Pro-Israel Politicians and Donors Assault Academic Freedom in America

Widespread student protests on the US campuses against Israel's genocidal war in Gaza are being labeled antisemitic by pro-Israel politicians and donors. They have now joined forces to intimidate the leadership of top American universities. President Liz MaGill of the University of Pennsylvania has already been forced out. Leaders at Harvard and MIT are also under threat.  The Pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Brandeis Center have called on 200 college presidents to investigate pro-Palestinian student groups. Faculty members and instructors at several public and private colleges have either been placed on leave or fired for comments about the conflict, according to Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman. These actions are a direct assault on the academic freedom in America, with long term negative consequences for the world's most admired institutions of higher education. 

Pro-Palestine Protest at UCLA. Source: Daily Bruin

Academic Freedom: 

Academic freedom is about free exchange of ideas on campus by students and faculty. It is considered essential for learning. Limiting this freedom hurts pursuit of excellence which has helped American colleges and universities become the envy of the world. This freedom must be defended by all Americans to maintain the excellence of institutions of higher learning in America. 

US Congress: 

GOP politicians see these pro-Palestine protests on US campuses as a fundraising opportunity. Harvard alumna Rep. Elise M. Stefanik ’06 (R-N.Y.) aggressively questioned presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT to score points with the Israel lobby. “At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?”  asked — to which Gay twice responded that “it depends on the context.” 

GOP politicians like Stefanik are deliberately conflating slogans such as "From the River to the Sea, Free Palestine Free"  with call for genocide of Jews. In fact, this chant is only about ending the long brutal Israeli Occupation of Gaza (along the Mediterranean Sea) and the West Bank (of the Jordan River). 

Jewish Donors:

 Several Jewish donors of major private sector universities have either cancelled their donations or threatened to do so over the Pro-Palestine protests. Investors Bill Ackman and Ross Stevens have been among the most vocal pro-Israel donors at Harvard and Penn. They both called for the ouster of the presidents of these universities over what they call "antisemitism" on campuses. 

The aggressive behavior of Jewish donors is serving to reinforce the antisemitic stereotype of wealthy Jews. As former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put in a Guardian Op Ed: "As a Jew, I cannot help but worry, too, that the actions of these donors will fuel the very antisemitism they claim to oppose – based on the perilous stereotype of wealthy Jewish bankers controlling the world". 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:

Some right-wing politicians and donors have attacked DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) programs as the cause of what they call "antisemitism" on campuses. These programs help bring in faculty and students from under-represented groups to colleges and universities that have traditionally been almost entirely white. They blame DEI because many new students from minority background tend to sympathize with Palestinians who they see as oppressed. Many of them see Israel as a "Western settler-colonialist oppressor par excellence", according to the Wall Street Journal

Israel has long been seen as a settler colonial state . It was established by the displacement of the indigenous population of Palestinians and their replacement by Europeans, similar to  places like America and Australia. This process of Israel's creation was endorsed by top British politicians like Winston Churchill.  

“I do not admit that the dog in the manger has the final right to the manger,” former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the Peel Commission in 1937, “even though he may have lain there for a very long time.” He denied that “a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the Black people of Australia,” by their replacement with “a higher grade race.”

Related Links:

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Pictorial Review of Israel's Young Gaza Victims

American College Campuses Rise Up Against Israel's Genocidal War on Gaza

Israeli Settler Colonialism

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Israeli Scholars Offer Insights into Zionist Psyche

Total, Extended Lockdown in Indian Occupied Kashmir

What is India Hiding From UN Human Rights Team?

Indian JNU Professor on Illegal Indian Occupation of Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland

Riaz Haq Youtube Channel

PakAlumni: Pakistani Alumni Social Network


Riaz Haq said…
Harvard President Resigns After Plagiarism Allegations, Campus Antisemitism Backlash
Claudine Gay faced calls to step down as governing board stood by her

Harvard University President Claudine Gay has resigned after facing mounting criticism over how she responded to antisemitism on campus and, most recently, allegations that she plagiarized the work of other researchers on several occasions.

