Why not anti-Semitism?””

    1. djf Says:

      Summers is an old fuddy-duddy who doesn’t get it. The Left is not against “prejudice” or “hate” generally. The Left supports advancing the perceived interests of certain designated “oppressed” groups and opposes the interests of designated “oppressor” groups. Israeli Jews are a designated “oppressor” group vis-a-vis the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, without regard to which party wants peace, is open to compromise, maintains a liberal society, behaves with a modicum of decency toward its opponents, etc. You can spend all day pointing out the Left’s double standards, and it will make zero impression on them. The Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, in opposing Israel, are right by definition. As Israel is forced to make more and more concessions, and the conflict fails to go away, eventually the Western Left (including true-believing leftwing Jews) will openly demand Israel’s elimination. Give them about another decade.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      It could be he doesn’t get it. Alternately he does but either is writing for an audience that he thinks won’t respond well to unvarnished truth, wants to maintain his standing in the academic-political elite, or both.

    3. David Foster Says:

      On all evidence, University administrators are some of the most cowardly and morally-vacuous people in America. Whatever positions they do or do not take will be largely a function of what they expect to protect and enhance their careers.

    4. djf Says:

      If Summers gets it, whom is he writing for? The kind of mid-20th-century Earl Warren/New Frontier/National-Brotherhood-Week liberalism he expresses is not going to have any impact on anyone with power in academia today. It’s more likely to provoke derision and ridicule. Maybe he’s hoping donors will exercise some sort of authority, but it’s hard to see that happening. I think he’s just so out of touch he doesn’t realize that he’s talking to a mob of brownshirts. The man, while obviously brilliant, is reputed to be rather Asperger-ish, with little insight into other human beings and social situations. As I’m sure you recall, this lack of insight got him into trouble before.

    5. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      eventually the Western Left (including true-believing leftwing Jews) will openly demand Israel’s elimination. Give them about another decade.

      I read somewhere, in response to the question of why Jews in America are so predominantly Leftist when the Left has such a long history of antisemitism all over the planet, the response was that many Jews in America are only Jews by accident of birth, but are Leftists by conscious choice.

    6. Robert Schwartz Says:

      A political wag once said that antisemitism is the socialism of fools. He was wrong. Antisemitism is not the socialism of fools, it is socialism, which always fails, that is the socialism of fools. But, the connection between socialism and antisemitism runs deeper than that syllogism. Antisemitism is not an accident of socialism, it is part of its essence.

      Socialism believes that the individual does not exist, and that people are mere constituent atoms of the state. It sees the socialist state as the only legitimate connection among individuals.

      Socialism rejects all religions, other than the State, its power, and its adoration. So of course Socialism rejects Judaism as a religion.

      Socialism holds that there cannot be a Jewish religion, a Jewish people, or any other loyalty or connection to anyone or anything other than the State. The continued existence of the Jewish people, and their loyalty to God and their religion, their people, and their land, is an embarrassment to socialism. It cannot be tolerated. Socialism will accept individual Jews, but only if they renounce Judaism.

      The sad thing is that so many Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe before WWI became socialists in Europe. They believed that socialism would save them from the persistent discrimination and persecution that were their lot in pre-WWII Eastern Europe. By the time the German national socialists and the Russian Soviet Socialists were done with them, the surviving remnant had reason to repent of their folly.

      Those who emigrated to America in time to miss the festivities, brought their socialism with them to America, and were thrilled by FDR’s socialist transformation of America. This made them loyal Democrats.

      The end of the 20th Century was a tough time for socialism. With the collapse of the USSR, it became clear to all but the most besotted, that socialism was a blind alley. The truly committed were left with only their hatred of Enlightenment based individualism, their worship of power, and of course antisemitism (n/k/a anti-Zionism).

      This trifecta has been the basis for their worship of and alliance with Islamic Jihadism. Both sides want the same things and they are both Jew haters.

    7. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Great explanation Robert, thank you.

    8. TangoMan Says:

      Instances of anti-Semitism by this standard are ubiquitous in American academic life.

      So too is anti-Japhetitism.

      Japheth is the father of the Japhetic race
      Shem is the father of the Semitic race

      For those who take the genealogies of Genesis to be historically accurate, Japheth is commonly believed to be the father of Europeans. The link between Japheth and the Europeans stems from Genesis 10:5, which states:

      “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands.”

      When anti-white attacks are the focus of complaints, defenders say that the critics are simply punching up and that whites have no basis to complain. Well, the same applies with attacks on Jews, the critics are simply punching up.

      The two phenomena are linked. You can’t give legitimacy to one form of attack and then deny it to another.

      I concur with Djf’s comment. I also concur with David Foster’s comment.

