The PJ Tatler

Walter Reich, Former Head of U.S. Holocaust Museum, Asks if Anti-Semitism Can Be Studied 'Honestly'

 

In a powerful and important essay in The Jerusalem Post, former director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Walter Reich, M.D., discusses whether, following Yale’s abrupt closing of its center to study anti-Semitism, any such center can exist in this country and honestly study this subject:

The reasons for that [Yale]  shut-down, and the furor surrounding it, suggest that it may not be possible to have a university program on that subject that’s either honest or responsible…

The need for such an institute was immense, and has grown more immense still. Anti-Semitism, which has fueled countless spasms of murderous violence during its two millennia of existence, finally fueled the Holocaust – a convulsion so massive that anti-Semitism was, for 50 years, driven underground. Though it was common and even fashionable in Europe and elsewhere until then, those who believed in it afterward were embarrassed to admit it in the wake of the evil it had clearly spawned. No longer. During the past decade, anti-Semitism is again in style. It’s once again expressed in polite society. This revived anti-Semitism has been melded with anti-Zionism. Not all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites, but all anti-Semites are anti-Zionists.

Dr. Reich is a psychiatrist and the the Yitzhak Rabin memorial professor of international affairs, ethics and human behavior at George Washington University, and a member of the international academic board of advisers of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of anti-Semitism. He is also a lecturer in psychiatry at Yale and a former director of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.  He writes:

Given the widespread acceptability of anti-Zionism, some anti-Semites have insisted that they’re “only” anti-Zionists, and that Israel and the Jews have become the new Nazis, perpetrating a Holocaust of their own. In the Arab/Muslim world, calls are heard not only for the annihilation of Israel, but also for the extermination of Jews everywhere.

Which is why the institute Yale shut down was so needed…

The Institute’s undoing, it turns out, was that it organized a conference last August that spawned a whirlwind of politically and ideologically sensitive criticism. Because so much of that conference focused on the main source of contemporary anti-Semitism – the Arab/Muslim world – it was called “Islamophobic.”

The PLO’s representative to the US accused the conference of demonizing Arabs. The Internet exploded with excoriations of both the institute and Yale. Yale faculty, as well as scholars elsewhere, turned against it.

The conference, as well as the institute, were condemned as too “activist” for a university…

And it seems likely that administrators at other universities, learning from Yale’s painful experience, will vow, if they’re asked to start such an institute: “Never again!”

I highly recommend reading the entire essay.  It is a major contribution to understanding the mindset at elite American and European universities.  You may believe you know how dire the situation is, but this brilliant article will further open your eyes.  To read it in its entirety, click here: The Jerusalem Post