Bill Maher likes to say that there’s only one prejudice that it’s still okay to practice, and that’s ageism. But that’s not exactly true. If you are a leftist, it’s okay to hate and denigrate all sorts of demographic groups as long as they don’t hew precisely to your own narrow-minded set of beliefs. If you’re a blue-collar Trump voter, it’s okay for them to call you a smelly deplorable or (in the words of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser’s lawyer) a “miscreant.” If you’re a black Trump supporter, it’s okay to call you a traitor to your race and smear you with the foulest racist stereotypes.
And of course, the one prejudice that’s perfectly acceptable on the left these days is antisemitism. The left seems to have adopted musical satirist Tom Lehrer’s sarcastic lyric, “Everybody hates the Jews,” as a personal creed, which is especially ironic coming from people who claim to hate Nazis and fight fascists, yet they support Middle Eastern factions whose beliefs are perfectly in line with those expressed by Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf.” (If you think I’m exaggerating, a survey in the late ‘90s found than an Arabic translation of that book was the sixth-biggest bestseller in Palestine.)
It’s disturbing but sadly not unusual to find leftist virtue-signaling and antisemitism rubbing shoulders in all sorts of allegedly high-minded places in the West. The latest example comes straight out of Heartland America, courtesy of a professor at the University of Michigan.
A student who wanted to study abroad at Tel Aviv University asked the professor for a letter of recommendation. At first he agreed, but later wrote to say he would have to rescind that after realizing that the student wanted to study in Israel. He explained, “As you may know, many university departments have pledged an academic boycott against Israel in support of Palestinians living in Palestine.” The BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign against Israel seeks “to isolate Israel academically, culturally, economically and militarily” until it abides by key Palestinian demands. And it specifically forbids writing letters of recommendation for students to study in Israel.
Instead of doing what students are expected to do these days – shut up and kowtow to leftist idiocy – the student went public with his complaint about this “disturbing” imposition of the professor’s personal anti-Israel bias on his professional duties. The student said, “All I asked for was an academic recommendation regarding my work habits, diligence, and aptitude as a student,” and the rejection had nothing to do with any of that, just the professor’s animus against Israel.
I assume that if the student had wanted to go to some oppressive nation like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia or Cuba, the prof would have had no objections, but he is completely intolerant of the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only one that truly protects human rights and freedom of religion for all believers. To add insult to injury, this guy is a professor in – wait for it – the Department of American Culture! Sorry, in my America, neither practicing nor supporting antisemitism is an acceptable part of American culture.
I have been to Israel dozens of times over many years, and never fail to learn something new and valuable on every trip. Might I suggest that this professor pull his smug butt out of his leftist academic cocoon and try visiting Israel himself. Let him experience the peaceful, advanced, multicultural democracy of Israel, then visit the parts of that area controlled by the Palestinian Authority (some advice from personal experience: you’d better go under cover of darkness with well-trained armed guards.) Maybe if he saw what Israel has to deal with on a daily basis as a matter of life or death, it would knock the antisemitic blinders off his eyes.