Gay, a professor of government and of African and African-American studies, became president in July after serving as dean of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences for around five years. She had been under pressure for weeks regarding her response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. Her remarks at a House committee hearing on the matter in early December drew widespread criticism after she gave an equivocal response to a question about whether calls for the genocide of Jewish people violated the campus code of conduct.

She was also accused of plagiarizing other academics in several published papers and her Ph.D. dissertation. The Harvard Corporation, the university’s top governing board, said in December that reviews of her work uncovered some instances of “inadequate citation,” but that the omissions didn’t meet the bar of outright research misconduct.

Gay has requested four corrections on two academic papers and is updating her dissertation in three spots, according to the school, whose board has released statements standing by Gay.
Riaz Haq said…
ZAKARIA: More now of our conversation about the crisis on American college campuses with Bruce Robbins, a professor at Columbia, and Bret Stephens, columnist for "The New York Times

ZAKARIA: In your "London Review of Books" essay, you talked about how one of the things going on at college campuses you believe is that people are coming to realize that there are large reservoirs of strong opposition to what Israel has been doing for the last few decades. Explain -- and that that is being misread in your view as antisemitism. ROBBINS: That is exactly what I think. I think that this is a

conjunctural moment, pardon with the academic professorial talk. It's Black Lives Matter, the COVID pandemic, and the fact that the young people these days have access and, no offense to CNN, to uncensored, no-gatekeeping visuals of the disruption in Gaza via social media. So they have access to information in a way that they have never had access before.

You put all those things together and I think what Israel is doing in Gaza is the symbol of evil for this generation. And the poll numbers suggest that there is a wave of feeling, a crystallization of feeling --

ZAKARIA: And you're saying, just to be clear, as a Jewish-American, you say that this is not antisemitism.

ROBBINS: I'm saying very, very much as a Jew. No, no, not at all. The simplest thing that we have tried, we, the Jewish faculty, there are many, many Jewish students who are involved in this. I mean, we of course feel as Jews that we're not being recognized, you know, because my president is telling me and Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization that I admire very much, that we're being antisemitic.

I'm sorry. This is a way of being Jewish. I'm a secular Jew. You know, I believe in universal principles, no double standards, no Jewish state without equal rights for everybody. So I'm really anti-double standards.

STEPHENS: I'm for a two-state solution which one-state solution would be a devastation for the Jewish people on a scale that hasn't been seen since the last devastation a century ago. And right now, this is an interesting discussion because we're talking about academia, but this has effects in the real world. And if the world gets behind the idea that Israel is this uniquely malevolent state, saying nothing about Syria, Sudan, and China, other abuses, but Israel is uniquely the state that must disappear and becomes the moral cause of this generation of students.

We will be replicating the tragedies that occurred on German universities in the 1920s and 1930s where the takeover by the left got to a takeover by the right. And one of the things that's so disturbing about these protests is there's no allowance for the idea that Israelis have suffered. There's no allowance for the idea that this -- that this clash in between the Israelis and the Palestinians is at the minimum morally complicated.

ZAKARIA: Last word.

ROBBINS: Oh gosh, what a responsibility. I don't think that people think that Israel is unique example of evil in the world. I think what's special about it is it couldn't do what it's doing without the support of the United States. So students in the United States think we have a responsibility. It's not just somebody else. I mean, the United States is not supporting North Korea, it's not supporting Syria.


There are a lot of bad places that are doing bad things that equal or worse, who knows, but they're not being supported by us. So we have a responsibility as Americans to do something about it. What's being done is being done in my name as an American and being done in my name as a Jew. And those things are unbearable to me.
Riaz Haq said…
Jewish Prof Bruce Robbins | At Columbia

When Minouche Shafik, the president of Columbia University, testified before the House of Representatives on 17 April, she didn’t fall into the traps set a few months earlier for the presidents of Penn, MIT and Harvard, two of whom are now gone. They had been asked whether they would permit genocidal talk against the Jews on their campuses – a dark discourse that lurked, according to the questioners, in such terms as ‘from the river to the sea’ and ‘intifada’. All three university presidents last December came up with legalistic answers, invoking context. But Shafik last week did not. She presented herself as a relentless scourge of antisemitism. Her head will not fall – at least not as a result of congressional displeasure.

