‘NYT’ reports ‘surge of hostile sentiment against Jews’ nationwide — on what basis?

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Today The New York Times printed a long article at the top of its national section stating that the ugly prejudice of anti-Semitism has returned to the United States, on college campuses. Headlined “In U.C.L.A. Debate Over Jewish Student, Echoes on Campus of Old Biases,” the article says that the UCLA student council asked a candidate for the student government’s judicial board about the fact that she is Jewish and active in Jewish organizations, and that the council then debated her affiliations for 40 minutes before confirming her.

Reporter Adam Nagourney states that the questions about sophomore Rachel Beyda “seemed to echo the kind of questions, prejudices and tropes — particularly about divided loyalties — that have plagued Jews across the globe for centuries, students and Jewish leaders said.”

We are in no position to defend the student council for its conduct, but Nagourney undermines his credibility by going on to the following astounding assertion:

The session… has served to spotlight what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country, often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel.

Let’s repeat that phrase: “what appears to be a surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country.” That’s a very large claim, and the piece offers no evidence for “a surge.” None. If there really is “a surge” of Jew-hating bigotry, why isn’t the Times sending its army of correspondents out nationwide to track down this awful trend?

The Times does not cite any other example of alleged hostility against Jews besides the UCLA case.

The article is rocketing around the web. Joe Scarborough on MSNBC has called out UCLA over the case. Times columnist Nick Kristof tweets:

Charges of anti-Semitism are overused, usually against Israel’s critics. But this sure seems raw anti-Semitism

But again, the article’s documentation is laughably thin. No statistics, no research, not even a biased survey from the ADL. There is a citation of some Trinity College researcher:

Barry A. Kosmin, a Trinity College researcher and a co-author of a study issued last month that found extensive examples of anti-Semitism directed at college students, said he had not come across anything as striking as what happened at U.C.L.A.

As it turns out, that Trinity College study has a foreword from Kenneth Marcus. Marcus is a leading Israel supporter who has attempted to link campus criticisms of Israel to anti-Semitism.

Nagourney from Flickr
Nagourney from Flickr

This is another obvious problem with the Times report. Nagourney says that the anti-Semitism is “often a byproduct of animosity toward the policies of Israel.” Has he made any serious effort to separate anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism? It seems not. The UCLA case itself seems to have a strong component of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in it. The Times alludes once to the movement’s effectiveness at UCLA, without saying how it touched on the Beyda case. Indeed, the BDS movement has rocked college campuses. Could it be that the student council’s questions to Beyda involved her views on Israel in light of crucial judicial issues on campuses? We don’t know. That’s not in the article. And as for Nagourney’s emphasis on the divided loyalty issue, this is inevitably going to be an issue when Jewish organizations assert that being Jewish means blindly supporting Israel. Just two days ago the New York Times raised the issue itself when it said that some Democratic congresspeople face “an awkward, painful choice between the president of their country and their loyalty to the Jewish state.”

The Times’ message echoes the message of an urgent meetup of the pro-Israel group CAMERA at a Jewish Community Center in New Jersey this Sunday. The event is billed: “Battling Anti-Semitism on College Campuses” and “Stopping It Dead In Its Tracks: The Anti-Israel Movement On College Campuses.” So CAMERA is making no effort to distinguish between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. And really, what’s the problem? Criticism of Israel. As CAMERA writes:

DID YOU KNOW? The number of anti-Israel events on American college campuses have DOUBLED in just the last year. Make sure you are aware and prepared.

Here is what your child faces at campuses nationwide:

Image from CAMERA, pro Israel group, of BDS campaign
Image from CAMERA, pro Israel group, of BDS campaign

We have to assume that Nagourney and the Times consciously or not are seeking to protect Israel from the BDS movement, and joining in the irresponsible effort to smear the movement as anti-Semitic. As Israel becomes more isolated internationally, this trend will only continue.

Thanks to Adam Horowitz.

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“Confront Zionsim Boycott Israel” They make that sound like a bad thing.

Also I’m a little confoosed. I keep hearing from these folks how BDS is going nowhere and more of a bother than anything. Then they say it is the greatest menace since Hitler…which is it?

“… without offering any evidence of such anti-Semitism”

Everyone knows you don’t need to offer evidence for “antisemitism”. It’s the default state of the universe, like gravity.

This sounds rather like the survey done in the UK recently, which supposedly ‘proved’ that there was a ‘surge’ in antisemitism in Britain. We were told that about 1000 attacks on British Jews had been recorded over the past year. Sounds alarming, except that on closer inspection it turned out… Read more »

Anti-Semitism is the organizing principle of the entire Western world.

All we non Jews are obsessed with and envious of Jews; this attitude informs everything we do, everything we think.

Just ask Daniel Goldenhagen and his acolytes.

What is the difference between asking a member of Hillel, an organization with a stated Pro-Israel manifesto, and an anti abortion candidate belonging to an organization with a non negotiable membership platform about their ability to impartially perform a duty that might conflict with their private beliefs? None. If you… Read more »