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Monday, December 28, 2009

Are Jewish Students Afraid to Defend Israel?

Republican pollster Frank Luntz recently conducted a study of students at Harvard and M.I.T., which is reported below in the Jewish Week:

http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c37_a17467/News/National.html

This falls in line with what I have observed for the past 3-4 years at UC-Irvine when the Muslim Student Union holds its regular Israel-bashing fests with radical speakers whom they invite to speak on our campus.

There have been occasions when pro-Israel groups on campus like Anteaters for Israel will turn out to make a counter-protest with signs and pamphlets (I have never seen them disrupt an anti-Israel event.) On the other hand, there have been occasions when Jewish students failed to turn out to counter the MSU speakers. There have also been times when Jewish organizations have discouraged Jewish students from counter-protesting. Finally, ss I have previously said, there have been times when speakers have crossed the line into anti-Jewish speech.

I also wrote a few months ago that a friend of mine who is a Jewish teacher at UC-Irvine and counselor for Jewish students queried a large of group of them if they felt intimidated on the campus. About half of them, virtually all females, responded in the affirmative. It is anecdotal, but it is a troubling exmple.

I maintain that this is going on university campuses throughout the US and Canada. The Israel-Palestinian conflict has led to increased activism on campuses on the part of many Muslim Student Associations in concert with various far-left groups including several professors. The result is that many Jewish students are uncomfortable asserting their Jewish identity on campus and speaking out in defense of Israel. This is an inexcusable situation and should be addressed by university administrators (which to date has not been the case).

I applaud Mr Luntz for his study. It is an issue that should be followed up on.

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