The diversity, equity and inclusion industry has been dented by several recent antisemitism disputes, writes Laurel Duggan in UnHerd, as activists put Jews and Israel in the ‘white oppressor’ category and justify all forms of ‘resistance’ against them. Here’s an excerpt.
George Washington University postponed a diversity summit last week over concerns about the “current climate”, after a student group projected messages onto a campus building reading “glory to our martyrs”, “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and “GWU is complicit in genocide in Gaza”. The university wrote that the postponement was related to campus safety as well as the “pain” felt by students.
Institutions across the country — and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) departments in particular — appear to be reckoning with the same problem. The advocacy group StopAntisemitism found in its 2022 report that the majority of universities it evaluated did not include Jews in their DEI programs.
Speaking to UnHerd, Cornell Law Professor William A. Jacobson claimed that at his university “opponents of Israel seek to racialise what is a religious and national conflict to put together coalitions of students ‘of colour’ versus ‘white’ Israel and Jews”. He suggested that this process has accelerated since the university announced an anti-racism initiative in early June 2020, following the killing of George Floyd.
Cornell came under scrutiny after history professor Russell Rickford said he was “exhilarated” by the October 7th Hamas attacks, and the FBI is currently investigating recent antisemitic threats made against its Jewish student centre.
“I’ve not seen any response from feminist and women’s rights groups, which overlap significantly with the pro-Palestinian groups, to the use of rape and sexual abuse by Hamas, including rape of dead Israeli women,” Jacobson said. “It may be old fashioned Jew-hatred, but I think more likely it is because campus ‘social justice’ movements, including at Cornell, have been conditioned by the DEI obsession with race to view Israeli Jews as so uniquely evil that resistance ‘by any means necessary’ is promoted, embraced, and excused.”
In March, Tabia Lee found out the extent of the DEI industry’s targeting of certain viewpoints. A former faculty director for the Office of Equity, Social Justice, and Multicultural Education at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California, she was fired from her position after hosting Jewish speakers on campus to discuss antisemitism and the Holocaust, and attempting to host a multifaith heritage event.
“I saw antisemitism on a weekly basis in my two years as a faculty ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ director,” she wrote in the New York Post this month. “Toxic DEI ideology deliberately stokes hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.” Lee characterised the industry as “built on the unshakeable belief that the world is divided into two groups of people: the oppressors and the oppressed.” Within this, “Jews are categorically placed in the oppressor category, while Israel is branded a ‘genocidal, settler, colonialist state’”, and “criticising Israel and the Jewish people is not only acceptable but praiseworthy.”
Worth reading in full.