fbpx

Bari Weiss Discusses Campus Anti-Semitism, 2020 Election

Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

https://jewishjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jj_avatar.jpg
Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

New York Times opinion editor and columnist Bari Weiss discussed anti-Semitism on college campuses and the 2020 presidential election in a Feb. 9 interview with the Journal.

Weiss, who was scheduled to speak on a panel at the Alums for Campus Fairness conference the same evening, told the Journal her Zionist activism began when she was a student at Columbia University, which she attended from 2003-2007.

She said at the school’s Middle Eastern studies department “there was an environment of intellectual orthodoxy on the question of Israel. The doctrine was very much the Soviet propaganda line: that Zionism was racism. Zionists were treated as racists, with all of the attendant shaming and bullying you would expect.”

She added that at the time, many in the Jewish community dismissed such treatment of Jewish and pro-Israel students at Columbia as an outlier on college campuses. But the opposite has proven to be true, Weiss said.

“What began, or at least what was first observable, at Columbia has now swept not just American college campuses but increasingly high schools and even middle schools,” she said. “I hear regularly from teenagers that they are being told they are baby killers, apartheid enablers, colonialists, racists and so on. All because they are Jewish.”

“The energy right now in the country is both populist and destructive, and it’s not hard to understand why. We have profound economic inequality, broken institutions.” — Bari Weiss

Weiss said she had conflicting feelings about President Donald Trump’s December executive order applying Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jewish students on college campuses.

“Title VI says that if you receive federal money, you can’t discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin,” Weiss said. “If universities are discriminating against any minority, including Jews, then they should be held to account. That part seems straightforward.”

However, she added, “When I see a group like [the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education] —– a civil libertarian group that I deeply respect — criticizing the executive order, that gives me pause.”

Weiss also said she was concerned with white nationalist groups becoming an international threat.

“The energy right now in the country is both populist and destructive, and it’s not hard to understand why,” she said. “We have profound economic inequality, broken institutions.”

Weiss said she placed a $1,000 bet on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) being the Democratic presidential nominee — a prospect that scares her. “Bernie taps into that energy in a way that isn’t dissimilar to Trump,” she said. “Trump promised to burn the house down, drain the swamp. Bernie promises a revolution. I think that energy is hard to control and dangerous.”

She also expressed concern over Sanders’ associations, stating, “Anyone who was alarmed about [former White House strategist Steve] Bannon’s proximity to Trump should be alarmed that [Women’s March activist] Linda Sarsour is a campaign surrogate for Bernie. What does that say about his judgment? About what is acceptable? And this is to say nothing about his longstanding affection for regimes like the Soviet Union, which is candy for the GOP in a general election.”

Despite the rising anti-Semitism in the country, Weiss called the United States the best Diaspora for Jews in thousands of years. However, she said it’s not enough for Jews to simply fight against anti-Semitism. They need to fully embrace Jewish life. She said she started wearing a Star of David necklace after the October 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, where Weiss became a bat mitzvah.

“There are Jews I know who started hosting Shabbat dinner,” she said. “There are Jews I know who started watching ‘Shtisel’ or ‘Fauda.’ There are a million ways to connect to Jewish life. Being a Jew is the great honor and privilege of my life. If that is your understanding, then so many things are possible.”

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Culture

Latest Articles
Latest

House Democrats Remove Iron Dome Money in Government Funding Bill

House Democrats have stripped a provision of the government funding bill that would have provided $1 billion toward Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Half of AEPi, AEPhi Students Hide Their Jewish Identity on College Campuses, Poll Says

A new poll released by Louis Brandeis Center on September 20 found that half of students in the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) sorority hide their Jewish identities on college campuses.

San Diego Local AFT Demonizes and Delegitimizes Only Israel But Claims It’s Not Antisemitic

Suspend disbelief for a moment and imagine a teachers’ union in California voting on and publishing a statement or resolution that exclusively laid blame for the ongoing conflict in Nigeria, which has killed millions of people since 1960, on only the Muslims in Nigeria. 

Coronavirus Grumbling, the Sukkah, and the Wisdom of Hindsight

It has been a year and a half of discontent.

Pandemic Sukkot: The Shelter of the Table

The coronavirus, which has turned so many buildings into danger zones, has only reinforced the Sukkot message of the vulnerability and impermanence of physical structures.

Hollywood

Podcasts

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x