• Michael Zank

    Michael Zank is a College of Arts & Sciences professor of religion and director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies; he can be reached at mzank@bu.edu. Profile

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There are 23 comments on POV: Trump’s Executive Order Aimed at Protecting Jews Will Have a Chilling Effect on Freedom of Speech at Colleges

  1. I am Jewish and I will state plainly that Israel is a racist apartheid state that treats non-Jewish Arabs legally as second-cladd citizens, and engages in genocide and war crimes and the breaking of international law against the Palestinian people by building Illegal settlements, using the military to push people off of their legal land, the dropping of white phosphorus on civilian populations and more.

    Israel is anti-democratic for all but a a very specific population. And a country that is democratic only for some is NOT a democracy.

    Am I to be labelled an anti-semite for this speech?

      1. So you are completely cool with someone like say for instance Germany wanting a “German Aryan State”? One could even go as far as to say that Israel has basically copied the Reich handbook, maybe not fully but they cherry picked some the “good ideas”. Would like to know your thoughts on how Palestine and the Jewish ghettos created throughout Europe are different?

        1. your attempt to compare Israel’s self defense measures against supremacism, with nazi efforts to establish supremacism is both upside down in logic and reason, and disgusting.

          As for calling the Palestinian territories a “ghetto” – that’s absurd.

          Unlike Ghettos — the Palestinian territories were delineated to provide Palestinians with full autonomy to create whatever sort of state they desired. They rejected that opportunity.

          Unlike Ghettos — the Palestinians then instead sided with the surrounding Arab nations, which launched several wars seeking to realize another Genocide against the Jewish people.

          Unlike Ghettos — as a result of those wars and the Jewish community surviving those attacks, security restrictions were enacted to protect lives.

          Unlike Ghettos — the Palestinian areas have zero to do with race or religion and instead have to do with the refusal of the Palestinians to make peace with the refuge State for Jews, in large part because of Arab supremacist concepts against Jews.

          1. Jerry tanebaum,
            Your justifications of the Israeli actions are versions of the Nazis Nuremberg laws ,and the “refuge state for Jews “is another ploy of British-Western colonialism.

    1. You’re not an Antisemite. You’re just a moron.

      Israel is the precise opposite of an apartheid state while Palestine (and Iran and Lebanon) fit the definition perfectly. There are two million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel with full civil rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and ZERO Jews in totally ethnically cleansed Palestine. And [Palestinian apartheid laws](https://m.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/PA-arrests-44-Palestinians-for-selling-properties-to-Jews-575221/amp) forbidding property sales to Jews keep Palestine judenrein.

      In apartheid South Africa, you’d never see black [Bank chairmen](https://m.jpost.com/Israel-News/First-Arab-Israeli-appointed-chairman-of-Bank-Leumi-594284/amp), blacks and whites giving birth in the same maternity wards cared for by black and white nurses, or blacks running the country’s largest hospital system, and ER system actually. You’d never see blacks swimming at beaches with whites, on the Supreme Court, or in classrooms with whites. In Israel these are all daily occurrences. But you’ll never see Jews swimming on Palestinian beaches or heading Arab national banks. Jews aren’t even allowed in Palestine.

      So while in [Lebanon](https://ibb.co/7V6PXCM), Palestinians can’t vote, attend public school, become citizens, or become doctors or lawyers, in Israel Arabs had all these rights from the beginning. Muslims even have sharia court in Israel, sit on parliament and the Supreme Court.

      Meanwhile Palestine is all Arab, soon all Muslim. Christians fleeing as fast as they can. Israel is the only Middle East country with a growing Christian population btw. No Jews. A true ethnostate.

    2. You are critical of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, a country that gave shelter to hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe and Islamic countries, and now, to American Jews who are escaping the ugly anti-Semitism in USA. You are not critical of the fifty-seven Muslim countries that would not allow one single Jew to live among them, that persecute Christians and violate the most basic human rights.
      You do not care then about the millions of Sunny (Muslim)refugees from Syria and Iraq. You do not care about the tens of thousands of Palestinians murdered by the Syrian government.
      You are not only a pathetic anti-Semite, you are ignorant, too.

