Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeLaura PerrinsIgnore these petty anti-Israel students and they’ll go away

Ignore these petty anti-Israel students and they’ll go away


THE elite universities in the United States have always had a complicated relationship with the Jews. When the WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestants) were in charge of who got into the elite Ivy League, they soon realised that when admission was based purely on merit there were too many Jews. The Jewish applicant was, to use a complicated term, super-duper smart. 

They were also, according to this must-read New Yorker ‘look back’ article, seen as annoying: The enrolment of Jews began to rise dramatically. By 1922, they made up more than a fifth of Harvard’s freshman class. The administration and alumni were up in arms.’ The ‘Jews were thought to be sickly and grasping, grade-grubbing and insular. They displaced the sons of wealthy WASP alumni, which did not bode well for fund-raising’.

The piece reveals that Lawrence Lowell, Harvard’s president in the 1920s, stated flatly that too many Jews would destroy the school: ‘The summer hotel that is ruined by admitting Jews meets its fate . . . because they drive away the Gentiles, and then after the Gentiles have left, they leave also.’

In response the elite universities changed what they wanted in an applicant. This is how the demand for the ‘all-rounder’ developed. Traits sought in an applicant were ‘character’ or even ‘manliness’. Oh, this applicant might be incredible at maths, but do we really want Daniel Goldstein when we can have Jack Smith instead who is quite good at maths but awesome at throwing American footballs? Soon, the frat boy was born.

Today, the elite American university now discriminates against Asian children, who are also super-duper smart, especially at maths. The admissions departments might blather on about ‘representation’ and the dreaded equality, diversity and inclusion, but it all boils down to the same thing – a move away from the meritocracy to justify discriminating against whatever group does better academically and favouring the group you really want at the university but performs badly.

Yesterday, the Jews were out and the WASPS were in. Today, the WASPs and Asians are out and the African Americans are in. 

This historical discrimination against Jews should be kept in mind when thinking about the pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel protests on American campuses. Some call them anti-Semitic protests, some call them peace protests, but what you should appreciate is that they should not come as a surprise. Remember, dear reader, that the number one aim of a lot of leftie students in the US is to relive the Vietnam protests, or the 60s as whole. That epoch of civil rights demonstrations lives on in the memory, passed down from the boomer grandparents. It was the one thing the boomers ever got right.

Finally the students have a genuine anti-war protest on offer. As one protester explains: ‘The sense of community, being with people who believe the exact same thing that I did and then seeing the fact that the encampment had spread not only on Columbia’s campus but across the country was extremely reassuring . . . We began this movement and now it’s spreading.‘ The thrill of it all!

The question is how seriously you should take the students and their protests and their demands fordivestment from companies connected to Israel. ‘At Columbia, students are demanding the university drop its direct investments in companies doing business in or with Israel, including Amazon and Google, which are part of a $1.2bn cloud-computing contract with Israel’s government; Microsoft, whose services are used by Israel’s Ministry of Defence and Israeli civil administration; and defence contractors profiting from the war such as Lockheed Martin, which on Tuesday reported its earnings were up 14 per cent.’ 

The protesters at least have firm demands, namely that their incredibly wealthy universities divest whatever stock they may hold connected to Israel and sell it to someone else. How this will improve matters – the stock is still owned by someone – is not clear, but it sure does feel good to have clean hands! 

We should not take anything these students say seriously as they are the kind who once upon a time objected to Halloween costumes. Back in the glory days of 2015, well before anyone had real problems to worry about like an alleged genocide in Gaza, students verbally abused professors who said the students should chill out when it comes to ‘offensive Halloween costumes’. Man, those really were the days! Nicholas Christakis, the master of Silliman College at Yale, was surrounded after telling students to allow others to exercise free speech by wearing what they wanted on Halloween. He was shouted down as he tried to explain why he believed students should be able to wear what they want, with one young woman yelling at him and telling him to “shut the f*** up”.’  So, the same leftist thinking that says Halloween costumes should be banned because students might get offended and make them feel unsafe now believes in free speech. At one point the student at Yale claimed the email undermined her right to live at the university which should be ‘a place of comfort and home’. No such comfort is afforded during the current protests to Jewish students, who have been experiencing verbal abuse and worse, or told that they deserve to die.

This outright hypocrisy means we should not take these student protests seriously. Today the students are angry about the alleged thousands of women and children being killed in Gaza, but yesterday they were yelling about Halloween costumes. Again, these are not serious people.

As a small-state conservative, however, I do take issue with over-militarised police rolling in and arresting protesters as they dabble in yoga in one of the wealthiest and safest places on earth – the West Lawn in Columbia University, New York City.  I also have zero sympathy for university administrators who have done nothing to stand up to the destruction of the American academy that has been going on for decades. I do have sympathy for the Jewish students who have real reason to feel under threat. 

Anyway, how long do you really think these protesters are going to last? It will be Spring Break soon and these peeps will not, when the chips are down, want to miss out on the annual trip to Florida. Failing that, the parents will be taking a summer break to somewhere fabulous, and the students will want to go there too. How will the women keep their hair coloured blue if they don’t sneak back into the dormitories at some point? Also the phone needs charging or they won’t be able to post all their clips from the ‘front line’ to TikTok.

My overall advice would be to leave them be. Smoking a lot of weed on the West Lawn isn’t going to make the tiniest bit of difference to the military industrial complex or indeed the IDF.

This article was first published on Laura’s substack

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