Friday, November 13, 2009

Antisemitism on Campus-Deja Vu

A Norwegian university recently joined others who try boycotting Israel's academics while supporting Islamofascists. On the anniversary of Kristallnacht, this is a reminder of what academics did as the Nazis rose to power.

Campus political extremism today is shocking. Large numbers of university professors and administrators advocate positions that combine support for totalitarian Islamofascism and its terrorists with deep hatred of Israel and anti-Americanism. How did this come about in the twenty-first century? Actually, the roots go back to 1930.

Some of the worst political extremism in academic history took the form of enthusiastic support on American campuses for Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. This is a disgraceful chapter in American academic history and one largely unknown. Its story is the topic of a new book, “The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower,” by Stephen H. Norwood (Cambridge University Press, 2009). The author is a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and holds a PhD from Columbia University (of all places). The book is already inflaming controversies and debate.

Norwood’s study shows that that the appeasement, support for totalitarian aggression and terror, academic bigotry, and anti-Semitism that today fill so many American universities were predominant forces on many campuses in the 1930s. The Chomsky’s, Cole’s, Beinin’s et al of today could easily fit into the campus atmosphere of the time. He sums up the situation at American universities in the 1930s thus:
“American universities maintained amicable relations with the Third Reich, sending their students to study at Nazified universities while welcoming Nazi exchange students to their own campuses.... America’s most distinguished university presidents willfully crossed the Atlantic in ships flying the swastika flag, openly defying the anti-Nazi boycott, to the benefit of the Third Reich’s economy. By warmly receiving Nazi diplomats and propagandists on campus, they helped Nazi Germany present itself to the American public as a civilized nation, unfairly maligned in the press.”

Norwood’s book is a must read, but also a sad and uncomfortable read. He also details the reactions of America’s professors and universities to the rise of Hitler. The responses on American campuses ranged from complete indifference and refusal to join in campaigns against Nazi Germany to widespread support for German Nazism, including for German atrocities committed against Jews.

Starting in 1933 anti-Hitler mass protests were being held throughout the United States. Americans of all creeds joined in. So did labor unions, political parties, and others. Perhaps the most memorable anti-Nazi sign from the marches was that of the Undertakers Union, “We want Hitler!” American streets were filled with anti-Nazi protests every week. College and university presidents and administrators did not take part. They did not convene protest meetings against Nazi anti-Semitism on the campuses, nor did they urge their students and faculty members to attend the nationwide mass rallies held on March 27, 1933.”

Some leading German Jewish scientists and professors managed to make it to the United States. The most famous was of course Albert Einstein. Some American schools went out of their way to hire these refugees. Harvard and Yale (which has a Hebrew slogan on its official coat of arms) did not. Harvard refused to hire refugees even when the Rockefeller Foundation offered to cover half their salaries.

Some academics condemned those calling for a boycott of Germany in response to the atrocities committed on Kristallnacht. They insisted it would be “hypocritical” on the part of those protesting the boycott of German Jews by Nazis to call for a boycott of Nazi Germany. This is worth noting because one hears the exact same claim today when those who call for boycotts of anti-Israel academics are similarly denounced and accused of exhibiting “hypocrisy.”

Many of the faculty members at Harvard were openly anti-Semitic, including Harvard’s president James Bryant Conant. Later, after the war, Conant served as US Ambassador to Germany and worked feverishly to get Nazi war criminals paroled.

Harvard went out of its way to host and celebrate Nazi leaders. The high Nazi official Ernst (Putzi) Hanfstaungl was invited as the Harvard commencement speaker in 1934. The wealthy Hanfstaungel had been one of Hitler’s most important backers, insisted that “the Jews must be crushed,” and describing Jews as “the vampire sucking German blood.” He openly advocated the mass arrest or worse of German Jews.

In 1935 the German consul in Boston was invited by Harvard to lay a wreath with a swastika on it in the campus chapel. Nazi officials were invited to Harvard’s tercentenary celebrations in 1936, held intentionally on the Jewish High Holidays as a slap in the face of Jewish faculty and students. A mock student debate held in 1936 was presided over by Harvard professors as judges. They acquitted Hitler of most of the mock charges and declared that German persecution of Jews was simply irrelevant.

Yale was only marginally less friendly to the Nazis than Harvard. Yale and Harvard presidents welcomed a delegation of Italian fascists to both campuses in October of 1934. The student newspapers at both schools warmly approved.

Some MIT professors came out vocally in support of Hitler and Nazi Germany, including mechanical engineering professor Wilhelm Spannhake. His son Ernst was a student at the time at MIT; the son insisted that the Nazis had committed no atrocities at all.

Professor Thomas Chalmers of the history department at Boston University publicly demanded a “hands off “ policy regarding Hitler and opposed American denunciations of Nazi Germany. After the war the University of Chicago hired one of the leaders of the Romanian genocidal fascist organization “Iron Guard” as a faculty member.

Norwood’s own alma mater, Columbia University, collaberated with Nazi Germany in many ways. Months after Germany started book burning, Columbia’s President Nicholas Murray Butler went out of his way to welcome Nazi Germany’s ambassador to the US for a lecture circuit at the school, and praised the Nazi emotionally as a gentleman and a representative of “a friendly people”.

A Columbia Dean named Thomas Alexander praised Hitler’s Nazism sycophantically and visited Germany himself. He especially approved of the Nazi policy of forced sterilizations.

The “Seven Sisters,” as the seven elite women’s colleges in America were called, were unwilling to take any anti-Nazi stand. Collaboration with the Nazis continued at some campuses after Germany invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland. The oppression of women in Nazi Germany made no more impression upon them than the oppression of women in Islamic societies does on today’s campus extremists and feminists.

