Virtue Signaling on Display

 

When I saw the latest Harvard Crimson editorial condemning Israel by joining Boycott-Divest-Sanction, I couldn’t decide if I was mainly disgusted or dismayed. I think I’d have to say I experienced both of these emotions in turn. The action by the Harvard Crimson editorial staff is one more example of a university trying to show that it has become enlightened, while they are only demonstrating their virtue signaling. It’s clear that they have caved into the pressures from a campus organization.

I was fascinated to discover that 20 years ago, the student newspaper had actually rejected the BDS movement:

But any comparison between today’s Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa is so fundamentally flawed as to be offensive. The Israeli legal code does not discriminate against Arab Israelis the way that the Apartheid laws discriminated against black South Africans. In Israel, the law provides for the equal treatment of all of its citizens, both Jewish and Arab. In South Africa, however, blacks were the victims of laws that controlled their day-to-day lives, dictating where they could live, work and travel. And in South Africa, the government slaughtered blacks when they protested the government’s policies; Israel has done nothing even approaching that level of repression—to either Israeli Arabs or to Palestinians in the West Bank.

So what has changed substantially in Israel since 2002?

Nothing.

One person who condemned the Crimson’s stand was Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO StandWithUs, an education organization that fights anti-Semitism and supports Israel:

‘The Crimson did no justice to Israelis or Palestinians, and undermined its own credibility as a newspaper more than anything. By omitting all context regarding terrorism against Israel, from knife attacks to launching thousands of rockets, and Palestinian leaders rejecting every major peace proposal since 1937, the editorial board displayed ignorance at best and journalistic malpractice at worst. Its lack of concern for Israeli lives and promotion of a campaign to end Israel’s existence will certainly do harm to many Jewish students on campus,’ Rothstein said.

Then again, we could argue that their position on BDS is no worse than any other major newspaper. Surprisingly, the Biden Administration rejects the BDS movement. It must have been an oversight on their part.

But the atmosphere has changed at Harvard. The students there who support the Palestinians and criticize Israel have become more vocal and aggressive in their activities. Even the Crimson’s editors admitted that they felt pressured into revisiting their original assessment:

When oppression strikes anywhere in the world, resistance movements reverberate globally. The desire for rightful justice spreads, like wildfire, moving us to act, to speak, to write, and right our past wrongs.

Over the past year, the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity has strived to do just that. Amid escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine, PSC has hosted informational programming, organized weekly demonstrations of support through ‘Keffiyeh Thursdays,’ and even installed a colorful, multi-panel ‘Wall of Resistance” in favor of Palestinian freedom and sovereignty.

In at least one regard, PSC’s spirited activism has proven successful: It has forced our campus — and our editorial board — to once again wrestle with what both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International uman Righhave called Israel’s ‘crimes against humanity’ in the region.

So the Crimson editors finally gave in to the continual attacks conducted by the Palestinian supporters, which they probably believe will make their lives much easier. Still, Natalie Kahn called out the Crimson Editorial staff at their selective use of the “facts” of the controversy:

Perhaps the Editorial Board would agree, since its piece fails to condemn Palestinian terrorism or the charter of Hamas, the governing regime elected to power in Gaza in 2006 — that explicitly calls for the annihilation of the Jewish people. On top of that, a 2019 New York Times article reported that the BDS National Committee lists among its members the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, which in turn includes both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

How many members of the Editorial Board can tell me the story of Israel’s history — numerous peace treaties the Palestinians have rejected, human shields used by Hamas–to gaslight Israel, and thousands of Israeli civilians murdered by terrorists? What about the millions of dollars used by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for the, rewarding terrorists for crimes against Israelis?

Those Jewish students at Harvard, whether on the Crimson editorial staff or not, may one day realize how they have betrayed journalistic standards, their Jewish heritage, and the truth, and reverse course once again.

I wonder how the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity organization will respond then?

[photo by Julian J. Giordano]

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 31 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    There are times I wish Harvard would simply burn to the ground . . .

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow has declined to comment on the Harvard Crimson’s recent editorial endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement but has voiced his opposition to general boycotts of Israel. For more, go here :

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    There are times I wish Harvard would simply burn to the ground . . .

    I am especially enraged by the actions of the Crimson, because so many other schools (unfortunately) use Harvard as a role model. Sad, isn’t it?

    • #3
  4. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    I wonder if Harvard offers a degree in virtue signaling?  Most of the student body appears to be very adept at it.

