The moral and intellectual corruption of American universities has recently manifested itself in the California State University system, the largest in the country. A group of faculty and administrators has sent a letter to Chancellor Charles Reed asking that he not approve the reinstatement of the Israel Study Abroad Program, which was suspended apparently for budgetary reasons. Behind the various pretexts justifying this request, however, lies the usual leftist hatred of Israel based on false history and moral idiocy.
The pretexts are transparently specious. The argument about budget constraints is made on a regular basis about everything the university does, and usually reflects professional or ideological preferences rather than principle. If the issue were a study abroad program at Arab American University in Jenin, which the letter writers recommend the CSU should create, money would not be a problem. Nor is the evocation of the State Department Travel Warning any more legitimate. In fact, if you read the actual warning, you’ll see that it is generated not by Israel’s malevolence, but by the threat of terrorist attacks by Palestinians: “Israeli authorities remain concerned about the continuing threat of terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens are cautioned that a greater danger may exist around restaurants, businesses, and other places associated with U.S. interests and/or located near U.S. official buildings, such as the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. U.S. citizens are also urged to exercise a high degree of caution and to use common sense when patronizing restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, malls, places of worship, and theaters, especially during peak hours. Large crowds and public gatherings have been targeted by terrorists in the past and should be avoided to the extent practicable.” Moreover, if State Department travel warnings are grounds for eliminating a study-abroad program, shouldn’t the Cal State system suspend all programs in Mexico, where according to the State Department, “the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens”?
The mention of Americans killed or injured in Israel is equally dishonest. Emily Henochowicz lost an eye to an Israeli tear-gas canister, but as the letter admits, she was involved in a violent protest against Israel. Charges that callous Israeli soldiers deliberately targeted her have been refuted by a video that shows her being struck by a ricocheting tear-gas canister. Even worse is the reference to Furkan Dogan, the Turkish-American killed when members of a Turkish hardcore Islamist outfit attacked Israeli commandos during an attempt to run the Israeli blockade of terrorist-run Gaza in an act of provocation. Of course, if an American student anywhere in the world involves himself in a violent protest against the host country, he runs the risk of injury. That’s why guests in another country should stay out of local politics they usually don’t understand. To suggest, as the letter does, that this risk exists only in Israel is dishonest. The fact is, the danger to Americans in Israel does not arise from Israeli security forces, but from the indiscriminate slaughter perpetrated by Palestinian terrorist attacks like the Hebrew University massacre in July 2002, which killed four American students.
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