Diversity vs. Freedom of Speech at the U. of California
March 16, 2016, 03:10 PM
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From the Los Angeles Times:

UC proposal on intolerance says ‘anti-Zionism’ is unacceptable on campus

by Teresa Watanabe

University of California officials are proposing to include “anti-Zionism” as a form of discrimination that is unacceptable on campus, according to a long-awaited draft statement on intolerance released Tuesday.

The inclusion immediately drew sharply divergent reactions, with pro-Israel groups hailing it as a needed step to protect Jewish students from hostility and those supporting Palestinian rights criticizing it as a naked attempt to suppress criticism of the Jewish state.

Scholars were similarly divided over whether a statement meant to express the UC regents’ principles against intolerance should include Zionism — historically an international movement to establish a Jewish homeland and now viewed as the belief in Israel’s right to exist. …

And although the statement provides no sanctions, calling on university leaders to “challenge” bias, [Judith] Butler wondered whether those singled out as criticizing Zionism would be denied faculty research funds, promotions or other benefits.

“To include anti-Zionism as an instance of intolerance and bigotry is actually to suppress a set of political beliefs that we actually need to hear,” she said. “It saddens me and strikes at the heart of the task of the university.”

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder and director of the AMCHA Initiative, which has led the drive for a UC statement, said such fears were unfounded. She said the intent was not to punish speech but to raise awareness about hostility toward Jewish students.

The effort to adopt the statement on intolerance was launched after a series of troubling incidents targeting Jewish students on UC campuses. They included the defacing of a Jewish fraternity house with a Nazi swastika at UC Davis last year and the questioning of a student’s eligibility for a UCLA campus judicial panel because she is Jewish.

I wrote about that UCLA student politics incident last year in Taki’s: it was part of a tribal turf war between Jews (especially Israelis) and an anti-Israel coalition dominated by students of color:
I never paid much attention to the growing BDS movement because I’m not into bondage, domination, and submission. But it turns out that BDS is actually a decade-old Palestinian rights movement that targets Israel for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. …

While fairly mainstream in other parts of the world (for example, physicist Stephen Hawking boycotted a conference in Israel to protest occupation of the West Bank), BDS hasn’t yet become respectable in the United States. The main exception has been in the playpen of student government on California college campuses, where the much-celebrated diversity has proven fertile ground for undergraduate demagogues. So far, BDS resolutions have been passed by eight student governments, Loyola of Chicago and seven California schools: private Stanford and a half dozen public University of California campuses, including Berkeley and UCLA, both of which are of symbolic importance. (Tellingly, a BDS resolution was defeated at UC Santa Barbara, which has the whitest UC student body at 36 percent.)

In California, the state with the largest number and greatest diversity of newcomers, immigration is destabilizing the American order in which Jews have thrived.

In recent months, Jewish centrists such as journalists Jonathan Chait and Jamie Kirchick have become increasingly alarmed over whether the Obama Coalition’s identity politics jihad against white privilege, male privilege, straight privilege, and now even cisgender privilege will eventually turn against the privileges of the single richest and most influential ethnic group in America: Jews…

It’s uncomfortable for liberal Jews to admit that the massive immigration they’ve backed so viscerally is destabilizing the America in which they’ve attained such a central role. They’d rather continue to portray themselves as unprivileged outsiders, a strategy that has worked well with American gentiles. But with about one-third of American billionaires and about one-sixth of global billionaires being Jewish, it’s not a marketing tactic that’s very convincing, perhaps especially to recent immigrants, who typically come from much less pro-Semitic cultures than America. (The ADL recently announced that over a billion foreigners were anti-Semites; but the organization still supports heavy immigration to America from anti-Semitic cultures for reasons of nostalgia, and perhaps to make work for itself in the future.)

There are several ways for American Jews to respond to this trend emerging out of California of the next generation of immigrant politicians viewing Jews as The Privileged:

  • Buy off nonwhite politicians.
  • Double down on victimism by using Jewish media power to insist that Jews are not privileged; in fact, they’re still the biggest victims of them all.
  • Turn the heat down on the Social Justice War launched by the Obama Administration by satirizing SJWs and victimism in general.
I like the last idea, but then I would, wouldn’t I?

[Comment at Unz.com]