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Did Graduation Disruptors Move Seinfeld and Others Closer to Israel?

Are these disruptors even thinking straight? Do they realize the optics of throwing temper tantrums at virtually any event they attend or at anyone who won’t follow their party line?
[additional-authors]
May 12, 2024
Screenshot form YouTube/Duke University

I don’t know Jerry Seinfeld. I’ve never met him. Like most Americans, I’ve been cracking up at his comedy routines for years. Comics make me happy. They make me laugh, which is my pleasure of choice.

What happened on Sunday, May 12, however, wasn’t very funny. During Duke University’s commencement ceremony, a group of graduates rudely walked out as Seinfeld was introduced as the speaker, with some students holding a Palestinian flag and chanting “Free Palestine.”

Why did they walk out? Presumably because Seinfeld is Jewish and he supports Israel. The man even had the nerve to visit Israel a few months ago to show support for the victims of the October 7 massacre.

One wonders what it would have taken for these disruptors to welcome Seinfeld: Him joining campus demonstrations that scream “From the River to the Sea,” “Hamas We Love You” and “Burn Tel Aviv to the Ground”?

Are these disruptors even thinking straight? Do they realize the optics of throwing temper tantrums at virtually any event they attend or at anyone who won’t follow their party line?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the temper tantrums are backfiring.

Consider the man of the hour, Jerry Seinfeld, arguably one of the most beloved comics in America. His reputation is squeaky clean; even his comedy is clean. For nearly half a century, his only focus has been to make us laugh. He doesn’t typically weigh in on politics or social causes precisely because he prefers to make us laugh.

In other words, if you want to attract more people to your cause, the last person you want to attack is Seinfeld.

As Bret Stephens wrote recently in The New York Times in a “thank you letter” to protestors, “For every commencement ceremony whose cancellation you’ve effectively forced, or which you intend to spoil, thousands of apolitical students — who didn’t get to have a proper high school graduation thanks to Covid — have taken an intense and permanent distaste to you and everything you stand for.”

What these out-of-control social justice warrior wannabes are missing is credibility and decency. Because their antics are so focused on bashing Israel rather than helping Palestinians, and because their anger only seems to show up when Jews or Israel are involved, they have little credibility.

And because they shamelessly drag ordinary Americans into their hysterical stunts– as when they block entrance to airports, disrupt any public event they can find or replace American flags with Palestinian flags– their absence of decency is a total turnoff.

Of course, maybe they don’t care about turning people off and losing potential supporters. Maybe they are screams looking for a mouth. Maybe they are Jew haters who have found an ideal moment to unleash their unbridled fury at a Jewish country that represents everything they hate about America, the West and, yes, “white privilege.”

Had they stuck around and listened to Seinfeld’s speech, the protesters who walked out might have learned a few things. They might have learned, for example, that there’s nothing wrong with privilege per se.

“Privilege today seems to be the worst thing you can have,” Seinfeld said, adding that “if you want to be a comedian, it was a privilege [for me] to grow up a Jewish boy from New York.” That was not the privilege of being rich or white, he intimated, but the privilege of being part of a community.

He reminded the graduates that going to Duke is an “unbelievable privilege” and there’s no reason to apologize for it. “My point,” he said, “is we’re embarrassed about things we should be proud of and proud of things we should be embarrassed about.”

While students might be embarrassed by the privilege of being part of a top university, they have no problem, for example, with Artificial Intelligence (AI), which Seinfeld calls “one of the most embarrassing thing we’ve ever invented.”

“We’re smart enough to invent AI but dumb enough to need it,” he said, adding that the ad campaign for Chat GPT “should be the opposite of Nike–you just can’t do it.”

What the rude protestors couldn’t do was simply sit down and hear a commencement address. Instead, they went after a beloved comic who came to share some pearls of wisdom.

Their outburst was not a show about nothing; it was a show about disruptors desperate to look noble while looking clueless and useless.

And in their humorless outburst, they also missed one of the great lessons of life: “Humor is the most powerful, most survival essential quality you will ever have or need to navigate through the human experience.”

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