    • #4
  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    I wonder if Harvard offers a degree in virtue signaling? Most of the student body appears to be very adept at it.

    Everyone should be adept at it, Harvard degree or no. Not everyone should be obnoxious at it, though. 

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Sadly, miseducation seems to be the norm. It has been in process long enough that if we want to attack the head of the snake we have to exhume corpses and abuse them. That is the shortest and most cathartic act, but it will not keep our society from having to do the tedious work of undoing miseducation one by one, lest our society pass into history like so many before that we marvel at the mystery of their undoing.

    • #6
  7. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Stad (View Comment):

    There are times I wish Harvard would simply burn to the ground . . .

    Agreed.

    Now, what’s this about the Crimson? :P

    • #7
  8. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/12/israel-discriminatory-land-policies-hem-palestinians

    https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/world/2018/7/31/17623978/israel-jewish-nation-state-law-bill-explained-apartheid-netanyahu-democracy

    http://Www.adalah.org 

    • #8
  9. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Some people protest against Israel because they are against a majority Jewish nation.  Some people protest against Israel because they don’t like “the west,” the free enterprise, the free speech, the freedom of religion, etc.

    Then there are some people who think that Israel should just remain passive in the face of constant attacks against it.

    • #9
  10. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    I wonder if Harvard offers a degree in virtue signaling? Most of the student body appears to be very adept at it.

    Virtue signaling is an intramural “co-ed” team sport.  Many go pro after graduation.  The best play on government, education, business, and non-profit teams.

    • #10
  11. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    CACrabtree (View Comment):

    I wonder if Harvard offers a degree in virtue signaling? Most of the student body appears to be very adept at it.

    Virtue signaling is an intramural “co-ed” team sport. Many go pro after graduation. The best play on government, education, business, and non-profit teams.

    Excellent analysis…

    • #11
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan Quinn:

    I was fascinated to discover that 20 years ago, the student newspaper had actually rejected the BDS movement:

    But any comparison between today’s Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa is so fundamentally flawed as to be offensive. The Israeli legal code does not discriminate against Arab Israelis the way that the Apartheid laws discriminated against black South Africans. In Israel, the law provides for the equal treatment of all of its citizens, both Jewish and Arab. In South Africa, however, blacks were the victims of laws that controlled their day-to-day lives, dictating where they could live, work and travel. And in South Africa, the government slaughtered blacks when they protested the government’s policies; Israel has done nothing even approaching that level of repression—to either Israeli Arabs or to Palestinians in the West Bank.

    So what has changed substantially in Israel since 2002?

    Nothing.

    Susan, this argument looks like a non-sequitur, to me.  I’m not a fan of BDS, but my understanding is that they are opposed to Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, not in Israel itself.  Those Palestinians are not Israeli citizens, as far as I know.  As I understand it, they are not citizens of any nation recognized by Israel or the US, though they claim to have a Palestinian state which has been recognized by many other countries.

    I don’t know the extent to which Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are denied equal rights by Israel, for example through travel restrictions.  I suspect that such restrictions exist, but I don’t know the details.

    The Israelis do periodically kill Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, usually in response to terrorist attacks launched from those Occupied Territories.  At the same time, as I understand it, the Israelis limit the power of the Palestinian government (or pseudo-government) in those Occupied Territories to maintain the sort of military forces that might be necessary to suppress such terrorism.  Of course, the Palestinian authorities might or might not want to suppress the terrorism, but at the moment, my impression is that they lack the power to do so, because of restrictions imposed by Israel.

    I think that there are plenty of reasons to be critical of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.  The old news story that you quote appears, to me, to fail to address this issue at all.  This does appear to be the principal concern for the proponents of BDS.

    There are also reasons to be critical of the Palestinians, many of whom appear to want to re-conquer some or all of Israeli territory.  I understand the Israeli reticence to recognize a Palestinian state that seems likely to wage war against Israel.  It is a difficult situation.

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    Susan, this argument looks like a non-sequitur, to me.  I’m not a fan of BDS, but my understanding is that they are opposed to Israeli treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, not in Israel itself.

