Deceitful Gaslighting:  Labeling Pro-Palestine Students as Anti-Semitic

Palestine US University student protest

As students around the world protest Israel’s genocidal war on Palestinians and their own governments’ complicity in the matter, the entire edifice of the “corporate university” is crumbling before our eyes.  Brittle institutions encourage the sort of dissent that is encapsulated in platitudes because it appears to show their strength.  But the moment the dissent questions anything real, or their sacred cows, the institutions snap and the bureaucrats they put in charge take on the persona of Bull Connor.

Columbia.  Yale. Harvard. Washington. Michigan.  Pomona. 

Some vaunted private institutions, others public.  All tout freedom of speech, diversity, inclusion, and academic freedom as hallmarks. 

All sit on piles of money.  All answer to donors.  And whatever the race, gender, or orientation of their Chief Executives, they are all hierarchical and conservative. 

The Right thinks of them as insufferably “Woke” institutions even as they privatize services, disenfranchise staff, offer predatory pay to “adjuncts,” and act all in all just like any other capitalist institutions. 

Now, the faction of the population that celebrates Israel’s state-violence claims these institutions are antisemitic.  They are too “Woke” when it comes to accommodating the discomforts of minorities but are too unwilling to accommodate the discomfort of Jewish students.  That is the claim.

The claims of course are fatuous.  They rest on a set of deceitful conflations and misrepresentations.  The first of these is obvious- Insisting that to be anti-Israeli state violence is to be antisemitic.  In any other case if a country were considered the same as a religion, these same people would be up in arms.  If every Muslim student were to suggest that any criticism of say Saudi Arabia or Pakistan constitutes Muslim-hate, he’d be laughed out of the room.  And called a traitor insofar as the affiliation with another country suggests that he is not a patriotic American. 

The second deceit is to suggest that administrators love and coddle everyone but Jewish students.  This is absurd and irrational.  In fact, administrators like Minouche Shafik of Columbia have gone out of their way to do the opposite, though many pro-peace and pro-Palestine Jewish students were caught in her dragnet.  In the case of these Jewish students, it was their politics not their religion that got them in trouble.

Gaslighting is the most powerful tool apologists for power.  They are taking a situation, reconstructing its inverse, and promoting the inverse as the truth.  It reminds one of Goebbels.

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Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan is an Author, Marketer, Investor, and Activist

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