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.” 


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.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More