Millennials aren’t the only ones with little connection to history. The esteemed humanities department of the respected Scripps College failed to consult a little relevant history before inviting to their campus a hate merchant.
Rutgers University’s Jasbir Puar peddles a thousand-year-old, still-toxic anti-Semitic fantasy: The blood libel accusation against Jews updated in the 21st century and applied to Israelis.
Puar, associate professor of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers, entered the hall of fame of vicious academic hucksterism in 2016 when she delivered a lecture as Vassar College, titled, “Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters,” elaborated in her book “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability.”
Puar’s convoluted, implausible “thesis” will be that “the use of technologies of measure to manufacture a ‘remote control’ occupation, [is] one that produces a different version of Israeli ‘home invasions’ through the maiming and stunting of population. If Gaza, for example, is indeed the world’s largest ‘open air prison’ and an experimental lab for Israeli military apparatuses … what kinds of fantasies (about power, about bodies, about resistance, about politics) are driving this project?”
Puar doesn’t accuse Israelis of genocide. She accuses them of something worse. To the Israelis, “the Palestinians are not even human enough for death.”
Worse than Nazis, they don’t kill them en masse because that would win Palestinians sympathy as victims of “a new Holocaust.” Instead, the Israel Defense Forces selectively “maims” them, which not only demoralizes the victimized population but provides Israel with half-dead Palestinians to use for laboratory experiments and, ultimately, with Palestinian corpses to sell their body parts.
Dressed up in post-modernist theory about “fantasies about bodies,” Puar, in fact, is updating a very old, still potent anti-Semitic myth. In 1132 in Norwich, England, a 12-year-old named William was an apprentice who tanned and sold hides to the local population, including Jews. He disappeared in Thorpe Wood. The Christian villagers quickly blamed Jews, but Sheriff John de Chesney dismissed the accusation and put Norwich’s Jews under his protection.
The local anti-Semites returned home murmuring, and nothing much happened — for years. After all, this was the Middle Ages, with no internet. But then, a hate monger, Thomas of Monmouth, compiled a chronicle, “The Life and Miracles of St William of Norwich,” based primarily on the testimony of Jews who had converted to Christianity, like the monk Theobald of Cambridge, who claimed he was exposing the crimes of Norwich’s Jews.
Will Scripps be shamed into canceling the channeling the deadly virus of Jew-hatred into the mainstream of academia? Don’t hold your breath.
Theobald told Thomas that there was a prophecy that the Jews would regain control of Israel if they sacrificed a Christian child each year. Allegedly, Jewish leaders met in Narbonne in France to decide who would be asked to perform the sacrifice. In 1144, the Jews of Norwich were selected. Thomas the chronicler added the sensational details that the Jews shaved the head of little William (soon credited with miracles and made a saint), “stabbed it with countless thornpoints, and made the blood come horribly from the wounds,” and then “fixed [him] to a cross in mockery of the Lord’s Passion.”
This was the beginning of a devastating blood libel/ritual murder accusation — which has been deployed by Jew haters through the centuries from England to Syria. For hundreds of years, Jewish communities were fearful when Passover and Easter converged, lest they become victims of a murderous pogrom.
In our time, the internet provides new, powerful marketing platforms for the thousand-year blood libel virus. Mass killer Robert Bowers, who murdered 11 at Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue in November, 2018, mocked his victims by alluding to his crimes as payback for “jewish [sic] Ritual Murder … also known as Blood Libel.”
John T. Earnest, who murdered one and maimed others at San Diego County’s Chabad of Poway synagogue on Passover 2019, wrote in his online manifesto: “You are not forgotten Simon of Trent, the horror that you and countless children have endured at the hands of the Jews will never be forgiven.”
On March 12, Puar will appear at Scripps College as part of the Claremont Consortium and for the Humanities Institute, to give a lecture: “(Re)Centering Wounds.” The event — which Scripps’ administration defends on “free speech” grounds — is sponsored by the notorious Students for Justice in Palestine. Not an aberration, this is only the latest time that Scripps College has sponsored events weaponizing anti-Semitism-tinged Israel bashing.
Will Scripps be shamed into canceling the channeling the deadly virus of Jew-hatred into the mainstream of academia? Don’t hold your breath. Will Scripps at least live up to its basic academic responsibility to invite a real scholar to debunk the pernicious blood libel in all its metastasized forms, to purge the lies and the cancerous hate, or will it breathe further life and legitimacy into history’s longest and deadly screed about the Jewish people?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Dr. Harold Brackman, a historian is a consultant to the Simon Wiesenthal Center