How the educated elites became Hamas apologists
America’s top universities are consumed by Israel Derangement Syndrome.
It cannot be overstated how important American Jewish culture has been to modern American life. American Jews helped shape their nation’s psyche. So to see the violent deaths of Jewish men, women and children in Israel being blamed on the Jews themselves, and by the American left no less, is a watershed moment in US history. American Jews have long felt that America was, outside of Israel, the safest and most welcoming country for them. After the events of the past few weeks, that looks to be no longer the case.
Unfortunately, I was not surprised when, just days after the Islamist terrorists of Hamas murdered over 1,000 Jews, Harvard students published a letter in which they announced: ‘[We] hold the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.’ Like a wife-pummelling husband who blames his actions on the woman for talking back, the supposedly best and brightest of American young people apparently think those Jews had it coming. After all, they also believe, without evidence, that Israel is a ’fascist’ and ‘genocidal’ state.
Israel Derangement Syndrome is a condition that is found across the best colleges in America. At Cornell, history professor Russell Rickford called the Hamas attacks ‘energising’ and ‘exhilarating’. He told a rally that ‘Hamas has shifted the balance of power’ – because apparently that’s what killing babies achieves. Ironically, for someone openly espousing such extreme thuggery, he looks like he could get taken down in a fight by a drunk teenage girl on any British high street. The glib celebration of violence by the kind of people who probably have never experienced a whiff of it in real life is demoralising in the extreme.
At Stanford, a lecturer is reported to have asked Jewish and Israeli students to identify themselves to their class. Apparently, he then told them to collect their belongings and ‘stand in a corner’. ‘This is what Israel does to the Palestinians’, the Stanford employee is alleged to have said, according to the Forward.
There have also been multiple reports of people on American college campuses tearing down photos of missing Israelis who are feared to have been kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas in Gaza following the 7 October attack.
To those of us who have been paying attention to social trends among elite youth over the past 10 years, none of this comes as a shock. Middle- and upper-class American youth – seemingly en masse – have transformed from a fun-loving, diverse and optimistic bunch into a seething monolith that is obsessed with utterly toxic notions of privilege, skin colour and ‘decolonisation’.
That they have become Hamas apologists makes a grim kind of sense. After all, these people live in a bubble of poisonous ideology and are fed racial self-loathing from kindergarten. To many self-styled radicals, any non-white person wielding an assault rifle must be doing something righteous. Any act of terror is an unmissable opportunity to show off one’s edginess on social media.
There is a case to be made for Palestinian rights, of course. But what American students have indulged in over these past few weeks was not it.
In fact, the reaction from woke students to the Hamas attacks has been so extreme in places that it has finally managed to perturb the great and the good, who up until now have been nodding along as American ‘progressives’ became more and more deranged.
Larry Summers, former US treasury secretary and current Harvard president, called the letter from Harvard students ‘unfathomable’. I hate to break it to you, Larry, but you helped to create this mess – along with every other university administrator and member of the ultra-wealthy educational elite. For years, universities have patted these mini-tyrants on the head and indulged their LARPing as freedom fighters. You made this bed, and now it’s full of Hamas sympathisers. It’s a bit late to act surprised.
Of course, it’s not only American students who have behaved reprehensibly in the aftermath of the attack on Israel. Thousands of British and European artists penned an open letter accusing Israel of ‘unprecedented cruelty’ for its siege on Gaza, while saying nothing about Hamas’s murderous pogrom of Israelis. In Sydney, Australia, protesters chanted ‘Gas the Jews’. This is not just an American problem – it infuses all of the Western left.
The actions of the anti-Israel left are far more significant than mere culture-war fodder. They are dead canaries in a coal mine. They are a telling sign that rich nations are eating themselves alive. And that the supposedly most enlightened, peace-loving, diversity-celebrating generation in history has adopted values that are totally hostile to reason and tolerance.
We are far more lost as a society than any of us could have imagined.
Jenny Holland is a former newspaper reporter and speechwriter. Visit her Substack here.
Picture by: Getty.
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