Last week, two new profiles appeared on Instagram, @BlackatCuse and @BIPOC.Syracuse. These pages, presumably created by Syracuse University students, invited students and faculty to post about incidents of discrimination and bias on campus to unite the student body against hatred.
Unfortunately, several posts from these profiles inspired the exact opposite.
A June 19 post on the @BIPOC.Syracuse page stated “There are professors at SU who are openly Zionist to the point that it hurts Palestinian students…This shit runs deep.” This set off an antisemitic witch hunt targeting Miriam Elman, a Jewish faculty member at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs who was also mentioned in a @BlackatCuse post on June 20.
Despite being on leave for the past year, Elman was singled out by a malicious and libelous smear campaign for her support of Jewish self-determination and prior service in the Israeli Defense Forces.
The heinous antisemitic insults directed at Elman send a clear message: shed your Zionist identity or get canceled. It reeks of pure McCarthyism.
Inexplicably, while the university administration has engaged in public relations calisthenics for months to show its sensitivity to campus discrimination, their silence regarding this particular issue is deafening.
The only group condemning the social media attacks on Elman and Jewish students is SU’s Chabad House. Consequently, members of the SU Chabad community are also being targeted. They, too, have been accused of endorsing “racism” and “genocide,” as Jews public about their attachment to their homeland. I have also received backlash for my public support for Elman, including attacks on my Jewish identity, and even death threats.
The anti-intellectual tactics of the social media mob propagate a simplistic view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, insisting that virulent anti-Israel invective constitutes support for the Palestinian people. Of course, they would understand the situation better, and understand Elman, if they had taken her courses or further researched what Elman actually teaches.
But many SU students simply crave a reinforcement of their preconceived pop-culture notions. The Instagram campaign and heinous threats reveal the abject intolerance on campus of viewpoints that stray from a myopic, polarized view of the world.
Elman will not be canceled for her Zionist identity, and neither will I.
Originally published in The Daily Orange.
Contributed by 2019-2020 Syracuse University CAMERA Fellow Justine Murray.