From college deans of diversity and inclusion to various ethnic and gender studies programs, the liberal arts and social sciences have become obsessed with victimizers and victims. Not even the Marxist dichotomy of bourgeois and proletariat is as important as the dichotomies surrounding the oppressed and the oppressor, which have been transformed from social class to ethnicity and gender.
Victimhood has a moral status in academia that is without rival. It is enhanced by the concept of intersectionality where all oppressed identity groups come together to form an alliance against the white male oppressor class.
And then there is hate, raw hate, which is the great unifier of social and political movements. You cannot be woke without hatred. To find unity and justice in your cause, you need an enemy. If you are oppressed, there is an oppressor. If you are a victim, there is a victimizer.
If you tire of mouthing banalities about white people, whiteness and white culture—as if the culture of a Sicilian Catholic and a Norwegian Lutheran can be seen in their skin color—there is always the Jew.
Jew-hatred, reconstituted in the 19th century as anti-Semitism, has become acceptable under the thin and duplicitous veneer of anti-Zionism. Whether you want to split hairs with the Gallup poll’s methodology showing that 94 percent of Jews are Zionists or simply note that Zionism is an ideology adhered to by a majority of Jews, there is no doubt that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “When people criticize Zionists they mean Jews; you are talking anti-Semitism.”
For the intersectionality crowd, the Jew is a convenient substitute for the white oppressor. On campus, Jewish organizations face unprecedented procedural hurdles in organizing. Jewish candidates for student government have been blacklisted for supporting Israel. And deans of diversity and inclusion have dismissed Jewish complaints as having no foundation since the broad spectrum of identity groups is against them.
These administrators buy into the notion of “true truth,” a vacuous variant of Oprah Winfrey’s nonsensical “your truth.” True truth is that which is believed by the majority of an oppressed group. And if most people in an ethnic group believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is a sinister plot by Bill Gates to implant a GPS chip in you, then that, too, is true. “Your truth” becomes transformed into true truth.
So, if the intersectionality crowd dabbles in blood libels about Jews, the irrational logic of true truth gives them legitimacy. The mathematical notion that propositions are true or false no longer holds. Logic, like much on campus, has succumbed to the absurdity of identity ideology.
This explains how campus progressives who profess concern about gay and minority rights can support Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood that embraces the most fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law and is designated as a terror group even by Muslim countries.
Hamas is seen as the victim in its current war with Israel. Intersectionality, the great unifying force for campus identity groups, demands identification with the victim or weaker party. Ergo, anti-Semitism is legitimate as long as it masquerades as anti-Zionism.
There were no campus petitions for Christians killed in Nagorno-Karabakh by Azeris united with Syrian-recruited ISIS fighters. Protests on behalf of the Uyghurs, who are being ethnically cleansed in China, have not materialized. Tens of thousands of Myanmar Rohingya Muslims have been forced from their homes, but campuses have been quiet.
Only when Israel tries to defend itself against a terrorist group whose raison d’être is Israel’s destruction does the campus find an issue worthy of pursuit, for anti-Semitism is the unifying force for intersectionality.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him on Twitter: @salomoncenter.