March 10, 2005
Campus Fight Needs Practical Action
Like it or not, college campuses have become the American front in the war against Israel. The myriad academic publications espousing the destruction of Israel, as well as the hatred unleashed by the Palestinian Solidarity Movement's (PSM) recent conclave at Duke University, make this quite plain.
Unfortunately, the American Jewish community is not responding with anything like the kind of action that is needed to combat this successful campaign to indoctrinate the next generation of American leaders into despising Israel. A number of well-intentioned efforts have produced virtually no tangible results.
Why? In my opinion, the efforts to date have been both overly symbolic and misdirected. It is time for us to fight a results-oriented, correctly targeted war.
Crying "anti-Semite" will not fix this. Intelligent critiques of pro-Palestinians published on Web sites are nice but essentially useless when it comes to stemming this tidal wave of hate. A million signatures on a Web site won't budge anyone -- I think we know this.
We need to reach out directly to the students who need to hear the message. To be effective, though, we must base our actions on a correct assessment of the situation.
Why are college campuses ready to give a welcome reception to pro-Palestinian forces, while other organs of mainstream America have not been so swayed? How is it that American kids can condemn Israel for erecting security fences and checkpoints, while they rush to support groups that shoot toddlers at point-blank range?
This perversity can be informative to our assessment of the problem and its most appropriate solutions. We are witnessing the debilitating effects of blind commitment to a great hatred.
However, it is not the kind of hatred we might first suspect. They do not hate Israel. They hate America.
American colleges are breeding grounds for the anti-Americanism of the left. Any individual, entity or country that is associated with the United States is inherently bad. For the left, anyone that opposes the United States or its allies is elevated to sainthood.
For instance, the trendy left-wing academic Web site, Counterpunch, which blends a call for the eradication of Israel with a host of familiar leftist rants, recently stated, "A permanent state of simmering war [in Israel] is very costly, and is only tenable thanks to America's largesse and diplomatic cover."
Israel, viewed as a U.S. client, is a proxy for anti-American hatred. Israel is denounced as an "apartheid state." Palestine becomes Chile, Nicaragua or East Timor, because all victims of Uncle Sam are equally deserving of support, no?
The South Africa analogy should tell us a lot about the PSM base of intellectual support. It goes like this: As America, aided and abetted by "the corporations," enabled the violence of the murderous white police of the apartheid state, so, too, does America arm the occupiers of the poor, downtrodden "indigenous people" of Palestine.
Pro-Israeli Jewish students and their sympathizers are boxed into the untenable position of defending "racists." "Racist" is a deadly weapon in campus intellectual debate. A racist has no friends in civil society.
Let's not fight against those who threaten our children with overly intellectual efforts. We need to take practical action, now. I'm talking about focused, high-profile, direct-mail, e-mail, events and more.
But what message will work with this fickle bunch? Defending Israel just plays into their strategy, because it validates their right to denounce Israel, to be the inquisitors who demand explanations from Israel.
We can break the neck of the "Zionism is racism" argument by attacking from the left. Our message must put the PSM racists on the defensive by upholding the values of the left that they hold so precious.
In my mind, it sounds something like, "If you care about inhumanity and racism, you will refuse to be indoctrinated by the PSM: Don't be used."
The Palestinian leadership's own words of hate can show that they are the real racists. We need to educate students that the Palestinians who kill are motivated by little more than pure racial hatred against Jews. Let's see how well the left can handle defending real racists.
Our target must be the faculty who form the PSM's thought leadership. We must decapitate the PSM's complicitous academic leaders. Let's show how these teachers have been used, knowingly or not, to shill for cold-blooded racist murderers.
People a lot smarter than me will have to hone the actual message and plan of action, but when we're ready, let's have ourselves a showdown. Wherever the PSM plans its next conference, whether it is Columbia, UCLA or Princeton, we need to be there -- in force.
This is an ugly business. We should not be afraid to get ugly ourselves. If we cannot fight them, and fight to win, then a generation of American leaders will mature with the firm mindset that Israel is an illegitimate, "racist Zionist project."
We cannot let this happen. Let's not pretend this is going to go away. Duke should be considered the final warning against inaction. We should not rest until this loathsome group is destroyed. Are you ready to get involved?
Hugh Taylor, the founder of the International Campus Action Network (ICAN) is a software marketing executive in Los Angeles. Taylor is the author of the book, "The Hollywood Job Hunter's Survival Guide" and the upcoming "Making Sense of Service-Oriented Architecture." Taylor received his bachelor's and MBA from Harvard University. For more information on ICAN, visit www.icanhome.org or e-mail email@example.com.