Phi Beta Cons

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Universities and Barbarism on the Anniversary of Daniel Pearl’s Death


On the seventh anniversary of his son’s beheading at the hands of Islamic terrorists, Judea Pearl argues in a surprisingly hard-hitting article that the world has actually become more tolerant of terror and barbarism instead of less. Pearl writes that many had hoped “that Danny’s murder would be a turning point in the history of man’s inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.” 

While this sentiment truly represents simpleminded liberal naivete in full bloom, Pearl appears to be wiser now, and he deplores how barbarism is increasingly tolerated by the elites of society, and is being “celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of ‘the resistance.’”     Pearl ascribes this increasing insensibility to evil as the result of a number of causes, among them Jimmy Carter’s reprehensible apologia for suicide bombing, but he also cites a symposium held in January on his own campus, UCLA, sponsored by the Center for Near East Studies and featuring only vicious anti-Zionists who pronounced Israel a criminal regime. “The primary purpose of the event was evident the morning after,” Pearl writes,  
when unsuspecting, uninvolved students read an article in the campus newspaper titled, “Scholars say: Israel is in violation of human rights in Gaza,” to which the good name of the University of California was attached. This is where Hamas scored its main triumph — another inch of academic respectability, another inroad into Western minds.
In another article, Pearl explains that the panelists “criminalized Israel’s existence, distorted its motives and maligned its character, its birth, even its conception. At one point, the excited audience reportedly chanted ‘Zionism is Nazism’ and worse.”   While Pearl has learned much after his terrible and heart-breaking loss, it appears that he has not entirely discarded his liberal rose-colored glasses when he writes that among other noxious results, “anti-Zionist rhetoric is a stab in the back to the Israeli peace camp, which overwhelmingly stands for a two-state solution. It also gives credence to enemies of coexistence who claim that the eventual elimination of Israel is the hidden agenda of every Palestinian.”  While the elimination of Israel may not be the hidden agenda of every Palestinian, it is of enough of them to be the reality of what Israel is facing. 


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