October 20, 2004
Anti-Semitism at Columbia: the movie
Something's rotten in Morningside Heights, and Columbia's leaders are now getting a eyeful through a privately-distributed documentary film. Read about it here.
Posted by David on October 20, 2004 10:06 PM
The Columbia students do not charge that they are facing anti-Semitism on campus. They attach an importance to what they see as a distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments.
Read the whole article, and decide for yourself.
Is the passage above consistent with other passages in the same article? Example:
"It is shocking to see blatant use of racial stereotypes by professors and intimidation tactics by professors in order to push a distinct ideological line on the curriculum," Mr. Beery, who was interviewed for the film, said.
It certainly sounds bad but I'll reiterate that anti-Israeli attitudes (no matter how unjust etc.) are not necessarily the same thing as anti-semitism. Given what a powder keg of an issue it is that we are talking about it seems wiser not to oversimplify.
So what does the documentary depict? I thought at first it shows academics at Columbia in the act of harrassing Jewish students, then "Columbia's leaders" must act - assuming the incidents concerned have been depicted in their entirety.
Indeed, if any teachers are shown to be disrespecting students for any reason, then something is going wrong. That something I presume could include persistent destructive behaviour by particular students.
But it seems from the article that the documentary consists of interviews, They are no more than allegations, which are yet to be answered. The allegations are strengthened because the students have put their faces and names to their testimony. It is a powerful way of going public.
To be a bit pedantic, a collection of interviews from one side is not really a documentary, because it has no quality of proof.
There is also an intriguing half line in there - "You would be surprised," Mr. Beery said, "to find the number of students who were willing to stand up and be counted as members of the student body who oppose the intimidation of students in the classroom, especially on topics related to the Middle East." which tends to suggest it is being dealt with at a classroom level.