The Israel Double StandardRoundup: Historians' Take
tags: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
An obscure academic organization called the American Studies Association not long ago voted to endorse a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli universities. The self-appointed moralists were purportedly outraged over the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians.
Given academia’s past obsessions with the Jewish state, the targeting of Israel is not new. Yet why do the professors focus on Israel and not Saudi Arabia, which denies women the right to drive and only recently granted them the right to vote? Why not Russia, which has been accused of suppressing free speech, or Nigeria, which has passed retrograde anti-homosexual legislation?
The hip poet Amiri Baraka (a.k.a. Everett LeRoi Jones) recently died. He was once poet laureate of New Jersey, held prestigious university posts, and was canonized with awards — despite being a hateful anti-Semite.
After 9/11, Baraka wrote a poem that suggested Israel knew about the plan to attack the World Trade Center. One of his poems from the ’60s included this unabashedly anti-Semitic passage: “Smile, jew. Dance, jew. Tell me you love me, jew. . . . I got the extermination blues, jewboys. I got the hitler syndrome figured.” Yet that did not preclude the New York Times and NPR from praising him after his death....
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