Op-Ed: Understanding anti-Semitism on American Campuses
December 18, 2013
No doubt Arab student organizations and Arab faculty, funded partly by Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, are contributing to the eruption of anti-Semitism on US campuses. This anti-Semitism is magnified by the atheism that dominates the Liberal-Left in academia.
However, it needs to be emphasized that the backdrop of this anti-Semitism involves the moral relativism that has permeated American “higher” education” since the early 20th century. It was then that European doctrines, such as German Historicism (historical relativism) and English Positivism, invaded academia along with evolutionary Darwinism.
This contamination of doctrines undermined the creation narrative of the Old Testament from which America derived its primary foundational document, the Declaration of Independence. It was from this revolutionary document — from its postulation of “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” — that America’s Founding Fathers derived our universal rights to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The Jewish “Old Testament” thus provided America’s moral compass via the Declaration of Independence. The ideas and moral values of that document were encapsulated in the Declaration’s above-mentioned concept of “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” What is more, educated people in 18th century America and Europe identified the “laws of nature” with the Seven Noahide laws of universal morality embodied in the Book of Genesis.
Now, it needs to be understood that the philosophers of the 17th and 18th century European “Age of Enlightenment” (e.g. Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau) were overt or closet atheists. Their competitor for power was the Old Testament in general and the creation narrative in particular. They substituted for the creation narrative one or another version of the “social contract theory”–a purely hypothetical construction for reorganizing the political foundations and moral values of modern society.
Moreover, they substituted a “pragmatic” reason for the “metaphysical” reason of antiquity. The new “reason” was subordinated not to laws of nature but to Human will–and hence on Freedom unconstrained by Morality.
This morality-free reason has led to the ubiquitous university-bred doctrine of moral relativism. It also spawned the “libertarianism” that has dominated U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the last 50-60 years (thanks largely to John Stuart Mill’s essay “On Liberty,” which took American jurisprudence by storm).
And so, the upsurge of anti-Semitism on American campuses is a long evolving consequence of the doctrines of European philosophers, who saw that their quest for influence and power in society at large was blocked by the clergy, whose power was ultimately based on the long-established Old Testament.
Accordingly, today’s unholy alliance between Islam and the Left is directed primarily against the Old Testament.
It is with this backdrop that we are to understand the upsurge of anti-Semitism on American campuses.
Prof. Paul Eidelberg
Prof. Paul Eidelberg (Ph.D. University of Chicago), former officer U.S. Air Force, is the founder and president of the Israel-America Renaissance Institute (I-ARI), www.i-ari.org, with offices in Jerusalem and Philadelphia. He has written several books on American and on Jewish Statesmanship. His magnum opus The Judeo-Scientific Foundations of American Exceptionalism: Today’s Choice for the “Almost Chosen People” is in process of publication. Prof. Eidelberg lives in Jerusalem.