The Kushner Controversy: Why the Left Roared

Diana West delves into what drove the Left’s vindictive fury against (pro-Israel) CUNY Trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld for opposing the awarding of an honorary degree to (pro–Palestinian Authority) playwright Tony Kushner by the university. The onslaught against Wiesenfeld (howls for his resignation, etc.) continued to rage well after the CUNY Board’s decision to re-bestow the honor on Kushner it had briefly, and evidently without conviction, revoked.

To maintain its hegemony in much of academe, the Left feels compelled to repel each and every high-profile challenge to the rampart of political and other “verities” it has erected. It is terrified of any breach of, as West puts it, “Establishment-acceptable thought — the span of ‘settled’ debate, and the ‘correct’ set of elite opinions.” 

For

in rejecting Kushner for honors, Wiesenfeld was rejecting the Left’s increasingly accepted case for moral equivalence between Israel and the PA for honors as well. Had Wiesenfeld prevailed, CUNY itself would have symbolically rejected this same moral equivalence from mainstream, taxpayer-supported academia . . . the Left had long made way for Palestinian Arabs to suicide-bomb their way into that mainstream, and no blunt-speaking trustee was going to force their cause to the margins . . . Against an initially effective blast from the pro-Israel past, the academic Establishment held. Radical Chic ruled. And not only did it hold and rule, it also committed assault and battery against its lone critic.

The Left loudly mustered all its muscle to crush Wiesenfeld’s contesting viewpoint. For who knows, it reasons, to what smashup even one crack in its ironclad control of academic processes and thought might lead?

Candace de Russy — Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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