      Those who emigrated to America in time to miss the festivities, brought their socialism with them to America, and were thrilled by FDR’s socialist transformation of America. This made them loyal Democrats.

      Sometimes I find it difficult to understand people.

      I see the same dynamic today. Immigrants from Yugoslavia who are all gung-ho on more multiculturalism. Immigrants from former Soviet satellites who, like above, are gung ho on more socialism. People fleeing California because of rampant government incompetence and an overbearing state and they settle in a nice Red State and then continue to vote for Democrats in the new state in order to improve it to be more like what they just fled.

    9. Robert Schwartz Says:

      DJF: “As I’m sure you recall, this lack of insight got him into trouble before.”

      Let us not blame the victim. Larry can’t be expected to be forecast when academic feminists will go ballistic over some imagined slight. They are all bat guano insane.

      What Larry can be justly criticized is for the way he crumpled spinelessly under their attack. but, this is the common problem of academic administrators these days. More than one of them should have just told the little Nazis to pound sand.

      ‘Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

      ‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) ‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’

      At this the whole pack rose up into the air, and came flying down upon her: she gave a little scream, half of fright and half of anger, and tried to beat them off, and found herself lying on the bank, with her head in the lap of her sister, who was gently brushing away some dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.

      With Tenniel Illustration at link

    10. djf Says:

      Robert, I think the reaction to what Summers said (and what he said was quite reasonable, IMHO) was foreseeable. The craziness of academic feminists was evident by that time, though their power was not as well established as it is today. I agree that Summers’s capitulation and apology was contemptible, although Harvard’s board of trustee’s may have forced him to resign.

      The US and the rest of the West seems to be transitioning into some sort of horrible combination of Brazil, Jordan and pre-1989 East Germany. This is what our rulers want.

    11. dearieme Says:

      “Summers’s capitulation and apology was contemptible, although Harvard’s board of trustee’s may have forced him to resign.” Summers could have said “I’m right, you’re wrong. Fire me if you must.” But he was spineless, and lost his job anyway. Served him right.

      That the Old Left gets browbeaten by the New Left leaves me unmoved. Except perhaps to tears of laughter.

    12. Mike K Says:

      When anti-white attacks are the focus of complaints, defenders say that the critics are simply punching up and that whites have no basis to complain. Well, the same applies with attacks on Jews, the critics are simply punching up.

      This is probably the answer. Intelligence, ambition and accomplishment are not evenly distributed in the human race.

      Much of this is genetic and the rest is culture.

      Charles Murray made a lot of enemies with The Bell Curve, which explained the IQ distribution by race. It was very controversial from the start and I was at Dartmouth when I read it. I was getting a Masters Degree in health policy after retiring from practice. I was asked by many colleagues if they could borrow it after I finished. They were frank in saying that they did not want to be seen buying it in the Dartmouth Bookstore.

      What Murray did was to publish a book that proved everyone’s opinion was correct about intelligence. His other conclusions about assortive mating, for example, have proven correct and are at the root of considerable trouble in our culture right now.

      Paul Johnson, in his book A History of the Jews, makes a pretty good argument that Jews were forced by prejudice and legal restriction to invent new ways of conveying wealth. He asserts that they invented capitalism. Ashkenazi Jews are rather inbred, also a remnant of the centuries of oppression, and Stephen Pinker has convinced me that genetics explains most features of intelligence and behavior. The rest is mostly culture. As a result, Jews, especially Ashkenazi, are more intelligent than the mean of humans and whites are more intelligent than blacks. Asians are the highest IQ peak but culture has not been helpful to Asians, at least until now.

      What we see is a history of treatment of Jews that has created several phenomena. One, they were not permitted to own land. (I am perfectly happy to be corrected by someone who knows this history better.) They were permitted to lend money and deal in interest that was banned by the Church. This resulted in considerable wealth among European Jews although Russian Jews seemed to remain more agricultural. Since they were subject to pogroms and even expulsion from England ta one point, they had to have a way to preserve what they had and to transmit it to others. This is Johnson’s explanation of capitalism.

      The result were that Jews were seen as wealthy and, in societies that permitted open social contacts with non-Jews, they were quite accomplished in activities that required intelligence, like mathematics and physics. This led to some jealousy by others not as accomplished.

      White Europeans have been more successful in social accomplishments like inventions and agriculture. Warfare has also been an area of accomplishment although that’s become quite expensive the past 100 years.

      China had a period long ago of great accomplishment in invention and agriculture but social systems led to an atrophying of these areas. When Europeans arrived in China, much of the inventions and science had disappeared. A society that had learned to cast iron bells a thousand years earlier, had no iron agricultural implements and had forgotten how to make cast iron. The Mongol Empire had imposed a system that did not reward such accomplishments although the discovery of rice cultivation had resulted in a very large population.

