My first experience with Israel Apartheid week came back in 2000 at UCLA, when I was greeted on campus with pamphlets openly fundraising for Hamas and Hezbollah.
It was a spectacle I'd see repeated year after year. Just before September 11, the Muslim student newspaper Al-Talib ran a story joking about changing the name of the magazine to Al-Taliban and making Osama Bin Laden editor-in chief.
Every year, I'd ask the editorial team at the UCLA Daily Bruin to run a column on the association between the Muslim Student Association and terror groups; each year, they'd turn me down. Finally, after they decided to run a piece I'd written on the subject, they submitted it to the MSA directly for vetting. The piece never ran.
That was over ten years ago. But nothing has changed.
The University of California system is dominated by Israel Apartheid Week at least once per year per campus; in a not-coincidental correlation, anti-Semitic incidents on campuses seem to be rising.
On March 8, UC president Mark Yudof wrote an open letter decrying the hate. "Attempting to shout down speakers is not protected speech," he wrote. "It is an action meant to deny others the right to free speech … What is not acceptable are hate-driven physical and … verbal attacks on any group or individual that are meant to silence or intimidate those who would express differing opinions."
This week, Congressional candidate Mark Reed called on Representatives Brad Sherman and Howard Berman to investigate anti-Semitism at University of California and California State University campuses. As Tammi Rossman Benjamin, Hebrew lecturer at UC Santa Cruz recently wrote in a complaint, "The harassing and intimidating environment for Jewish students has been worsened by the fact that NO other racial or national origin group on campus has been subjected by faculty or administrators to such hostile and demonizing criticism."
Columnist Marsha Sutton of the Del Mar Times recalled one incident from June 2011, in which the UCSD libraries were shut down due to budget cuts. Palestinian activists immediately took over the buildings and hung Palestinian flags on them. When a Jewish student hung up an Israel flag, however, it was quickly torn down. "These actions," writes Sutton, "would never be tolerated at a county or city library, so why are they permitted at a state-supported university library?"
The answer is obvious: anti-Israel political correctness dominates campus.
Political correctness with regard to anti-Israel sentiment is far more than simple nonpartisanship with regard to the Middle East issue. It's active hatred for Israel. That's because Israel is seen, in the leftist academic point of view, as a colonialist oppressor, an Edward Said villain on the world stage. It's fine to put out anti-Semitic canards, so long as they're anti-First World Oppressor.
Unbelievably, campus political correctness has gotten so bad that Brandeis University, a historically Jewish-sponsored college, is now embracing Israel Apartheid Week. In March, Brandeis allowed the campus' radical Students for Justice In Palestine chapter to host the week, including speaker Ali Abunimah, who delivered a lecture calling for a "one-state solution" that would mean the destruction of the Jewish state of Israel.
It is worth noting that Abuminah is a close ally of President Obama's. Abuminah said that during the 1990s and 2000s, Obama attended pro-Palestinian events, and that Abuminah actually introduced Obama at one event. In 2004, Obama said, "Hey, I'm sorry I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race. I'm hoping when things calm down I can be more up front."
When it comes to America's campuses, Abuminahs dominate, with the help of the tenured radicals and politically correct Israel-haters. Israel Apartheid Week is a symptom of a deeper ill that must be corrected.