OpinionSchools & Higher Education

Gaza masquerade parties can’t mask ugliness

When American flags are set aflame, a clear message is being sent: We want to see both Tel Aviv and Tennessee, burned to the ground.

Anti-Israel protesters set up an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York, April 22, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Anti-Israel protesters set up an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York, April 22, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
Thane Rosenbaum. Credit: Courtesy.
Thane Rosenbaum
Thane Rosenbaum is a novelist, essayist, law professor and Distinguished University Professor at Touro University, where he directs the Forum on Life, Culture & Society. His most recent book is “Saving Free Speech ... From Itself.”

The nationwide masquerade party known as the Gaza Solidarity Encampments, which embroiled colleges in chaos and served as reminders of the Jew-hating violence of 1930s Germany, may have also previewed what protesting Islamists and Marxists (two otherwise irreconcilable groups) have in mind as a next act.

The Arab Street is moving campus by campus and street by street. Very soon they might be standing outside your door. If their takeover of campus buildings is any indication, they won’t knock politely.

Prepare yourselves for a lot of broken glass. Kristallnacht came to Hamilton Hall at Columbia. Practice your call to prayer. Wrap yourself in your very own keffiyeh. Standing out as an infidel only invites decapitation.

Don’t be surprised if someone who lived within these encampments one day makes a backpack go boom. Those cheering for Hamas are made of the wrong stuff.

Ask the people of Paris, London, Stockholm, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid and Copenhagen how things have worked out for nations that volunteered to be safe havens for Muslims. What was safe for Muslims became miserable and murderous for the people who welcomed them.

When American flags are dismounted and set aflame, stomped upon and replaced with flags belonging to rogue terrorist entities (Hezbollah and Hamas are not nations), and a statue of George Washington has been outfitted in the full regalia of a jihadist outlaw, a clear message is being sent: We want to see Tel Aviv, and Tennessee, both burned to the ground.

Israel and its war in Gaza always was, and remains, a distraction, a loss leader in a far more ambitious undertaking: the demolishing of the world’s democratic order. The aim is a global caliphate, and Western societies are in the way.

The Biden administration is doing its part by announcing that it will be admitting Gazan refugees into the United States. Egypt, co-religionists and next-door neighbors, won’t admit a single Gazan through its border. It is well aware of Gaza’s chief natural resource. But the United States, always open for more diversity, would like to boost its terrorism numbers.

Lovely.

Israel, hopefully, will finish the job in Gaza. It knows what must be done. Not so sure about the United States, however. The warning signs were unmistakable, beginning with the burning of an American flag in Dearborn, and protests that featured “Death to America!” chants. On colleges, legions of Hamas hangers-on, essentially latchkey kids, instigated by ax-grinding professors and outside agitators, mindlessly attached themselves to an antisemitic cause they neither understand nor realize has no love lost for them.

What kind of students—Ivy Leaguers, no less—would be so easily manipulated? And, who, exactly, inhabited those designer tents?

The frontline messengers and foot soldiers have largely remained a mystery: wearing masks, refusing to speak to the press, camera shy, shouting slogans, shoving Jewish students and screaming obscenities at police.

You can tell a lot about students wearing masks. For one thing, masks conceal all sorts of ugliness. Remain anonymous while within a mob. Without the mask, deviancy will more likely be punished. And the mass gathering of the similarly embittered takes the sting away from all those fraternities and sororities that already rejected them. Speaking of Greek, the protesters are unlikely Phi Beta Kappa.

The perceived shadowiness of the keffiyeh mask, and the failure of university presidents to enforce their codes of student conduct, left these students with feelings of invincibility. All personal responsibility abandoned. Hating Jews without consequence. Openly calling for their deaths, enshrined as a First Amendment right.

Talk about faulty education. Freed from all inhibition. Surrounded by antisemites in arms. With faces covered, ignorance and hate are far too easily unleashed. And no fact-checkers to be found despite the presence of so many professors, all light graders, chanting the same thing.

Such identification with terrorism, in a nation that survived 9/11, should have resulted in the immediate forfeiture of their student status. If they are holding student visas, expedited deportation. Screaming, “We are Hamas!” and “Long Live the Intifada!” suggests that you have severely misjudged the moral categories and chosen the wrong side in a ferocious rivalry between good and evil. You might as well enroll yourself in a Palestinian terrorist pilot program.

It makes sense that the match was lit on the campus green. Many of these students had already been exposed to anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Zionist propaganda since middle school. College humanities departments are dominated by “academics” hired principally to satisfy DEI agendas and poison impressionable minds. Activists abusing a tenure track to recruit doctrinal disciples.

How else to explain curricula that includes such garbage courses as: Northwestern’s “Unsettling Whiteness”; Pomona’s “Queering Childhood”; and Brown’s “Humanity or Nah? Blackness, Gender, Resistance, and Memory in Monuments, Maps, and Archives”?

Meanwhile, Middle East Studies departments have become extremist outposts for Islamists holding PhDs.

Students are no longer taught to think critically and independently. Only uniformly—in lockstep groupthink, with overlapping intersectional grievances. The ignorant are so easily indoctrinated. College campuses became ground zero for cult-like zombies reciting social justice mantras, dancing in circles, and making a dash for porta-potties in which to discharge all that excess Kool-Aid.

Since late last week, over 2,000 arrests were made on over 50 campuses. A good number of those were not affiliated with any university. How were outside agitators allowed to hijack campus facilities and hand out permission slips to commit violence against Jewish students? Trustees ought to know.

Still, the vast majority were students, old enough to know better. Will they receive diplomas for their final project? Are they invited back to campus in the fall?

What possessed them to choose Gazans as the people most deserving of their time and emotions? After all, many hot-spots around the world have generated actual genocides, and far more collateral damage, than Gaza. Yet, not a single chant or signage for Syrians, Yemenites, Uyghurs and Sudanese, nor any that read: “Bring the Hostages Home,” or “Hamas: Surrender!”

Instead, the students camped out for weeks, ignored exams, flirted with expulsions, and risked arrests—all the while doing the bidding of terrorists who beheaded babies and gang-raped girls their own age.

They professed their right to peaceful protest, yet called for the killing of Jews. They wanted to showcase their revolutionary grit, but demanded bottled water, gluten-free food and sunscreen. They broke-and-entered university buildings, held unlawful assemblies and scuffled with the police, yet complained about getting arrested and demanded amnesty. They insist on defunding the police, but when counter-protesters emerged, they demanded police protection.

Even children are more mature than this.

Before Gaza bewitched the student body into believing that Jews can be tormented carte blanche, the purveyors of identity politics decreed that speech is violence. Nowadays, violence is free speech—if directed against Israel, and Jews everywhere.

Originally published by Jewish Journal

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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