      Japan, similarly, had imposed a feudal culture that even banned the wheel.

      Both societies are now catching up but at great cost.

      In Asia, Chinese are regarded as too clever and too successful and have been driven out of countries like Malaysia and Indonesia by less intelligent or successful native populations. They are often referred to as “The Jews of Asia.”

      The Europeans came to America and created a highly successful society de novo, which included tolerance for Jews and the opportunity for “the cream to rise” in a free economy.

      Culture is important and we can see the difference between the Spanish Catholic culture and the English Protestant culture in south and north America. Germans were also a major factor in American success but much of that has been forgotten since Germany took a wrong turn in Europe.

      Anyway, I think much of what we see today is a combination of resentment by those less endowed with intelligence and accomplishment and a sense of shame by ignorant White European Americans who think they are the beneficiaries of something other than genetics and culture.

    13. Grurray Says:

      Some of the most bitter fighting has taken place in the University of California system, where nearly all of the student government councils have approved divestment proposals. However, no universities have actually divested.

      The regents said that they felt their report, “Principles Against Intolerance,” was needed to help ease hostility against Jewish students that has arisen on a number of campuses amid the growing opposition to Israel over the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

      I doubt it would sink into their thick skulls, but somebody should tell these kids that Israel is currently trying to bail them out in a big way:

      Israeli tech is very important for California and the entire country, said Donig.

      “Israel has had a great deal of experience in developing solutions for water recycling and reclamation, water-saving drip-irrigation technology, water conservation, and of course desalination – an Israeli company, IDE, is already helping to build one of the world’s biggest desalination plants in San Diego. California needs more of this tech, and the new program will bring to California some of the innovative Israeli start-ups that are developing solutions that we can implement here.”

      So they want to divest from the same companies that are going to save them from their wasteful stupidity. Brilliant.

    14. Mike K Says:

      ““Israel has had a great deal of experience in developing solutions for water recycling and reclamation,”

      Has anyone else noticed how rapidly Israel has become a tech center and prosperous since they gave up Socialism ?

    15. Mrs. Davis Says:

      Has anyone else noticed how rapidly Israel has become a tech center and prosperous since they gave up Socialism ?

      Not so much as I’ve noticed how much more acceptable anti-semitism has become amongst academics since they gave up socialism.

    16. JNorth Says:

      What bizaro world do you live in with academics giving up socialism?

    17. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      So they want to divest from the same companies that are going to save them from their wasteful stupidity. Brilliant.

      One of the things I’ve noticed among leftists is an astounding level of ignorance of how the world works.

    18. PenGun Says:

      Whatever one thinks about the right of Israel to exist, it’s obvious they have done a terrible job dealing with the people who were there when they formed their state.

      This is my main problem with Israel. We have the army attacking cities full of a segregated people with modern weapons. We have the results on TV when this is going on and you wonder why anti sematism is rampant. The latest ‘shot in the head’ is just more of this awful behavior.

      It’s hard to like, easy to hate.

    19. Mike K Says:

      “What bizaro world do you live in with academics giving up socialism?”

      No, she meant since Israel gave up Socialism. I agree it was easy to misunderstand.

      ” they have done a terrible job dealing with the people who were there when they formed their state.”

      You mean the Jews who were living there for hundreds of years ? Of course not.

      I assume you are equally concerned about East Prussians and Sudeten Germans who also started a war and lost it after which they got evicted from their homes.

    20. PenGun Says:

      “You mean the Jews who were living there for hundreds of years ? Of course not.”

      I do understand the narrative. The people we call the Palestinians are what I am talking about. The state has done a terrible job dealing with these people.

      I do understand that the plan is to kick the can down the road till the entire country can be incorporated into the state of Israel. The Europeans are unlikely to forget the 67 line any time soon, so can kicking is the major strategy.

      My point really is that it’s impossible to have anyone, other than those already invested in Israel, like the state at all, because of it’s widely publicized and videotaped crimes. That’s what the people see on TV.

    21. Jonathan Says:

      My point really is that it’s impossible to have anyone, other than those already invested in Israel, like the state at all, because of it’s widely publicized and videotaped crimes. That’s what the people see on TV.

      The actual difficulty, for Israel’s enemies and their useful idiots in the West, lies more in having people who aren’t already invested in hating Israel dislike the place.

      As is often the case, Pengun’s behavior ironically supports the opposite argument from the one he thinks he is making.

      Israel’s neighbors are much less free and much more violent than it is, yet Pengun believes their easily-debunked propaganda. Is there a gay pride parade in Ramallah, Pengun? Is there due process in Gaza or Syria? Have you ever wondered why journalists who operate in the Palestinian territories don’t report on extra-judicial killings there, but are quick to repeat Palestinian accusations about Jews? Have you considered why news organizations eagerly report on official Israeli investigations of misconduct in the Israeli military but never mention any such investigations in Arab countries? Of course you haven’t.

