It was a truly disappointing scene at UNC Chapel Hill last week, indeed at many American universities. Across America, university students displayed a repulsive disregard for human life following the barbaric violence perpetrated by Hamas against Israelis, which resulted in the rape, murder, and kidnapping of hundreds.
Instead of reflecting on these moral atrocities and appealing to humanity, American university students cast their lot in with Hamas. In another incident, more than 30 Harvard student organizations felt it was appropriate to hold the Israeli people “entirely responsible” for the violence and barbarism committed by Hamas. It was a disgusting display of victim-blaming.
Ironically, these same student organizations have proudly proclaimed their dogmatic adherence to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) on their websites, yet they found it appropriate to blame those murdered and raped by Hamas militants. What’s the point of universities advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion if, in the end, students lose their humanity?
All my life, I have never considered myself to be Jewish. Half of my family were German-Jews who had converted to Protestantism centuries ago. Accordingly, most of our family had more of a connection to our German heritage rather than our Jewish heritage. Today we adhere to that wonderful idea of our society being the melting pot of the Old World in the pursuit of forming something new.
However, during times of heightening anti-Semitism, I know that I would be reduced to a Jewish identity by some seeking to advance hate.
“Hackers have compiled a giant apparent list of people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry after taking that information from the genetic testing service 23andMe, which is now being shared on the internet,” NBC News reported.
I would be on such a list, and to those committed to hate and anti-Semitism, I know they will only see me through that lens. Like the Nazis who forced children to prove their genealogy was sufficiently German at the outset of the Holocaust, I know I would not be able to produce such proof. Despite Karl Marx identifying with his German heritage, Adolf Hitler still referred to him as “that Jew.”
While I don’t identify as Jewish, I still feel compelled to make this connection, especially with Holocaust Remembrance Day around the corner. I look at these leftist responses to the Israeli-Hamas conflict, and chills go down my spine. Don’t they know that the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the early 20th century started when German high culture turned a blind eye to the mistreatment of the Jewish people?
Intellectuals in the academy and cultural influencers in Germany set the tone that anti-Semitism was a legitimate political discourse. Prominent German philosopher Martin Heidegger was a dues-paying member of the Nazi Party and made sure to give the Nazi salute before every lecture. The famous German logician and mathematician, Gottlob Frege, publicly sympathized with anti-Semitic views. Even Marx, of Jewish heritage, flirted with anti-Semitism in his controversial essay, “On the Jewish Question.”
Leftists love to push critical race theory (CRT) as a method of critiquing structural prejudice. Don’t they know that CRT is a derivative technique of critical theory, which was developed by members of the Frankfurt School — like Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno — in response to the moral atrocities of the Nazi regime and the moral failings of German culture to respond to anti-Semitism? Yet, they proudly stand on university steps, claiming, “Colonization is Violence” in support of Hamas. How is this different from “the Jews will not replace us”?
The academy has failed society in a profound way. Watching college students make decisions based on false dichotomies, superficial criteria, and ideological patronage demonstrates that our education system has created identitarians, not critical thinkers. Despite universities claiming to cultivate critical consciousness, leftist students are often extremely dogmatic. Supporting the Israeli government in defending its people from murder, rape, and terrorism does not mean one is against the Palestinians. Likewise, when America went to war against the Nazis in the 1940s, we were fighting against a corrupt political party that had taken over the German government, not the German people.
If one cares for the well-being of the Palestinian people, the response is to support Israel in the elimination of this racist organization because Hamas does nothing but use the Palestinians as a human shield in the pursuit of their genocidal political agenda.
Despite all the virtue signaling and performative gestures from the left over the last decade about standing up to Nazism, we now see a Nazi-adjacent group in Hamas that the left has become all too comfortable supporting or turning a blind eye to. They mask their moral failings as support for the Palestinians, but this gesture is meaningless if Hamas holds power over Palestinians. It would be like saying one supports the Germans when the Nazi regime was in power, advancing the same mission statement as Hamas to “exterminate the Jews.”
Our universities are failing to cultivate a culture of critical analysis and historical understanding. The leadership of these institutions is failing to set a moral standard and condemn these dehumanizing postures that are emerging from leftist activism on university campuses. Leftists needs to engage in serious reflection on these new behavioral developments because it is currently treading the path that led to the collapse of human dignity and to the Holocaust during the 20th century.
One does not receive a pass for morally reprehensible behavior just because they mask their anti-Semitism with a rainbow-color theme. Remember that the swastika was — and still is in some Eastern cultures — a symbol of hope. If leftism wishes to avoid becoming Nazism but under a rainbow flag, then advocates on the left need to strongly condemn what is happening within their ranks and in our universities.