    First, BDS acts affect all of Israel, regardless of their grievance. Second, from my view the Occupied Territories are Judea and Sumeria–which belong to Israel: they can’t “occupy” their own land. Third, travel restrictions are in place because of the ongoing violence by the Palestinians. It’s amazing how few attacks were initiated once the “fence” went up. Fourth, the Palestinians don’t have weapons because they won’t use them against their own terrorists, whom they reward; they will use them against Israel. Finally, they don’t want to “reconquer” parts of Israel; they want to drive them into the sea. That’s my viewpoint.

    • #13
  14. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    • #14
  15. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    Israel is engaging in self-defense.  BDS is morally wrong, in my opinion.  

    • #15
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    • #16
  17. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    • #17
  18. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    Israel should do what is necessary to defend itself against terrorist attacks.  Period.  

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    I frankly give very little credence to international law. The international court only looks to condemn Israel and ignore the violence of the Palestinians. When has Israel ever, ever, been fairly recognized by international law? Or by the United Nations, for that matter?

    • #19
  20. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    Which international laws do you think that Israel violates? 

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    FIFY

    • #21
  22. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    Which international laws do you think that Israel violates?

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/01/chapter-3-israeli-settlements-and-international-law/

    https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-182472/

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

    • #22
  23. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I frankly give very little credence to international law.

    I know, Susan, but without that all we have is the law of the jungle – and too often we already have that.

    • #23
  24. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I frankly give very little credence to international law.

    I know, Susan, but without that all we have is the law of the jungle – and too often we already have that.

    Too often Israel is attacked and then Israel is asked to obey international law even if in so doing Israel would cease to exist.  

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/01/chapter-3-israeli-settlements-and-international-law/

    https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-182472/

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

    All of these organizations have highly political agendas and are anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic. Their records, over and over, demonstrate that they would just as soon eliminate Israel from the face of the earth. Their data is selective. Do they show any criticism of the Palestinians?

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I frankly give very little credence to international law.

    I know, Susan, but without that all we have is the law of the jungle – and too often we already have that.

    The way international law is applied, selectively and repeatedly against Israel, without addressing the horrendous and repeated violence perpetrated by the Palestinians–if the law of the jungle reigns, “international law” is in part complicit.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I frankly give very little credence to international law.

    I know, Susan, but without that all we have is the law of the jungle – and too often we already have that.

    The way international law is applied, selectively and repeatedly against Israel, without addressing the horrendous and repeated violence perpetrated by the Palestinians–if the law of the jungle reigns, “international law” is in part complicit.

    Complicit in what?

    What I’m hearing is that if International Law doesn’t give me exactly what I want then International Law is bad and illegitimate.  That’s only true if you’re perfect and what you want defines what is legitimate.  

    • #27
  28. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    From the website:

    The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law.

    But they are boycotting the entire country. And the Palestinians have brought much of the oppression on themselves by refusing to negotiate an agreement, by repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians, by most recently causing violence at the al Aqsa mosque. Does anyone remember the hundreds of tunnels that Hamas built to bring in weapons? Or their repeatedly attacking Israeli civilians? Or burning the fields of the Israelis? Or the most recent terrorist attacks against Israelis? And don’t try to tell me that any of these acts are justified.

    Does this mean that Israel should not abide by international law?

    Which international laws do you think that Israel violates?

    https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2019/01/chapter-3-israeli-settlements-and-international-law/

    https://www.un.org/unispal/document/auto-insert-182472/

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/04/israel-50-years-occupation-abuses

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

    Interesting blend of de facto, de jure, jurisdiction claims. 

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Complicit in what?

    What I’m hearing is that if International Law doesn’t give me exactly what I want then International Law is bad and illegitimate.  That’s only true if you’re perfect and what you want defines what is legitimate.  

    Not true, Zafar. I don’t expect perfection or exactly what I want. I do expect a level of fairness and objectivity, which doesn’t exist with those organizations you cite. Do you think it’s unfair to cite the lawlessness of the Palestinians?

    • #29
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Complicit in what?

    What I’m hearing is that if International Law doesn’t give me exactly what I want then International Law is bad and illegitimate. That’s only true if you’re perfect and what you want defines what is legitimate.

    Not true, Zafar. I don’t expect perfection or exactly what I want. I do expect a level of fairness and objectivity, which doesn’t exist with those organizations you cite. Do you think it’s unfair to cite the lawlessness of the Palestinians?

    No Susan, but if I was writing about Palestinian war crimes, for example, talking about Israel’s war crimes would be off topic.  They wouldn’t excuse the Palestinians’.  The only reason to even bring them up would be what aboutery.

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.