      1. DB,
        The idea of a state for Jews in Palestine and the transfer of the native Palestinians predates the rise of Naziś and the Holocaust .The founders of Israel ,Russians and East European Zionist Jews , and the underwriters of the “Zionist project”, the British colonial Empire, envisioned a colonial project, which predates the rise of Nazism and of the Holocaust .The project intended the forceful removal ,or expulsion,of the natives with premeditated disregard to there opinion and civil and political rights.
        Read the Herzl and Jabotinsky writings.
        The absurd claim that the Jews of Russia and of East Europe had ancestry in Palestine 2000 years ago is irrelevant and does not entitle them to some one else land and history.

    3. Trump is a puppet of Israel. His family members, friends and all business associates are Jews. In fact the Jewish lobby fully controls the US government and Jews give financial support to all candidates who are sympathetic to Israel. Trump is making Israel great and not America. He is simply a buffoon and it is surprising to see an advanced country like the US have such a moron as president.

  2. Regarding the “race” issue, Prof. Zank deliberately leaves the term “us” vague in his opening statement “Most of us think of Judaism as a religion, rather than a ‘race'” … I suppose one can always find a collection of people who will support a particular position. However, I, and many of my friends, see Judaism dually as both a religion and a race (much like light behaves both as a particle and a wave in different contexts).

    I therefore welcome President Trump’s executive order. If freedom of speech were really the main concern, then why does Prof. Zank not support abolishing all Title VI (and maybe IX) protections?

    I hope that we, as an academic community, can be vigilant in protecting the full spectrum of free political speech on campus that is expressed in a civil manner.

  3. You write, “the Executive Order on Anti-Semitism does not distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate criticism of Israel. Omitting this sentence from the policy directive opens the door to civil rights proceedings being triggered by entirely legitimate Israel-critical protests on campus. ”

    But the EO doesn’t mention Israel or Zionism. It refers to the IHRA definition, which says explicitly that legitimate criticism of Israel isn’t antisemitic. So how do you come to the conclusion that the EO opens to door to stopping legitimate anti-Israel speech? Nothing at all supports that conclusion.

    Furthermore, the EO states explicitly that it does not affect existing free speech protections under the First Amendment. You claim it does. Exactly, where and how?

    You write: “But the executive order neither combats white supremacism nor offers law enforcement a useful tool to fight bigotry in its many forms. ” Doesn’t Title VI’s main text against racism – which you quote! – already cover white supremacism? Doesn’t the IHRA definition of antisemitism – which you quote! – already cover white supremacism? And finally, what does Title VI have to do with law enforcement?

    Title VI is not about speech, it is about discrimination. The EO does not change that. If you have evidence that it does, you sure haven’t presented it. And if you are afraid that it chill free speech, then you should be equally concerned that the existing Title VI does the same about free speech that can be considered racist or xenophobic. Yet for the past fifty years, no one has seemed concerned about the free speech implications of Title VI until now. One must wonder why.

    This entire article is based on faulty premises and incorrect assumptions. It is astonishing that an academic can write something so indefensible.

    1. I totally agree with you – this is preposterous! I am too angry about the faulty logic and opinions expressed in this article, especially by the director of the Ellie Wiesel Center to even write a rebuttal!

  4. Most Zionists on campus are Protestant not Jewish 30 to 1. Ensuring the world view on-campus of Protestants remains unchallenged isn’t the same as saving Jews from harm.
    Modern Zionism was popular among Protestants decades before it was popular among Jews.
    in 1921, 100,000 Brit troops were stationed in Palestine.
    1840s Lord shaftesbury and Prussians were prepping Palestine for an onslaught of foreign Jews.
    1917, Protestant England used chemical weapons to clear Palestine when Palestine was %90 nonJews.

  5. Sorry Aaron but your one sided and factually inaccurate attack on Israel does not qualify as antisemitism according to Title VI since you don’t come out and state that Israel has no right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people. However, you do appear to suffer from another malady — called by some “Jewish self hatred” — which is not a crime. Perhaps a remedy for your illness would be a trip to Israel to see for yourself what is happening there — Birthright is one possibility.