There is some question, however, about her future at Columbia. First, because of her craven and embarrassing submission to the House Republicans. And second, because on the following day she brought the police in to demolish a student tent encampment protesting against the Israeli slaughter in Gaza. The encampment is on a campus lawn allocated by the university for demonstrations. More than a hundred student demonstrators were arrested. Shafik may have avoided viral memes of awkward moments in Congress, but videos of the NYPD in action against peaceful demonstrators on 18 April, now circulating widely, amply illustrate the violence that Shafik was willing to inflict on Columbia and Barnard students in the name of assuring student safety. It’s the first time the police have been invited onto Columbia’s campus since 1968. Like 1968, 2024 may go down as an inauspicious year for university administrations trying to defend the indefensible.

The House Republicans who pressed the point about chants allegedly ‘calling for the genocide of Jews’ on university campuses had not previously displayed much concern for the wellbeing of American Jews. In 2017, Donald Trump, who will soon again be their presidential nominee, described some of the torch carriers who chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’ in Charlottesville as ‘very fine people’. You would not have to dig very deep to uncover friendly associations with white supremacists among the present committee members. (I would love to be challenged to document this.) Still, you could hardly call them dull. One invoked the Book of Genesis to back up his conviction that Columbia had to support Israel whatever Israel did. Did Shafik want to bring down God’s curse on Columbia? Please answer yes or no. Another raised the genocidal threat contained in the word ‘infantada’, a malapropism she used twice.

The many Columbia faculty members who were less than happy with Shafik’s pragmatic testimony, myself included, were not surprised that she declared herself a zealous and proactive foe of antisemitism on campus. We were not surprised that she failed to distinguish between the real threat of antisemitism and criticism of the industrial-scale killing of Palestinians in Gaza, a criticism that does not target Jews as Jews. And we were not surprised that she didn’t distinguish between real acts of antisemitism, which have been very few, and the anxiety or discomfort of Jewish students forced, perhaps for the first time, to confront the fact that much of the world disapproves of what Israel is up to.

In response to the attacks of 7 October, Shafik founded a Taskforce on Antisemitism. The Taskforce had no definition of antisemitism, conflated it with criticism of the state of Israel, and sometimes seemed interested solely in Jewish feelings of discomfort, even if those feelings seemed to have been brought on only by reactions to the bombing of Gaza. One faculty member suggested it be renamed the Taskforce on Campus Vibes.
Riaz Haq said…
Jewish Prof Bruce Robbins | At Columbia

Meanwhile she was suspending and evicting from student accommodation Muslim and Jewish students who were protesting against the bombing of Gaza. She also suspended the campus chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine and, the icing on the cake, Jewish Voice for Peace. I can’t be the only Jew on campus whose head was spinning all winter at the idea that, like the government of Germany, Shafik felt qualified to instruct me on what was and was not antisemitic. When people objected that the taskforce heads knew very little about antisemitism, the administration explained that it was providing hundreds of thousands of dollars so they could hire the appropriate researchers. No surprises, then, at Shafik’s performance before the House committee.

All the same, faculty members were taken aback, to put it as politely as possible, that she failed to stand up for the basic principles of the university she leads, such as academic freedom, shared governance, transparency and due process. She had already told the university senate on 23 February that she was ‘dismayed’ by the ‘low level of trust at Columbia’ – something of an understatement – but lack of trust in the administration is not hard to understand. Last October, two weeks after the Hamas attack, it changed the university’s policy on demonstrations without consulting the senate, although consultation is a mandatory procedure for any such changes. Henceforth the administration would have ‘sole discretion’ to determine ‘final and not appealable’ sanctions on student groups. There was general outrage on campus. The student governing board, representing more than a hundred student organisations, voted by an overwhelming majority to declare its non-co-operation with the administration on this change. The board was set up in response to the 1968 protests at Columbia. This is the first time that non-co-operation had been invoked in fifty years.

