OpinionU.S. News

Where Sesame and Arab streets meet

Something has gone terribly wrong when kids, raised the world over on “Sesame Street,” have forsaken Bert and Ernie for murderous jihadis far grouchier than Oscar.

A pro-Hamas protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, April 22, 2024. Credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.
A pro-Hamas protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, 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.”

As college students settle into this semester’s final exams and seniors contemplate graduation, far too many have squandered their studies for death dirges like this:

“Hateful Days, sweeping those Jews away,

On our way to where Israelis can’t meet,

Can you tell me how to get,

How to get to Hamas Street.”

Once this ditty is belted out, the rest of the set includes such antisemitic golden oldies as “From the River to the Sea” and “Free, free Palestine!” More recent chart toppers include: “Hamas we love you. We support your rockets, too!”, “We say justice. You say how? Burn Tel Aviv to the ground!” and “There is only one solution: Intifada revolution!”

Something has gone terribly wrong when kids, raised the world over on “Sesame Street,” have forsaken Bert and Ernie, and their colorful Muppet cohorts, for murderous jihadis far grouchier than Oscar.

These genocidal songs may not yet have received Platinum certification, but it’s time to finally admit that the campus crooners occupying school buildings, forming “Gaza Solidarity” tent encampments, terrorizing Jewish students and screaming like lunatics are, in fact, certifiably insane.

Screaming their lungs out, masked faces inflamed, heads nearly exploding. Not a great look to a job interviewer. Way to take maximum advantage of your Ivy League credentials, ending up with nothing to show for it but poor grades and facial recognition on Facebook. Good luck finding jobs.

Indelible images of the newly formed American Hamas Youth on college campuses such as Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Brown, MIT, NYU, Northwestern, George Washington, Emory, Southern California, UCLA, Michigan and Texas. The hijacking of higher education by propagandist professors and their legions of dufus tagalongs.

University officials, so used to sparing students life’s consequences, have sought to defuse the situation with fancy SAT words like “reset” and “deescalate.” Pray that the tantrums simply “dissipate.”

Oh, I forgot: These schools abandoned the SAT several years ago. What inspiring virtues diversity and equity have brought with them. Abandon the test, admit fewer Jews and Asians, and then brainless students with “compelling life stories” will overturn campus life and threaten students who actually did take the test!

For instance, the principal organizer of the protests at Columbia, Khymani James, is on social media spewing, “Be glad, be grateful, that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists. … Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

He (sorry, he/she/they!) is an Ivy League student receiving financial aid?

Maybe this was to be expected. After all, Gen Z, throughout their entire short lifetimes, have never been told “no” or asked to temper their feelings. Pampered, privileged and infantilized since birth. Cocooned since kindergarten. Coddled throughout college where they were shielded from “microaggressions,” found refuge in “safe spaces,” warned of anything that might “trigger” an unpleasant thought, and were insulted by any idea that was unapproved by their professors.

Worse still, they were misguidedly encouraged to speak up at all times, because everything out of their mouths was a revelation. And so they shouted strongly held woke opinions that required no citations. This from a generation absorbed mainly by vampires and Taylor Swift sightings.

All those participation trophies haven’t helped matters either. It endowed them with a belief that a reward was always owed to them regardless of merit. So they became the poster children for angry mediocrity. Everything was only a tantrum away. Socialized by social media and the coronavirus, overdosed on TikTok and the impulsivity of video games, meant impoverished people skills.

Only enfeebled and impressionable minds would gladly walk the plank leading to the terrorist’s lair.

Do they really believe that Israeli generals, or the trustees who manage university endowments, care what they think? Colleges don’t grant diplomas for narcissism and self-importance.

And all of this is taking place without adult supervision. If anyone knows inmates running asylums, ask them to please apply for the jobs presently held by college presidents.

At major universities, custodians entrusted with fostering learning environments have simply refused to apply Codes of Student Conduct and Supreme Court precedents to reclaim the takeovers of their campuses.

In most cases, they have refused to call in the police to disperse crowds. Where arrests are made, these presidents likely won’t press charges. They won’t suspend and expel students or discipline faculty who take part in violent protests. Nowhere does it state that academic freedom allows tenured professors to scuffle with police and recruit students for Hamas.

And they rely upon false disclaimers. Having “respect for the free speech of student protesters” has nothing to do with what is happening on the campus green. The First Amendment categorically does not protect “true threats,” “fighting words,” group defamation and the “incitement of imminent lawlessness.” Title VI of the Civil Rights Act does not allow institutions receiving federal funds to discriminate against Jews, the vast majority of whom are Zionists, or deny them access to university facilities and resources by permitting thugs to block their way.

University presidents have effectively legalized the “Heckler’s Veto”—all because they live in fear of radicalized students and their campus enablers.

Something has to give: Either we shove pacifiers inside their mouths, or we ready ourselves for suicide vests, underneath keffiyehs, as a fall fashion trend.

An unpleasant truth: A good number of the protesters are Muslim students born in the United States. Why are they acting as if they live in Tehran? Moreover, the mobs include foreigners on student visas. The head of Columbia’s demonstrators, who is “negotiating” with its president, is one such international student. Others can be heard chanting “Death to America!” Why aren’t they already on planes headed back to whatever Jew-hating, American flag-burning corner of the universe they came from?

We may never get back to Tickle Me Elmo. But it would be nice if college presidents, rather than placating, capitulating and prostrating themselves before children—degrading their universities to clown schools (for a textbook example of how these matters should be handled, see Ben Sasse at the University of Florida)—have some dignity, straighten spines, and show the Arab Street to the street.

Originally published by the 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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