Columbia University Terminates Three Staff Members Over Antisemitic Tropes

AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah

Antisemitism is ancient. I recall a CNN talking head asking a guest about antisemitism, and she led with an idiotic take. I don’t remember who the host was or the guest, but I do remember it because it was “forgettability idiotic.” It was about a month after the October slaughter of Jews by Hamas. She prefaced her question with a reminder that “Semites” include Arabs and, therefore, antisemitism isn’t limited to Jews. I am sure that a junior researcher came up with the silly “gotcha.” But antisemitism, in modern parlance, means one thing - the hatred of Jews.

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Jew hatred predates the Roman Empire. Jews have been the victims of persecution, murder, and exile for thousands of years.

Jews were accused of causing the “Black Death.” In the 14th Century, Jews were burned at the stake and tortured for causing a rodent-carrying illness. They were expelled from England and persecuted. Jews have been expelled from 110 countries over the course of history. Jews were Hitler's obsession. His war of conquest was a war started on the pretext of hating Jews. Hitler ordered their extermination. Some people have maintained that either it didn’t happen, or it happened but not on the scale that “The Jews” claim. As we march through our own history, it seems that people get disconnected and are convinced through confirmation bias that Jews are not victims but victimizers. I find this predictable but awful.

I am not a Jew. I grew up a Catholic and became a “non-Catholic Christian,” much to my mother’s consternation. During and after high school, I dated a Jewish woman. Some of my closest friends are Jews. I came close to proposing to a Jewish girl. My mother almost stroked with that possibility. I don’t think I have ever met a Jew I didn’t like.

After the October massacre, it didn’t take long for celebrities, disaffected college students, and academics to jump on the Jew-hatred train. Some of it was subtle. Some of it was as obvious as a tattoo on a forearm.

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At Columbia, an Ivy League institution that for 270 years has claimed “elite” status, the campus became the epicenter for anti-Jewish sentiment, and we witnessed a feeding frenzy that resulted in violence and Hamilton Hall being overrun by a mob.

Although a hundred or more "protesters" should have been charged and hundreds of students expelled, it appears Columbia is now trying to salvage its reputation. To a point. Columbia has taken action. To a Point. Fox News reports:

Columbia University has "permanently removed" three staff members after they were caught sending text messages that pushed "ancient antisemitic tropes. "The messages were allegedly sent during the "Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present and Future" reunion event on campus 

Columbia President Minouche Shafik condemned the messages in a Monday letter to the Columbia community. She said the "unacceptable and deeply upsetting" exchange highlighted the lack of concern regarding negative experiences voiced by Jewish community members. 

What I find evenly offensive is that the names of the Jew-haters have not been released, nor have their text messages. Why not? My theory is that the Jew-hating texts are so ugly, so offensive and awful that Columbia fears that it will be smeared, by implication, with the mud of antisemitism. Best to just terminate the offenders and hope that the brouhaha fades away. If these texts had, instead of expressing Jew hatred, been targeted at Blacks, I believe Columbia would have happily released the names and the content of the texts and announced a walk of shame.

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Jew hatred is an ancient trope. Now, it's a modern trope. It's a cancer. But like cancer, if left untreated, will consume the host.

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