    1. AEL ! Jewish is both a Nationality and a religion on this basis! Israel is our HOMELAND! BDS, and the Students for Justice in Palestine, do not recognize Israel’s RIGHT TO OMG – I cannot believe that they let this man be director of the Eli Wiesel foundation at BU. He totally fails to grasp the issues that are going on at the BU campus. My son ia a freshman at BU. I can attest to the fact that there has been an extreme effort to stifle free speech on campus – when Ben Shapiro came to speak. This so called “Professor” Zank had opinions about that too – he wanted him (Ben) to be restricted from speaking on campus. And when Zank finally did write about it, he did so without even having the courtesy to watch it. My son went amidst protests on the left and the right! I live streamed it. If you want to argue about someone’s speech being wrong, you must first listen to it. As for Title VI, it is clear to me that this “so called professor” didn’t read or understand it! Basically, in a nutshell, it states that programs and activities receiving federal funding cannot discriminate based on Race, ethnicity or shared national origin! Its is supported by the Anti-defamation League, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committe, Zionist Organization of America, B’nai Brith International and Stand With Us and my family!!! To criticize Israel and Her policies is one thing – to deny Her right to exist is another entirely. Shame on you “professor”! I see that you are of German origin. The Holocaust shocked Jewish people because they considered themselves Germans first and then Jews! If anti-semitism were to rise again to that point, as it is currently escalating, Israel is the only Nation that the Jewish people have a right to return to. WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL – AM YISREXIST! That is blatant anti-semitism!!!By targeting the State of Israel and holding Her to standards that no other countries are forced to submit to, you re being anti-semitic and you are a threat to Jewish Students! Let’s be clear -An anti-Zionist is an anti-semite! I find it reprehensible that this so called “Professor of Religion” fails to understand this! Perhaps he is a self-hating Jew like the first commentator on this thread! For only self-hating Jews could view the signing of this order as a negative. Have you all gone mad?

      1. Dear Ms. Kroll,

        Many thanks for writing and commenting on my opinion piece.

        We agree that Israel is a blessing for us as Jews, a safe haven for many, and strong bi-partisan US support of Israel is highly welcome and vitally important.

        However, I am not alone among academics, including Jewish Studies professors, who believe that the Executive Order on Anti-Semitism has its problems, especially as it does not fight anti-Semitism as such, while it may well stifle free speech on university campuses. (See https://www.jweekly.com/2019/12/19/completely-wrongheaded-local-jewish-studies-profs-skewer-trumps-title-vi-executive-order)

        As to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, we may have to agree to disagree. (See http://blogs.bu.edu/mzank/2019/12/05/anti-semitism-today-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt/)

        As to Ben Shapiro, you are mistaken. I never opposed his appearance at BU. I would have attended had there been space. But I found there was a bait and switch in his rhetoric that I commented on in a blog entry. (See http://blogs.bu.edu/mzank/2019/11/14/the-ben-shapiro-performance-why-it-was-shameful/)

        Following Shapiro’s lecture, we organized an event in response to the title of his talk, where students of different political orientation had a chance to debate and hear one another out. (See https://www.bu.edu/articles/2019/response-to-ben-shapiro/)

        That’s the kind of work we do at BU and I don’t think we have a reason to be ashamed of it.

        I hope your son will find our campus open and welcoming of many views.

        With best regards,

        Michael Zank

  6. My Rebuttal to above: II take extreme exception to the opinions expressed by Professor Zank, the director of the Elie Weisel Center at BU about the title VI executive order signing. In my opinion, he totally fails to grasp the issues that are currently plaguing the BU campus today. My son is a Freshman at BU. I can agree with Prof. Zank that free speech is being stifled on campus– not by the signing of this Title VI order however.

    When Ben Shapiro came to speak there were protests. Professor Zank himself wanted him to be prohibited from speaking on campus. When the Professor finally did write his opinion on this, after the fact, he clearly stated that he didn’t even hear the speech because he couldn’t get a ticket. The event was live-streamed and is on you-tube for all to see. My son secured a ticket and went to hear Mr. Shapiro, despite protests from the Rght and the Left. If you want to argue or form an opinion about the content of someone’s speech, a basic tenant would be to listen to it first!

