The unhinged antics of academia have long baffled ordinary Americans. Institutions once prized for their services to knowledge are now staffed by people who routinely deny that such a thing objectively exists, and who focus more on their partisan priorities. Despite its reputation, Columbia University is no exception. Before recently being evicted after clashes with police, students at the school’s fractious anti-Israel encampment proudly proclaimed their support for terrorism while calling on the college to sever ties to Israel and Israelis.

Now, we have more evidence that some of the college’s top administrators are not merely willing to indulge such radicalism but hold their own egregious views. Last week the Washington Free Beacon exposed how deans at the Ivy League school mocked Jewish students in private texts, referring to them as “privileged” despite their concerns over growing anti-Semitism. Perhaps the most surprising part of this scandal is that the offensive remarks were made in private, given how normalized such sentiment has become in academic circles.

The Jewish students denigrated by their deans are the same ones who recently had to pass protestors, mobilized by groups that openly celebrated the slaughter of civilians by Hamas, screeching at them to “go back to Poland.” Even prior to macabre celebrations of the October 7th attacks, anti-Jewish incidents were soaring in the U.S., with assaults on Jews rising by over 25% in 2022.

Columbia University deans mocking Jewish students’ legitimate concerns about anti-Semitism as “privilege” — not to mention the vomit emojis they directed at those who express those concerns, proves that despite promoting progressive values, Columbia’s rampant critical race theory has apparently done nothing to alleviate a toxic atmosphere for Jewish students, and arguably exacerbated it. In the corridors of academia, “progressive” staff are only too happy to trivialize the genuine fears and experiences of Jewish students in a way they would not be if students of any other minority group expressed similar fears. How can students feel safe on campus in these circumstances — or trust administrators to be honest referees for their concerns after these private texts?

Incredibly, despite a slew of headlines claiming that the Columbia staff in question have been “removed,” the college will simply shuffle three of them into new roles. The most senior among them, Dean Josef Sorett, is walking scot-free having released a mealy-mouthed statement in which he vows to “rebuild trust.” 

But how can trust be rebuilt when, to echo the words of the Free Beacon, Columbia’s response is akin to “Moving the Priests Around” a rightly decried practice of shuffling abusive priests from parish to parish instead of forcing them to face justice for horrendous crimes? While many Catholic authorities have reckoned with previous abuse scandals and improved safeguarding practices, most colleges are incapable of even admitting a scandal is unfolding. 

The question now is whether ambitious American students, Jewish or otherwise, decide to give up on the colleges of yesteryear and gravitate towards less “prestigious” schools that remain dedicated to learning rather than appeasing extremists.

While comprehensive measures such as training on anti-Semitism could be helpful in theory, it is difficult to believe that, in practice, administrators like those at Columbia will change for the better from such training. Their mocking text messages, after all, occurred during a discussion of anti-Semitism.

After this text message scandal, can we really trust colleges to execute these training programs? Will students, already raised to hate, be open to changing their minds? Are current teachers actually qualified or willing to explain the complex history of anti-Jewish hatred, rather than reduce it to yet another function of the irredeemable white supremacist evils of Western civilization?

The reality suggested by this affair is that entire college departments and administrations are rotten to the core. Root and branch reform is needed, in Columbia and beyond. Universities must crack down on anti-Semitism, not just from the Right but also from the Left — and from their own students — before they can hope to root out anti-Semitism.

From Nazi Germany to the USSR to post-Islamic Revolution Iran, societies that encourage or turn a blind eye to Jew-hatred have been doomed to achieve neither longevity nor learning. In order to train the next generation of people in elite professions who have America’s best interest at heart, Columbia and other colleges must extinguish the anti-Semitism festering in their ranks. The US will not maintain its global strength if its educated elite continues its descent into a toxic combination of hatred and ignorance.

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Georgia L. Gilholy is a journalist and writer in the U.K. Her work has appeared in The Spectator, The Times of Israel, Hong Kong Free Press, First Things, Newsweek, Jewish Chronicle, CityAM, UnHerd, The Jerusalem Post, and The Washington Times. She is also a media consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting & Analysis (CAMERA). Follow her on X/Twitter: @llggeorgia.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire

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