      Chump.

    22. Grurray Says:

      Here was a good article written by Khaled Abu Toameh a couple weeks ago on this subject. He’s an Israeli Arab who reports on the (lack of) democracy and human rights in the Palestinian territories, usually with some dry irony.

      These are the days when everything is backwards. The “pro-Palestinian” activists on university campuses throughout the Western world have gotten into the spirit: Palestinian students and academics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip endure daily harassment by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, because all that gets the activists going are “Israeli abuses.”

      For the self-appointed advocates of the Palestinians at Western university campuses, the Palestinian issue is nothing but a vehicle for spewing hatred toward Israel. In good, backwards form, Israel is castigated, and the PA and Hamas are free to abuse their own people.

      It seems that in the view of the anti-Israel folks, the Palestinians should not even hope for human rights under the Palestinian regimes.

      So while the anti-Israel activists are busy protesting against Israel on Western campuses, Palestinian students and professors are left to be persecuted by their own governments.

      Instead of campaigning for reform and democracy in the West Bank and Gaza, these activists spend precious energy trying to take down Israel. The Palestinian students and academics are left to their own devices.

      Palestinians living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas suffer an abysmal level of freedom of expression — and always have. This is the grim reality that the international community and protesting students prefer to ignore. For them, human rights violations must have a “made in Israel” sticker on them.

      If the putative champions of the Palestinians in the West continue to disregard the trampling of Palestinian human rights by the PA and Hamas, there may not be any Palestinians left to champion.

    23. Anonymous Says:

      “Chump.”

      Oh boy. “Colleges have become hypersensitive to racial prejudice. Why not anti-Semitism?” Is the title I am addressing.

      Because, again, racial prejudice does not fill the TV with scenes of horror. The Israeli scene routinely does just that and that’s why, ‘why not anti-semitism’ is a kinda dumb question. It’s because of the blood, gore and dead babies.

    24. Sgt. Mom Says:

      “The Israeli scene routinely does just that and that’s why, ‘why not anti-semitism’ is a kinda dumb question. It’s because of the blood, gore and dead babies.”

      And the buckets of blood, gore and dead babies have almost always been created by Palestinians, one way or another. Your point?

    25. Jonathan Says:

      “Chump.”
       
      Oh boy. “Colleges have become hypersensitive to racial prejudice. Why not anti-Semitism?” Is the title I am addressing.
       
      Because, again, racial prejudice does not fill the TV with scenes of horror. The Israeli scene routinely does just that and that’s why, ‘why not anti-semitism’ is a kinda dumb question. It’s because of the blood, gore and dead babies.

      So you want to stick to discussing topic A, even though you cited assertion B, where B is a lie, and therefore (because you say you want to stick to discussing A) we can’t call you on your repetition of B. Do I have that right?

    26. Mike K Says:

      “It’s because of the blood, gore and dead babies.”

      Yes, especially the blood and gore of the al Durrah case.

      Then there was the fake ambulance case.

      you’re hilarious, PenGun. You swallow every leftist lie.

      You somehow miss all Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the latest intifada.

    27. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Not only is pengun an ignoramus, but he is an antisemite too. Figures, antisemitism is a core belief of leftists like pengun.

    28. Mike K Says:

      Pengun is our pet leftist. We need one to remind us that we are not living in a bubble. If he came up with a good idea, I might have to reconsider some of mine.

    29. PenGun Says:

      “So you want to stick to discussing topic A, even though you cited assertion B, where B is a lie, and therefore (because you say you want to stick to discussing A) we can’t call you on your repetition of B. Do I have that right?”

      I dunno. The only thing apart from A is that Israel did a really poor job dealing with the indignant population. That’s a lie?

      The “that’s hard to like and easy to hate” refers to what the people see on TV.

    30. Jonathan Says:

      the indignant population

      No wonder they were so hard to deal with.

    31. ErisGuy Says:

      Poor Summers. When the Left spewed its rainbow ideals (tolerance, peace, etc.), he actually thought they meant it. He should be an object of ridicule, not sympathy. He should have know the people who talk like Lenin act like Lenin.

    32. raven Says:

      Dang.
      And I thought all that “diversity” was supposed to make us all fart happy rainbows. Like in the Balkans.

      You know what makes “peace”? Exterminating your enemies.

      IMO the biggest mistake Israel ever made was letting Arafat and his PLO butchers leave unmolested for Libya. They should have promised them safe passage, let the ships get a few miles out in the Med, and turned them into a reef.