Northeastern University — Profs Gone Wild

One must understand the special case of Jewish professors to understand why Jews are losing the campus battle.

Jewish professors in the humanities love learning and are proud to abide by the highest principles of pedagogy. They typically don’t teach one side, even -- or especially -- if it’s their own side. (Most would deny they have a side.) Most bend over backward to be fair, even when on their own campuses they see radical and left-wing professors being unfair.

Jewish students tell us that when they approach Jewish professors and explain how anti-Israel professors intimidate or even humiliate them, they are usually told to ignore it, do their best in class, and get good grades. One noble and honest Hillel rabbi (Charles Sheer) at Columbia University admitted on film (Columbia Unbecoming) that he was mistaken for having done just that for years.

If they won’t be “partisan” in their own classes, why don’t they at least call to account the anti-Israel professors who abuse the special power consigned to them as teachers of the young?

The reason is because there would be nasty consequences. Criticizing other professors would bring an almost certain constant politicized combat they would hate to import into the peaceful scholarly realm they love. They would be charged with abandoning the “global view” and with being a “narrow” Jewish partisan. And, of course, if they didn’t yet have tenure, they’d never get it in the fields of Middle East studies, foreign policy, or international studies -- all controlled by people hostile to Israel. In short, if they told the public what they know is happening on their campus, daily life would be made unpleasant and career opportunities would wither.

So at Northeastern, what we are getting from some Jewish professors is Mr. Director’s line: “nothing to see here, move along.”

Of course, we, the researchers and filmmakers, also have a dilemma. We do not want to hurt Northeastern, which is generally a good school and, apart from these horrible instances, extraordinarily welcoming to Jewish students. Nor do we want to have public fights with Jewish administrators and professors who are employed by the university and naturally feel loyal to it.

But someone has to break the silence on American campuses about the campaign to defame the Jewish state and its supporters. It looks like it may have to be outsiders.

Honesty and integrity tend to be the first casualties when institutions are criticized.  It is particularly sad to see academics -- who claim to spend their career seeking the truth -- abandon them so quickly to mount silly defenses and launch ad hominem attacks on those who merely point out what all the insiders know to be true but keep under wraps.