As for academic freedom, Shafik said in her written opening statement that ‘we believe we can confront antisemitism and provide a safe campus environment for our community while simultaneously supporting rigorous academic exploration and freedom.’ But questioned about Professor Mohamed Abdou, the author of Islam and Anarchism, who is untenured, she responded, on camera, that he ‘will never teach at Columbia again.’ The Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik said that he had posted: ‘Yes, I’m with Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.’ (What he actually wrote, as part of a much longer piece, was: ‘I’m with the muqawamah [the resistance] be it Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad but up to a point – given ultimate differences over our ethical political commitments.’)

Stefanik accused Professor Joseph Massad – who has been targeted by petitions calling for his dismissal – of ‘stating that the massacre of Israeli civilians was “awesome”’. Shafik did not respond, as she might have done, by referring to what Professor Massad had actually written (‘No less awesome were the scenes witnessed by millions of jubilant Arabs who spent the day watching the news, of Palestinian fighters from Gaza breaking through Israel’s prison fence or gliding over it by air’; he also wrote of a ‘horrifying human toll on all sides’.) Instead, Shafik said she was ‘appalled by what he’s said’ and that ‘he has been spoken to.’ But even if he had said what they said he said, didn’t he have the right to say it? We don’t fire teachers who approve of dropping the atomic bomb.
Riaz Haq said…
Jewish Prof Bruce Robbins | At Columbia

A vocal pro-Israel faculty member has been accused of harassing students on social media, and there is a move among students to get him banished. But forget about student anxieties for a moment. The Israeli army has been committing atrocities on a massive scale, while the International Court of Justice deliberates the possibility of real genocide in Gaza, as distinct from speculative calls to genocide that House Republicans deduce, falsely, from pro-Palestinian chants by demonstrators. That’s what Israel’s defenders are defending. When a small group of Jewish faculty members was preparing last week to meet with the provost to make our dissatisfactions known, we asked ourselves how we felt about the pro-Israel professor and we said, unanimously, that we defended his right to his opinions, loathsome as we find them. I don’t worry about his being driven out of Columbia. But I worry that our president shamelessly sacrificed the principle of academic freedom that all of us depend on, the Zionists included, to keep the project of free thinking alive.

This is certainly how she is perceived by a large and rapidly growing portion of Columbia faculty. An emergency meeting of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors on 19 April reached its Zoom limit of three hundred people within minutes, leaving many faculty members clamouring to get in. The indignant talk was not about Palestine, but about the administration’s blatant lack of respect for the safety of its students and the principles of higher education.

Student protest on behalf of the Palestinians is very much alive, at least for the moment. When the police cleared out the encampment and dragged students off to jail, others hopped the fence and established a second encampment across the way, this time without tents. It is these students who have the most convincing grounds for anxiety. They too risk arrest and jail. Some have already been suspended from classes and evicted from student accommodation, leaving them homeless on the streets of New York. Those who have merely been suspended risk losing their tuition for the semester. The university administration seems to have decided that an encampment without tents can be left alone. Perhaps Shafik realises she has made a series of grave errors, and that if she makes another one, her administration may not survive the public shame.
Riaz Haq said…
“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.” Samuel P. Huntington


Ah, so you want India to become a superpower – like America?

by Roger Marshall

Read more at:

In the agricultural sector, most US farms would be out of business but for cheap migrant labour from Central America, mainly Mexico -- the same Mexico whose lands were expropriated but whose people are still being shut out at the border.


There are many Indians, politicians and ordinary citizens alike, who would like to see India become a superpower, much along the lines of the United States. Is this in keeping with the ethos of the Indian character? And to what end? To answer these questions, we need to understand what it is in the American character that enabled the US to grow from a 300,000 square-mile territory comprised of 13 original colonies bordering the Atlantic Ocean to a gigantic country covering some 3.5 million square-miles, extending out to the Pacific Ocean.

