Even as war continues to rage in Gaza, there already is much talk about the “day after,” meaning what happens there when the guns go quiet.
The chatter assumes Israel will rout Hamas and that a new entity will fill the governing vacuum.
Finding a solution is a huge challenge and while America will have a big say, there is another “day after” issue also demanding our attention.
It involves the shocking explosion of antisemitism on elite college campuses.
It, too, must be eliminated because it is morally wrong, and because history leaves no doubt about where it leads.
Washington has a role to play, but the real action must happen where the problem is — on the campuses.
University leaders must lead, or get out of the way.
In some sense, the raw hatred was hiding in plain sight.
In recent years, the ringmasters of cancel culture included Israel in their ever-expanding lists of “white supremacists” and “colonizers,” sure signs the Jewish state was becoming a pariah.
As with America’s Founders, conservatives, whites and Christians, any defense of Israel often triggered a generation of snowflakes determined to erase it from the canon of acceptable allegiances.
When it comes to Israel, the “E” in DEI stands for exclusion, not equity.
Still, despite suspicions and some obvious cases, it was not always certain that the relentless criticism had morphed into a wide hatred of Jews.
Out of the closet
The Oct. 7 slaughter brought the antisemites and their enablers out of the closet.
Because you can’t solve a problem you don’t know exists, we now know who they are and the hate they harbor.
We see them in all their arrogance at Harvard, Penn and my alma mater, Columbia.
Their banners, slogans and chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” remove any doubt that they are not mere critics of Israel.
They share with Hamas, Iran and antisemites throughout history a pure hatred of Jews.
Sizeable numbers of students, faculty and administrators at many other so-called schools of higher education are also guilty of harboring this ancient sickness, including at the City University of New York, especially its radical law school.
In many cases, the Jew-hatred was not clear because the policies of Israel, like the policies of any nation, are fair game for criticism.
The right to dissent is intrinsic to Americans’ right of free speech and criticizing Israel is no exception.
But there are also tests for determining whether the criticism is honest, legitimate disagreement, or a smokescreen for antisemitism.
Consider the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2016, and embraced by the United States.
It cites as examples charges that Jews conspire to harm humanity and the use of “sinister stereotypes.”
Another example involves “justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.”
Others include spreading the “myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”
Holocaust denial, of course, is a prime example of antisemitism.
Those and other clear expressions have all been front and center since Oct. 7.
Among the most loathsome are claims that Jews, not Hamas, killed more than 1,000 Israelis that day, most of them unarmed civilians, including scores of infants and children.
Another sickening sight is the emergence of signs that the slaughter never happened, or if it did, it was justified as a form of “resistance.”
Similarly, Hamas’ kidnapping of some 240 people, from infants to 85-year-old Holocaust survivors, has been labeled a hoax by antisemites.
Some claims by protesters display a startling ignorance of both history and current events.
The fact that Hamas began three decades ago for the purpose of killing Jews and wiping Israel off the map seems to be little known if at all.
Its charter makes that clear.
Look it up.
Also, there seems to be little interest in understanding why Arab states are refusing to take in Gaza refugees.
When King Abdullah of Jordan declared that “no refugees to Jordan and also no refugees to Egypt,” there was hardly a peep from the same protesters who angrily demand that Israel stop its “inhumane” assault.
Ditto for the lack of outcry over the evil Hamas habit of hiding its terrorists and weapons under hospitals and schools.
As for civilians, it is Hamas that refuses to let families and children in northern Gaza follow Israeli instructions to move to safety in the southern part of the strip.
Do college students know the record showing that Israel is the focus of more United Nations resolutions than any other country?
Just the other day, there were eight censures — and not a one for any other nation!
That’s antisemitism in action.
Another double standard is the holier-than-thou focus on Palestinian civilian fatalities when more deadly wars get little or no notice.
More than 238,000 people died in conflicts last year, the Global Peace Index reports.
According to The Washington Post, the total reflects at least 82,000 deaths in Ukraine and more than 104,000 in a civil war in Ethiopia.
Conflicts also led to large numbers of deaths in Mali and Myanmar.
Where’s the outrage?
Fortunately, there is a strong and growing outrage against campus antisemitism and it is being led by alumni, many of whom are closing their wallets.
Harvard has been a flashpoint because a letter from student groups actually blamed Israel for the Hamas slaughter, and its new president, Claudine Gay, kept issuing blah blah blah statements in an obscene search for neutral ground.
When it comes to evil, there is no neutral ground.
Why don’t all college presidents know that?
On top of billionaire alums like Bill Ackman demanding that Harvard address the problem, more than 1,600 other Jewish grads are warning they will withhold donations until the university confronts antisemitism on campus.
Donor boycotts are also happening at Penn, with scores of top givers demanding the resignation of President Liz Magill and Scott Bok, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Some are showing their displeasure by saying they will donate just $1 until both resign.
Still, getting the attention of cowardly presidents and administrators is only the first step in what must be a wholesale re-evaluation of what it means to be an educated, moral American.
A house-cleaning of students and faculty must follow.
It won’t be easy, with even a baby step causing a big pushback.
More than 100 Harvard faculty signed a letter complaining about a new “antisemitism initiative,” calling it dangerously one-sided.
Well, antisemitism is also one-sided.
Incredibly, the signers revealed their ignorance by defending protesters who use the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine must be free,” claiming the chant has a “long and complicated history.”
No it doesn’t.
The words mean exactly what they have always meant: wiping Israel off the map.
Those who pretend otherwise don’t belong at Harvard or any other American university.