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College Students Are Appropriating Victimhood Again

Back in 2015 a scandal rocked the campus at my alma mater, The University of Missouri: a swastika was found scrawled in human feces on the bathroom wall of a residence hall. The discovery of the “poop swastika” sparked outrage, but the ensuing protests, strikes, and resignations were not in response to the antisemitic nature of the nazi excrement graffiti. What started out as righteous anger over antisemitism quickly morphed into a discussion of racism against black students.

 

A graduate student went on an unverified hunger strike to protest what he described as systemic racism. Protests were held across campus. The university football team and coach went on strike. A large group of predominantly black students issued a list of demands to combat what they believed to be “institutional racism.” A campout on the campus quadrangle popped up. Members of the press tried to photograph and interview protestors but were told by faculty members that they were not allowed in this 50’x50’ imaginary box because it was a “black space.”


The University President eventually resigned, as did the Chancellor and not long after I received an email from the Mizzou Alumnae Association notifying me that a separate, black-only alumnae network was being formed.

 

During all of this commotion, the Jewish students from the beginning of this story were completely forgotten. What were their concerns with how antisemitism was addressed on campus? Did they have an ideas or input on how to combat the type of hatred they faced?


We don’t know because campus activists had used an antisemitic act as a springboard to have their list of grievances brought forward. Even if all cited instances of racism against black students on Mizzou’s campus turned out to be true, the protests and strikes could have started at any time—but they didn’t. Campus activists needed a national news story to push themselves to the forefront. Now with a second Holocaust happening in Israel, and the breakout of pro-Hamas/pro-Palestine protests occurring here, we are seeing the same thing happen: College activist groups across the country are appropriating the victimhood of Jews and making it all about them.

 

In the wake of Israel’s defensive strikes on Hamas in Gaza, the Stanford University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine released a list of demands to university administration officials. Some of the demands were not so surprising (demanding that the university participate in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction of Israeli entities). Some were downright ridiculous (demanding that the university pay round trip airfare for Palestinian students to go to Gaza; demanding that the university set up community alerts for “hate speech” utterances towards Palestinian students). Because you see, the attack on Israel has been stressful for the Palestinian students on campus and they need the university to intervene on their behalf. It’s actually about them, not the Jewish students who may have lost friends and family to Hamas.

 

After the University of California president rightly called the Hamas attack on Israel an “act of terrorism,” the Ethnic Studies Faculty Council at UC sent a letter to their Board of Regents. They condemned the president’s use of the words “terrorism” and “unprovoked.” Why? Because the Ethnic Studies Council says these words have “contributed to a climate that has made Palestinian students and community members unsafe.” Because you see, calling a terrorist a terrorist has made campus life for Palestinian students unsafe. It’s actually about them, not Jewish students facing daily acts of intimidation.

 

College students that have been identified tearing down the posters of hostages being held by Hamas or calling for the outright destruction of Israel and all Jews are now upset that their future job prospects have dried up or been rescinded. The NYU Law School’s Student Bar Association (former) president was filmed defacing the missing posters of kidnapped Israeli kids and on the same day went on NBC News and refused to condemn Hamas when pressed by the interviewer.


Because you see, she is actually the victim here. It’s actually about her, not kidnapped Jews being held hostage.

 


Half of the country has embraced the pro-Hamas/pro-Palestine demonstrations on college campuses because half of the country truly believes that Palestinians are the real victims in all of this. Not the Jewish babies who were beheaded. Not the Jewish families that were bound together with wire and burned to death. Not the Jewish elderly people gunned down at a bus stop. Not the concert goers mowed down with assault rifles.


Not the hostages still being held by terrorists. As long as antisemitism and Jewish victimhood is allowed to fester on college campuses—either by willful ignorance or through the downplaying and appropriation by activist groups—our society will continue to propagate and embrace the very beliefs that drive Hamas to commit such atrocities.

 

3 Comments


Guest
Nov 03, 2023

Since we're talking about Jewish intimidation, I'd like to point out that when Jews were protesting outside the St. King Louis IX statue in St. Louis (given his notorious persecution of Jews in Medieval France), the author described them as "woke idiots" on Twitter.


As a Jewish alumni of the University of Missouri, and having seen how Jewish protests have been responded to by the left and right, all I can say is that nobody really cares what we think. Someone else, Christian, Muslim etc is going to shout us down and presume to tell us how we should feel and what we should think.


And what I think is that all human life is precious, that all peoples have…

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Guest
Nov 03, 2023

The Missouri stuff got so hysterical at one point that students were claiming the KKK was running security on campus with the school’s blessing

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Good read. It's a sad state of affairs that a missive like this is relevant . . . 😟

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