Read more at:

Though the phrase ‘manifest destiny’ was coined in 1845 by Democrat John O’Sullivan, the ideology behind the phrase was operative even back in the 1620s, when the first European settlers, the Puritans from England fleeing religious persecution, set foot in North America. Manifest destiny refers to the divine right to “tame and cultivate” the new country by displacing the “uncivilised,” non-Christian peoples who did not take full advantage of the land God had granted them..

This ideology served to justify the violent displacement of native peoples and military takeover of their lands. When the US purchased the territory of Louisiana (over 800,000 square-miles) from France in 1803, it essentially bought Native American tribal land which France neither owned nor controlled, if only to prevent Spain, Britain and Russia from colonising the area. This area is what is now known as Middle America, populated almost entirely by the ancestors of white immigrants from northern Europe

That race has been a huge factor in America’s attainment of superpower status can be seen by examining legislation pertaining to immigration and trade over the last 200 years. While unrestricted immigration from Western Europe has always been allowed, it has been less so for Southern and Eastern Europeans but definitely not for Asians, unless they were slaves and indentured labourers. Even though it was cheap Chinese labour that built the American railroads in the 1870s, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 drove most of the Chinese out of America. American labour unions believed that Chinese coolies were responsible for declining wages and lowered standards of living.

Read more at:


Absent a moral or ethical compass, we suppose that any nation singularly focused on enriching itself can become a superpower. To quote John O’Sullivan, “Yes, more, more, more! . . . till our national destiny is fulfilled and. . the whole boundless continent is ours”.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said…
Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Briahna Joy Gray: “I’m not talking about China, but Israel. In a leaked recording, ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt admitted that Israel had a ‘TikTok problem.’ Suddenly, a divided congress agrees on one thing: A social media ban.”


“We really have a TikTok problem, a Gen Z problem,” Anti-Defamation League (ADL) director Jonathan Greenblatt said in a recording. He notes that Israel is facing a “major generational problem” in the United States and that “the numbers of young people who think that Hamas’, you know, massacre was justified is shockingly and terrifyingly high.”

Riaz Haq said…
Exterminate All the Brutes - The Chris Hedges Report

When those who are occupied refuse to submit, when they continue to resist, we drop all pretense of our “civilizing” mission and unleash, as in Gaza, an orgy of slaughter and destruction. We become drunk on violence. This violence makes us insane. We kill with reckless ferocity. We become the beasts we accuse the oppressed of being. We expose the lie of our vaunted moral superiority. We expose the fundamental truth about Western civilization — we are the most ruthless and efficient killers on the planet. This alone is why we dominate the “wretched of the earth.” It has nothing to do with democracy or freedom or liberty. These are rights we never intend to grant to the oppressed.

“Honor, justice, compassion and freedom are ideas that have no converts,” Joseph Conrad, who wrote “Heart of Darkness,” reminds us. “There are only people, without knowing, understanding or feelings, who intoxicate themselves with words, repeat words, shout them out, imagining they believe them without believing in anything else but profit, personal advantage and their own satisfaction.”

Genocide lies at the core of Western imperialism. It is not unique to Israel. It is not unique to the Nazis. It is the building block of Western domination. The humanitarian interventionists who insist we should bomb and occupy other nations because we embody goodness — although they promote military intervention only when it is perceived to be in our national interest — are useful idiots of the war machine and global imperialists. They live in an Alice-in-Wonderland fairytale where the rivers of blood we spawn make the world a happier and better place. They are the smiley faces of genocide. You can watch them on your screens. You can listen to them spout their pseudo-morality in the White House and in Congress. They are always
Riaz Haq said…
Glenn Greenwald: Antisemitism, Attacks on Free Speech, and Everything You Need to Know about Brazil
The Tucker Carlson Show

.... Like, almost none, because hearing chants that are pro palestinian or anti israeli make them feel vulnerable. Like the conservatives in Congress, like Elise Stefanik and Virginia, all Mike Johnson, they had, like, a horde of jewish students from Harvard coming and saying, I don't feel safe at my school. The very things that conservatives have been mocking so viciously, when that came from black students or trans students or immigrants or Muslims or whatever, the hypocrisy, the stench of it is suffocating and nauseating.

