December 3, 2023

A Jewish student was assaulted in an antisemitic attack at the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (my parents taught there in the 1980s and 90s, and it is in contention for the ugliest campus in America). He was attending a vigil for the Israeli hostages held by Hamas when an aggressive student began harassing attendees.


After the vigil was over the aggressor punched the other student, spit on the Israeli flag, and was subsequently arrested.

The arrestee is out on bail and is barred from entering the campus. At least that much has happened.

The UMass administration condemned the assailant’s conduct as “reprehensible, illegal, and unacceptable” and said the student would be held both legally liable and subjected to the student code of conduct. The student has been released on bail and is prohibited from returning to campus. The administration added that the Jewish student who was assaulted had not been injured.

What came next, though, blows my mind. The school’s administration is so worried about the climate of hate that it condemns…Islamophobia along with antisemitism. Because there is so much obvious fear in the Islamic community that you barely see any Muslims even going outside. There are so many instances of people tearing down flyers bearing Muslim children held hostage by the Israelis and massive marches against Muslims in cities around the world.


Oh, wait. None of that is happening. Instead:

The UMass incident also comes less than a week after a student at Cornell University was arrested for making death threats toward the campus Jewish population, and weeks after a suspect was charged with hate crimes for attacking a Columbia University student.

In addition, over the past month, several university faculty nationwide have publicly praised Hamas’ attack or taken aim at “Zionists,” and student groups projected anti-Zionist messages onto a campus library at George Washington University. Some parents of Jewish college students have sought to mobilize around the issue, while some Jewish day schools have pressed universities to better guarantee their students’ safety.

Still, undeterred by the lack of Islamophobia, the administration of the university wants everybody to know that they are deeply concerned about Islamophobic hate.

In a letter to the UMass campus community in the wake of the Friday incident, Shelly Perdomo-Ahmed, interim vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life, and Tyrone Parham, assistant vice chancellor and chief of police, wrote, “Antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any form of bigotry have no place in our community.”

“Let us be clear, these were the actions of an individual who did not speak for nor act on behalf of a group or anyone other than themselves,” they added. “Peaceful advocacy and protest must and will be protected on our campus.”


Has UMass experienced a problem with Islamophobic hate? Are there marches on campus decrying the existence of Islamic states? Are students carrying around signs calling for the elimination of all Islam? Or are scenes like this common on campuses?

We all know the answer.

Academics are so invested in the “brown people are always victims” narrative that no amount of hate or aggression against the presumed “settler colonialists” won’t be counterbalanced by a claim that they are doing their hateful acts because they are victimized. The ideology can be summed up with a sticker:

Jew hatred is the new fashion, and while academic administrations can’t endorse it openly they can downplay its significance and create a false moral equivalence.

So they do.