The events of October 7, with Hamas gunmen torturing and murdering unarmed Israelis, then gleefully showing their work to the world on social media, were shocking. As have been the subsequent rallies on many American campuses in favor of that violence. Students and faculty members rushed to say that Israel is a colonizer state that deserved the attack.
How did we get here?
In today's Martin Center article, A. J. Caschetta dives into the reasons why Hamas is regarded as the good guys and Israel as the bad guys.
He points first and foremost to the rise of departments of Middle East Studies on many campuses. Rather than being sources of dispassionate study, they're devoted to promoting anti-Israel views.
Caschetta writes, "Perhaps no field of study was changed more than Middle East studies. In his masterful examination of the topic, Ivory Towers on Sand (2001), Martin Kramer shows that, by the 1980s, 'Middle East studies came under a take-no-prisoners assault, which rejected the idea of objective standards, disguised the vice of politicization as the virtue of commitment, and replaced proficiency with ideology.' It also put Israel in the crosshairs."
Like so many other "studies," this was meant to tell students what to think, not to teach them how to think. American college students are routinely taught to see the world in black and white, oppressor versus oppressed, and this issue fit in perfectly.
Among Caschetta's examples is Brown University: "In 2020 Brown University endowed America's first-ever chair in Palestinian studies. It named the chair after Palestinian poet and PLO member Mahmoud Darwish and gave the chair to Beshara Doumani, the Joukowsky Family Distinguished Professor of Modern Middle East History who would go on to launch the 'decolonization'-focused New Directions in Palestinian Studies (NDPS) community. One year later, Doumani took a leave of absence to become the president of Birzeit University in Ramallah. I call Brown the Providence Front for the Liberation of Palestine."
Another campus fad that supports the Israel is the oppressor line is "intersectionality." In that silly calculus, Israel is loaded with "privilege" and the Gazans are not and therefore must be favored.
The media also feed the hatred of Israel, and it's simply "cool" to proclaim yourself on the side of the oppressed.
Read the whole thing.