From my perspective as an american, I think you can have any opinion you want on Israel. I'm not actually that interested. I personally like Israel. Whatever the red line for me is, this is my country. My birthright is free speech. God gave me that right. You cannot take it away. And if you're telling me what I'm allowed to say in my country, you're my enemy. It's just kind of that simple. You can't tell me what to say or think, period. Because I'm an american.

Exactly. And. But if there were a consistent standard, like, let's say there were consistent, period.

Like, let's just walk back from there.

Right. But if there were some consistent standard, like, western Europeans have hate speech laws, whatever that kind of. They don't really apply them consistently. But at least there's, like, a dogma. Like, hate speech is not part of free speech in the United States. We don't have a hate speech exception to the first. There is no such thing. So if you suddenly now start, you know, and it's not just in the discourse, they're passing laws. Oh, I mean, where, like, Greg Abbott issued an executive order that said there will be no more anti semitism, meaning anti semitism speech, antisemitic speech, or ideas allowed in the state of Texas. And you have, I don't know if you saw the video this week, but there was a video emerging where a school administrator went to a group of palestinian protesters and said, I just want you to know, if you chant from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free or globalized, the intifada, you will be turned over to law enforcement. We will call the police on you and you will be arrested and held legally accountable. That is now a crime. In Texas. They passed a law.

Is that actually true?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I mean, the whole point of Greg Abbott's executive order was to say no anti semitic speech is permissible in Texas any longer. You're allowed to have anti black racist speech. You're allowed to have anti muslim speech. You're allowed to have white, anti gay speech. You can have anti white speech. You just can't be anti semitic to the point where these students are now being told that if they do these political chants, no violence, no obstruction of buildings, nothing illegal, the chants themselves, the ideas themselves will be decreed illegal. Now, as you say, like, you don't have to hate Israel or whatever, but we talk all the time like you have at every pro Israel rally in the United States. You will hear people saying, wipe out all the Arabs. Turn Gaza into a parking lot. Gaza belongs to Israel. We constantly talk about bombing this country, bombing that country. We're always advocating violence against this group, against this country. You know, this country is illegitimate. There's only one country that has the protection of these laws, which is the country of Israel.

Riaz Haq said…
NEWS: Sanders Responds to Netanyahu’s Claim that Criticism of the Israeli Government’s Policies is Antisemitic » Senator Bernie Sanders

No, Mr. Netanyahu. It is not antisemitic or pro-Hamas to point out that in a little over six months your extremist government has killed 34,000 Palestinians and wounded more than 77,000 – seventy percent of whom are women and children.

It is not antisemitic to point out that your bombing has completely destroyed more than 221,000 housing units in Gaza, leaving more than one million people homeless – almost half the population.

It is not antisemitic to note that your government has obliterated Gaza’s civilian infrastructure – electricity, water, and sewage.

It is not antisemitic to realize that your government has annihilated Gaza’s health care system, knocking 26 hospitals out of service and killing more than 400 health care workers.

It is not antisemitic to condemn your government’s destruction of all of Gaza’s 12 universities and 56 of its schools, with hundreds more damaged, leaving 625,000 students with no education.

It is not antisemitic to agree with virtually every humanitarian organization in saying that your government, in violation of American law, has unreasonably blocked humanitarian aid coming into Gaza, creating the conditions in which hundreds of thousands of children face malnutrition and famine.

Mr. Netanyahu. Antisemitism is a vile and disgusting form of bigotry that has done unspeakable harm to many millions of people. But, please, do not insult the intelligence of the American people by attempting to distract us from the immoral and illegal war policies of your extremist and racist government. Do not use antisemitism to deflect attention from the criminal indictment you are facing in the Israeli courts. It is not antisemitic to hold you accountable for your actions.

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