    As for Title VI, it is clear from Prof. Zank’s opinion piece that he didn’t read it or understand its content. Basicaly, in a nutshell, it states that programs and activities receiving Federal funding cannot discriminate based on Race, ethnicity or shared National Origin. It is supported by the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Zionist Organization of America, B’nai Brith International, Stand With Us, the ADL, and JFNA and MY FAMILY! To criticize Israel and Her policies is one thing, to deny Her right to exist is another issue entirely.

    Shame on you , Prof. Zank! I see that you are of German origin. The Holocaust shocked the Jewish people because they considered themselves German first and Jewish second. If the level of anti-semitism was to rise, as it is currently, Israel is the only nation that the Jews have a “RIGHT TO RETURN” to. WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL – AM YISRAEL! Jewish is both a Nationality and a religion on this basis! Israel is the Jewish people’s HOMELAND! BDS, and the Students for Justice in Palestine and Hamas, for that matter, do not recognize Israel’s right to exist! That is blatant anti-semitism. By targeting the State of Israel and holding Her to standards that no other countries are forced to submit to, you are being anti-semitic and you are a threat to Jewish students! Let’s be clear, an anti-Zionism is Anti-semitism. I find it reprehensible that a Professor of Jewish studies and the Director of the ELIE WEISEL center fails to understand this! A professor of Jewish studies, of all people, should recognize that this order protects Jewish students from harm that is currently brewing on college campuses today

  7. Laws are all selectively enforced, so basically there is no rule of law in the United States (at least as I have experienced it). I can give you a long list of police misconduct, government agencies not following their own rules (or basic laws) and so on, but I’ll just focus on college speech. I went to Cincinnati State Community College 2007-2009. Most teachers never mentioned race but a few would stand in front of the class and say “the world would be a better place without white people” “all wars are caused by whites” (conversely) “all wars are caused by men” “women are superior to men” etc. basically anti-white and anti-male hate speech. One- they verbatim quote Nazi beliefs, just replacing the word “Jew” with “white”- secondly this speech is illegal, but I have reported it all up and down the food chain all the way to Washington D.C. and cannot find one person who cares.

    Then the cherry on the cake- I had all my classes finished for a two year degree and just needed to do a clinical. The program head blocked me from taking the class (which meant I couldn’t graduate) and ultimately said its because she doesn’t like white males. I find statistics on the program- zero men ever allowed to take the clinical and graduate- it’s all clearly documented (there were other men in the program with me). I report this to the Department of Justice Civil Rights, try to report it to the principal (but despite getting paid a six figure salary you can never get ahold of the guy). The DOJ listed on their website at the time “fighting racial and gender discrimination in higher education is our number one priority” their words- not mine. So I contact them. When they found out I was a white male they told me my case wasn’t important and sent it to the Department of Education Civil Rights Division Cleveland Ohio (I didn’t even know this existed) the guy there made jokes about me being discriminated against and said and anti-white things then dropped the case.

    I have been online ranting and raving about how ridiculous this is for the past 10 years- never contacted by anyone who seems to care. This along with watching cops on video shoot people in the back- along with a whole host of other laws/common sense ignored- I just can’t take the law in America seriously anymore. The local police, FBI, and other government agencies won’t even enforce their own laws or attempt to behave in a professional/common sense manner. It’s all just words on paper. Politicians pass 10,000 page laws that none of them have read, the police who are supposed to enforce it never read or understand, the lawyers never read- nobody even reads the law, much less attempt to enforce it. They just willy nilly selectively enforce whatever the heck they want to at the time- and not in a competent way either.

  8. I think often anti-Israel speech is antisemitic—particularly when people substitute the word “zionists” in the place of “Jews,” and group all Jews together in this boat where they’re first and foremost loyal to Israel, etc. Ironically Trump’s protection plays right into this by conflating race and nationality. Of course this is the oppression of free speech—Israel is not perfect! Jews here, and especially those in Israel, are currently having the same debates we are having here with the same criticisms! Trying to stop these conversations from happening, especially on college campuses, is not going to benefit anyone and seems obviously unconstitutional.

  9. I’m legit confused about the author’s bitching this was literally trumps broken clock moment where he actually did something right for once in his entire life. Jews are a race and a religion, title IV applies without expansion. It would be nice if educational institutions full of teachers who did not make it to levels of professional development that involve running our country would stop putting dumb ideas in student’s heads and start actually teaching them how to participate in the workforce.

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