Northeastern University — Profs Gone Wild

Many people suspect that American college students get a left-wing and sometimes radical slant from their professors, especially when it comes to matters concerning the Middle East. But few ever get a chance to peek into the lecture halls to see for themselves what today’s higher education provides. It can be shocking.

On April 2, Americans for Peace and Tolerance/On Campus (APT/OC) released a 16 minute video showing radical professors and guest lecturers at Northeastern University in Boston teaching students that Israel is a Western colonialist project and that the Jews “use” the Holocaust to distract from their needless oppression of the Palestinians, which is in fact comparable to the Holocaust itself. They are also taught that Jews do not qualify as “a people” and so therefore do not qualify to have their own state. These things were taught at Northeastern in programs designed to teach students about the genocide of Europe’s Jews.

Readers can view the film for themselves here.

Tasked with responding to the film, Northeastern’s provost, Steven Director, chose not to apologize to Holocaust survivors or the Jewish community, but instead to charge us -- the filmmakers -- with “cherry picking” and to counter with a list of speakers who had positive messages about Jews.  But of course we chose the egregious cases -- that was the entire point. Should the Jews be offended only if all of the speakers and professors were this horrible? And do lists of good presentations erase the bigotry?

A university administrator can only speak to Jews this way. He would not dare try that if it were found that a Black History Month observance featured speakers (even one) who postulated that blacks use their past suffering to take advantage of white people today.  He would never dare suggest to blacks that a sympathetic speaker balances out the bigots. Imagine offering to blacks an Eric Holder to balance David Duke and then acting as though it were a wash.

We all know what would happen if radical professors offended any other minority group on campus: You could count on one hand the seconds it would take the provost to assume the proper level of self-abasement. As night follows day, the university would direct all, top administrators included, into campus sensitivity programs.

But Mr. Director doesn’t have to worry this way about offending the Jews, because many Jewish professors and administrators at his university will give him cover and because Boston Jewish community leaders would rather sue for peace than make a fuss.

Anti-Israelism abounds on campuses across the nation. Yet we do not hear much about this from Jewish professors who are the best witnesses -- either because they are too intimidated or too beholden to their employer, or out of some sense of loyalty to an idealized scholarship that is above politics. They simply will not speak honestly in public about what they know happens on their campuses. And this is the problem behind the problem.

Jewish professors we’ve talked to at Northeastern knew about the abuses (and some complained internally), but they would not -- and to date will not -- go public. And now some are trying to keep Jewish students from speaking out.