Sunday, October 24, 2004

Anti-semitic editorial from the Duke University student newspaper

Via Bloghead, an anti-semitic editorial from the Duke University student newspaper, The Jews . The author, using classic anti-semitic tropes, objects to Jews and others organizing on the Duke campus against the latest conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement.

One part of his argument seems to be calling, in an underhanded way, for the return of the "Jewish quota" for American elite colleges and universities:
It is well known that Jews constitute the most privileged “minority” group in this country. Among the top 10 universities, Jews enjoy shocking overrepresentation: Only the California Institute of Technology has an undergraduate Jewish population below 10 percent, and four schools have particularly stark Jewish advantages—Harvard (30 percent), Yale (23 percent), UPenn (31 percent) and Columbia (25 percent). Keep in mind that, at best estimate, no more than 3 percent of all Americans are Jewish.
Another part condemns Jews for gaining acceptance in the United States because we are now seen as "white":
While Jews undoubtedly lay claim to a long history of racism and genocide that continues across the world today, this characterization does not transport perfectly to the United States. After World War II, overt anti-Semitism gradually subsided, in part because of American response to Hitler’s murderous regime, but largely due to Jewish association with whiteness and the privileges white skin affords. In short, Jews can renounce their difference by taking off the yarmulke. Clearly, this is not a luxury enjoyed by all minority groups.
He continues by condemning President Clinton for appointing two Jews as Supreme Court Justices, and to argue that Jews "have the right to move seamlessly between the majority and minority."
When former President Bill Clinton nominated his first two judges to the Supreme Court, both were Jews.  Remarkable in the slightest? No, of course not. But the American public still can’t get over Clarence Thomas’s cultural heritage, after being appointed by Bush 41. To be Jewish is to have the right to move seamlessly between the majority and minority, without constraint. Thus, Jewish-American appropriation of the “oppressed” moniker is disingenuous, belying the reality of America’s social hierarchy.
This vile editorial, which displays some of the classic arguments of both rightwing and leftwing anti-semitism (right: there are too many of those Jews in our universities; left: how dare those Jews pretend they're oppressed?), is a depressing example of the entrance of classic anti-semitism into the elite American university. I haven't followed this controversy in detail, but this certainly is a mournful sign of the times.

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