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How Hamas attack on Israel woke America up to Left’s influence in academics

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How Hamas attack on Israel woke America up to Left’s influence in academics

It is a well-known fact that top universities, dominated as they are by Left-liberal teachers, often suppress conservative and libertarian views

Ravi Shanker Kapoor December 20, 2023 15:36:46 IST How Hamas attack on Israel woke America up to Left’s influence in academics

(File) Former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill reads her opening statement during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, on 5 December, 2023 in Washington. AP

October 7 has been called Israel’s 9/11, but the aftermath of Hamas’ barbaric attack that killed 1,400 Israelis and others has been no less shocking for America, indeed for the entire Western world. The shock was not just about the widespread support that Hamas enjoyed among the Muslims but also on university campuses. Top Ivy League institutions were found to be infested with students sympathising with the brutal Islamists; worse, the teachers and university bosses were exposed as duplicitous and hypocritical.

University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill, Harvard president Claudine Gay, and MIT president Sally Kornbluth were grilled by Republican and some Democratic lawmakers on the response of their institutions to anti-Semitism on campuses. None of the university dons were able to answer satisfactorily; they couldn’t even unequivocally respond to Republican Representative Elise Stefanik’s question of whether the call for the genocide of Jews would violate their institutions’ codes of conduct regarding bullying and harassment.

Accustomed to the echo chambers of the ivory towers they live in—the chambers and salons where Jews and Israel are incessantly maligned and jihad-compliant postmodern doctrines like diversity and multiculturalism glorified—they seemed unaware of the outrage in America that Hamas’ unconscionable attack has occasioned.

Watching the university teachers’ responses to the lawmakers’ queries on YouTube, one feels disgust and anger at their smug belief in their phony theories and their own cleverness. They were evasive and equivocal, seeking refuge in legalese and subterfuge; they were unwilling to accept the ugly reality that American campuses have been taken over by the radical Left. The three professors are either complicit in the takeover or mute spectators to the process.

Their disgraceful replies generated revulsion everywhere. Magill was forced to resign. “I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate,” Magill said in a video statement released by the university. “It’s evil, plain and simple.”

That’s right, but she should have said that earlier—and saved herself from the ignominy of forced resignation.

Gay managed to survive as president, but had to apologise for the evasiveness of her response to Stefanik’s question.

Two points need to be made here. First, the stand taken by the leadership of the premier American educational institutions smacks of hypocrisy and duplicity. They claim to be the champions of free speech, willing to tolerate the most despicable ideas and pro-Hamas protests in its name; but nothing could be farther from the truth.

It is a well-known fact that top universities, dominated as they are by Left-liberal teachers, often suppress conservative and libertarian views. Gay claimed to have utmost respect for free speech, but in September this year the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and College Pulse found that Harvard ranked last out of 248 colleges. Its survey was based on inputs from more than 55,000 students across the US. The prestigious university got the “Abysmal” rating in free speech rankings.

Last month, Harvard’s own Kennedy School of Government found that a majority of its students didn’t feel comfortable sharing their “genuine views on controversial topics related to politics, international affairs, and public policy” in classrooms, seminars, or public events.

The University of Pennsylvania has been no better. In 2013, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, cancelled the keynote address Narendra Modi was invited to deliver, via video conference. Modi has never made a call for the genocide of any community, but he was de-platformed just because Leftists and liberal didn’t like him. But, regarding pro-Hamas statements, Magill said that whether hate speech crossed the line into violating Penn’s policies depended on context. Duplicity is seldom so brazen.

The second point is that the outburst of support for Hamas on American campuses is not a black swan event; it has been building up for decades, with Leftist academics peddling counter-Enlightenment doctrines (like socialism, communism, and critical race theory). Since university graduates take leadership positions in government, media, the corporate and financial sectors, and of course academia itself, they tend to put the dangerous, often outlandish, theories into practice.

This is how we get the weird, stupid, and lethal ideas like gender fluidity and defund the police. Also, the idea that Israel is the root-cause of conflict in the region. The only democratic, modern nation in the Middle East which values human life is demonised as a bloodthirsty belligerent that is killing innocent Palestinians. Anti-Israel doctrines and lies boost anti-Semitism. While highlighting the instances of anti-Semitism, the liberal-dominated media never fails to mention the phony concept of ‘Islamophobia.’

Conservative Americans have been warning against the toxic influence of the Left in academics for years; now, common people too have realized the severity of the problem. Hopefully, this will result in the Republican victory in the Presidential election next year.

The author is a freelance journalist. Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect Firstpost’s views.

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