False symmetry, the condemnation of fascism together with condemning Western democracies, is not the innovation of the past decade’s campus campaign to defend Islamic terror. In the 1930s academics and university presidents signed statements that protested German behavior but at the same time gave it legitimacy. For example, in one attempt at “even-handedness,” a petition claimed that “minorities are suppressed and discriminated against to some degree in every land.”

All of the above sound familiar? It does to Norwood, who says he sees frightening similarities between what has been happening in American campuses since the early 1990s and what transpired in the 1930s.


British school places crisis as migration and credit crunch lead to shortage for tens of thousands of children

Tens of thousands of children face being turned away from local primary schools because classrooms are full to bursting point, a report warned yesterday. Parents could be forced to separate four-year-olds from older siblings and send them to schools miles from their home. As councils struggle to educate all children in their boroughs, they are being forced to resort to measures 'they would not choose under any other circumstances', the report said.

London needs an extra 50,000 places to ease a shortage of places predicted to worsen every year until 2018, according to the report. The document also highlights pressures in other urban areas, including Birmingham, Slough and Luton.

Councils are contemplating measures such as 'transporting very young children to schools several miles from their homes and failing to guarantee places for siblings at the same school', according to the report. Tough decisions to send young children to schools miles from their homes have already led to a rise in absenteeism, the report warned. The number of parents launching appeals against the primary school places allocated to their children is also likely to rise.

The shortage is being attributed to a baby boom fuelled in part by rising migration. A sluggish housing market has compounded the crisis because parents are effectively trapped in areas with a lack of school places. Meanwhile, parents abandoning aspirations of sending their offspring to private schools have also contributed to rising demand.

Some pupils are temporarily being taught in school libraries or church halls because schools lack space. Of 118 extra primary classrooms created in London this September, 79 are temporary buildings or sections of school libraries. Some schools are erecting portable cabins on school playing fields, and others are raising class sizes.

The report, from the London Councils lobby group, says that authorities have 'nowhere near sufficient' funds to pay for the extra places needed. The Government will soon distribute £200million in emergency funds to help ease the situation. But tackling the school place shortages in London alone could cost £1.5billion over the next seven years, the report claims. Areas with the most severe shortfalls include Richmond upon Thames, Kingston upon Thames, Croydon, Barnet and Brent, which need an extra 2,000 primary places. 'There are now some very large geographical areas with absolutely no capacity, particularly for reception-class children,' the report said. As well as the South-East and West Midlands, primary schools in Bristol, Bradford, Sheffield and Hove are also under pressure.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: 'Some local authorities are facing exceptional, unanticipated rises in demand for reception-age pupils; others simply did not plan or budget effectively for rising birth rates.'

Schools are being turned into 'exam factories' to meet Government targets, the head of one of the country's biggest exam boards said yesterday. Pupils are increasingly entered for unsuitable exams as part of an education 'production line' to boost Ofsted ratings, according to Greg Watson, head of the OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examination) board. He added that government meddling in the school system was damaging public trust in exams.


Australia. Breaking the law: the NSW exam results that the do-gooders do not want you to see

THE Herald is breaching state law today, risking a $55,000 fine by comparing the test results of three schools. After an announcement by the federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, that she will publish test results from around Australia on a new website in January, the Herald has learnt that publishing the exam results of just two of the schools could result in a fine in NSW.

And half of that fine could be paid to the Teachers' Federation or any other complainant under the anti-league table laws introduced by the NSW Greens MP John Kaye in June and supported by the State Opposition.

The national literacy and numeracy test results published today were obtained from the schools' annual reports. They show the selective schools Sydney Girls and Hornsby Girls scored higher than Macarthur Girls High in Parramatta.

The legislation, which levies the fines on newspapers for the publication of school comparisons and league tables, has caused rifts in the Liberal Party. The Government initially backed it because it was part of a package of legislation which guaranteed federal funding of schools, but the Premier, Nathan Rees, tried to overturn it in September in a bid to wedge the Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell. He was defeated in the upper house by the Opposition and the Greens.

It states: ''A person must not, in a newspaper or other document that is publicly available in this state: (a) publish any ranking or other comparison of particular schools according to school results, except with the permission of the principals of the schools involved.'' Yesterday the Government confirmed that should a breach occur, action would be able to be taken in a court by a local community or the Teachers' Federation, and should a fine be levied half the proceeds would go to the plaintiff.

The act allows only for the publication of the rankings of the top 10 per cent of HSC schools. A Government spokesman confirmed yesterday that should the newspaper decide to publish the top 15 per cent instead, the newspaper would be subject to penalty. Mr Kaye defended his legislation yesterday, saying he is trying to protect poorer communities from being ''stigmatised''. ''It's no more draconian than the ban on naming minors in the criminal justice system, no more draconian than our laws on libel,'' he said.

The Opposition's education spokesman, Adrian Piccoli, said the Herald was welcome to publish information ''in alphabetical order'', as long as schools were not ranked. ''We think ranking schools simply on one result is unfair and provides no useful information to parents, does the school no justice, nor the students any justice.''

Bob Lipscombe, president of the NSW Teachers' Federation, said he was ''hopeful'' newspapers would not publish league tables but if they did the federation would ''make a decision at the time as to what action we would take''. Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the Australian Education Union, said the school reports would go live without vital information about school income that Ms Gillard had promised.


1 comment:

Robert said...

This is the Herald saying, "If I dood it, I did a whippin'... I DOOD it!", and doing it.