DEI-Sourced Campus Anti-Semitism Stems from Marxist Ideology
Since Hamas’s October 7 terror attack, it seems another professor says something anti-Semitic every time you blink. Some have apologized, some have been suspended, but all expose a campus culture that prefers some worldviews, political stances, and identities while demonizing others.
Anti-Semitic sentiments have been voiced by professors in all sorts of schools, all across the nation:
- An unidentified professor from the City University of New York (CUNY), which was investigated for anti-Semitism just last year, accused Israel of carrying out “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” and alleged “the Jews of the Bible were black. These are European converts to Judaism who stole Palestinian land.”
- At a private university in Atlanta, Ga., Emory University Professor Dr. Abeer AbouYabis posted a poem glorifying the Hamas terrorists who hang-glided over the border wall.
- According to student reviews on RateMyProfessors, Texas A&M Professor Sena Karasipahi claimed Hamas was a “humanitarian group,” and “teaches her opinion as fact and tests you as such.”
- University of California (UC) Santa Barbara Professor Bilal Ware said, “Zionism is white supremacy” and called Israel a “fascist, ethno-nationalist, apartheid settler state.” He argued that “the liberation” of Palestine would “become an absolutely central tenet of all progressive thought in America. … Don’t cut off each of the tentacles [a classic anti-Semitic trope depicts Jewish interests as an octopus]; stab it in the heart.”
Some of the most aggressive remarks came from professors who identify as transgender, extending the trend of trans-identifying people contemplating or glorifying violence. “Israelis are pigs. Savages. Very bad people. Irredeemable excrement,” wrote Dr. Mika Tosca, a professor at the School of Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), on Instagram. UC Davis Professor Jemma Decristo tweeted, “on group of people we have easy access to in the U.S. is all these Zionist journalists who spread propaganda and misinformation. They have houses with addresses, kids in school. They can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.” He ended the message with emojis of a knife, a hatchet, and three blood-red drops of liquid.
Leading the way are professors at some of America’s foremost universities. Yale University Professor Zareena Grewal called Israel “a murderous, genocidal settler state” and said October 7, the day Hamas launched its terror attack, was “an extraordinary day!” Cornell University Professor Russell Rickford spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally, where he repeatedly said the Hamas terror attack “was exhilarating.” An unidentified Stanford University lecturer, who has been suspended, allegedly blamed “Zionists” for the war, justified Hamas’s slaughter as part of the resistance, then separated Jewish students into corner and called them “colonizers.”
Harvard visiting scholar Rabbi David Wolpe said, “Paradoxically, the more elite the university, the more likely Jews are going to have a hard time there. And the Ivy Leagues, unfortunately, are some of the least hospitable.”
The trend has become so noticeable that, on Thursday, seven senators introduced legislation to “rescind federal education funding for colleges and universities that peddle antisemitism or authorize, fund or facilitate events that promote violent antisemitism.” After the widespread anti-Semitism erupting across American academia, it’s fair to question whether such a bill would cancel federal education funding to nearly all colleges and universities.
Certainly most taxpayers don’t want to fund anti-Semitic institutions, but whether such legislation would be effective remains to be seen. After all, the Biden administration has already launched its own National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, led by an Education Department “Antisemitism Awareness Campaign,” which did little to deter the current wave of anti-Semitic expression. If it were passed into law, its implementation would be handled by the same administration that hired a pro-Hamas, former PLO-spokeswoman to oversee asylum claims.
Sadly, anti-Semitism at universities is too well-connected to be nipped in the bud. In 2021, The Heritage Foundation found that anti-Semitism had come to characterize staff in university departments for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
By analyzing personal social media accounts for more than 700 DEI personnel at 65 universities, Heritage found that those staff “tweeted, retweeted, or liked almost three times as many tweets about Israel as tweets about China,” which is among the world’s foremost abusers of human rights and currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against a religious and ethnic minority by incarcerating millions of people in concentration camps. Incredibly, Heritage found that these DEI personnel were critical of Israel 96% of the time, while their tweets referring to China were favorable 62% of the time.
On Thursday, a former DEI director at Silicon Valley’s De Anza College wrote that she saw “blatant” anti-Semitism “on a weekly basis” and was ultimately forced out for “the mistake of trying to create an authentically inclusive learning environment for everyone, including Jewish students.” She warned, “toxic DEI ideology [which she said is more ‘more accurately called “critical social justice”’] deliberately stokes hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.”
Thus, anyone wishing to excise anti-Semitism from an American university must begin by gutting its DEI department, which has ballooned to an average of more than 45 people.
“The guiding framework the Left uses is the intersectionality scheme, which classifies people into “the main categories of ‘oppressors’ and ‘the oppressed,’” David Closson, director of FRC’s Center for Biblical Worldview, told The Washington Stand. “Many who think through this intersectionality framework view Jews as part of the ‘oppressor’ class.”
The anti-Semitic fruit of DEI is the most compelling argument against it to date. Not that dividing people by identity groups is ever healthy, but a framework of “oppressor” and “oppressed” groups that classifies history’s most oppressed group with the oppressors — based solely on their skin color — is facially invalid on its own terms.
For such view to become dominant, universities first had to forget the historical persecution aimed at Jews. After dozens of Harvard student groups issued a statement holding Israel “entirely responsible” for Hamas killing over 1,400 and kidnapping nearly 200 Israelis, Harvard Divinity School student Shabbos Kestenbaum, who is Jewish, responded, “I want to say that it came as a shock, and that we would have expected just sympathy or empathy as a given. But looking back, I see this as an inevitable culmination of years of intellectual decay.”
Dethatching the intellectual decay will require someone with a stiff backbone, as those who profit from the ingrained decadence will not permit its removal without a fight. In particular, abolishing or overhauling DEI departments will require state action, since most public universities are created and maintained by state governments.
The state of Florida took the first steps in just such a university recovery mission earlier this year. Over Christmas, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) directed universities to itemize their DEI and CRT programming. Then in the spring, the legislature enacted a law to “prohibit institutions from spending federal or state dollars on discriminatory initiatives, such as so called ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)’ programs.”
Admittedly, these are first steps. To truly take back their educational institutions, Florida’s governing authorities must reshape the personnel who staff and guide those institutions, and that process could take years. Just two of Florida’s universities, Florida State University and the University of Florida had a combined 60 DEI staff in 2021, and many university faculty and staff joined students in protesting the changes. Yet there, too, Florida has taken action, appointing university presidents and board members that share the state’s commonsense vision for education, and empowering those officials with a greater role in hiring decisions.
Florida’s governor has seen his fair share of criticism and opposition to his education reforms. In 2022, the Florida legislature and DeSantis had implemented the “Stop WOKE Act,” which banned the teaching of discriminatory, divisive concepts associated with DEI and CRT, among other things. However, university staff challenged the law in federal court and won an injunction against it. Although the state’s new strategy has survived a legal challenge for now, it has sustained heavy criticism from the mainstream media. Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar warned DeSantis’s fight against woke teaching would result in “significant negative impacts.”
Yet the rash of anti-Semitic incidents at campuses across America highlights the urgent need for leaders of conviction to take a stand against the radical, Marxism-infused culture that incubates it in DEI departments across America. Perhaps, in so doing, such leaders may even prepare the next generation of American college-goers not to be paralyzed by microaggressions, but to survive and thrive in an increasingly dangerous world.
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.