This was published by Richard L. Cravatts, in the American Thinker
No sooner had a three-day conference on contemporary anti-Semitism at Yale University ended than voices of disapproval arose over a perceived bias and even latent racism of the event. Sponsored by the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA) and bringing together some 110 scholars to present papers relevant to the theme of “Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity,” the conference had as its seemingly benign and productive objective a furtherance of the initiative’s primary role of identifying and seeking to explain current manifestations of the world’s oldest hatred.
The need for such a conference, though distressing, seems to be justified based on both anecdotal and statistic studies, including a 2009 report by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, which noted a doubling of anti-Semitic incidents from the prior year: 1,129 in 2009 compared to 559 in 2008. Equally troubling were the 2008 findings of the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security Franco Frattini, which revealed that of the documented anti-Semitic incidents on the European continent, Muslims were responsible for fully half, a statistic made more alarming by the fact that European Muslims, based on being only 3%-4% of the population, committed 24 to 32.3 times the number of anti-Semitic incidents as European non-Muslims.
None of this seemed to matter to critics of the Yale conference, who were incensed that many of the scholars who participated were “right-wing extremists” articulating “odious views” about the perpetrators of anti-Semitism, according to Maen Rashid Areikat, the U.S. representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization. “As Palestinians, we strongly support principles of academic freedom and free speech,” Mr. Areikat wrote, without a hint of irony, in an indignant open letter to Yale’s president, Richard Levin. “[H]owever[,] racist propaganda masquerading as scholarship does not fall into this category.”
Mr. Areikat’s assertion that academic freedom and free speech are cardinal principles in Palestinian culture is a novel, if not delusional, way of assessing what passes for scholarly, hate-free inquiry in the territories, particularly when it comes to discussing Jews and Israel. Perhaps he forgot the efforts of students at Al-Najah University, for example, who fondly remembered the outbreak of the Second Intifada by constructing a macabre attraction called “The Sbarro Cafe Exhibition,” named for the location of a 2001 suicide bombing of a Jerusalem pizza parlor, where fifteen Jews were murdered and dozens more wounded. Created not as a memorial but as an inspiration for further terror-laden savagery, the diorama included scattered pizza slices amid Israeli body parts, splattered blood, and calls to martyrdom with Koran and Kalashnikovs close by.