William Katz:  Urgent Agenda







Has wokeism jumped the shark? In other words, have the radical Leftists who for years have exercised increasing power in our universities finally gone too far?

I dare to hope so. The recent disgraceful responses to the attacks on Israel that we have seen — from American university campuses to the streets of London and Sydney — have dramatically increased awareness that something is rotten in the state of higher education in the English-speaking world.

Some of us have been battling against the ideological takeover of academia for close to a decade. Each year, we have been getting better organised. But we have struggled to convince people in the real world just how bad things are.

The past three weeks may finally have changed that.

The expression 'jump the shark' was coined in 1977 when the scriptwriters of the long-running comedy series Happy Days — into their fifth series and getting short of ideas — tried to pep up the storyline by having the main character, Fonzie, preposterously jump over a shark while on water-skis.

The campus Left's response to the attacks of October 7 was equally far-fetched and over-the-top — but immeasurably more offensive.

Let's remind ourselves what happened three weeks ago. Two Gaza-based terrorist groups inspired by Islamist ideology, committed to the destruction of the state of Israel and backed by at least one government, staged a trailer for a second Holocaust. In their savagery, they exceeded even the horrors perpetrated by the Russian butchers of Bucha in Ukraine.

More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, including children and even babies. More than 200 were kidnapped.

The idea Israel should do nothing in response to this outrage — other than ensure the flow of aid into Gaza — defies both human emotion and strategic sense. Only those wearing ideological blindfolds cannot see that.

Yet this seems to be the approach of some academics and student groups in a great many universities, not least in Britain.

Dr Kate Davison, a self-described 'queer historian of sexuality, psy-sciences & Cold War', who is also a lecturer in history at Edinburgh, not only tweeted that 'Palestine & trans human rights are the litmus test and most of you are failing half of it', but also expressed support for a statement by faculty members at Berzeit University — an institution in the West Bank — which celebrated the Hamas attacks as 'guerilla war tactics' by 'resistance fighters'.

Dr Sarah Liu, a senior lecturer in gender and politics, also at Edinburgh, liked a tweet on October 7 that asked: 'Did some people just think Palestine had to like file paperwork or something to be freed [?] this is what oppressed fighting the oppressor looks like.'

Edinburgh is by no means exceptional. 'Special message to some of the 'decolonisers' in academia, young and old,' tweeted Priyamvada Gopal, professor of postcolonial studies at Cambridge. 'It isn't just about returning bronzes. That's the easy bit.'

Londoners bracing themselves for another pro-Palestinian demonstration today may be interested to know that six of the patrons of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, organisers of the demo, are academics based at Bradford, Exeter, London, Oxford and Surrey.
None of this should come as surprise, for it is the culmination of many years of infiltration of our universities by the radical Leftist ideology known as 'wokeism'.

But it is only now people outside academia are noticing. In the U.S., elite universities are experiencing a significant backlash against their response to the Hamas outrage.

COMMENT:  Read the rest.  It is long, but well worth it.  Ferguson is on the front lines in the fight for traditional, classical, college values.

October 27, 2023