Friday, August 26, 2016

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (69)

It was during the Fall that I was living in the basement apartment in Jamaica that I first noted the negative political results at Queens College of the Zionist movement's well-funded post-1970 program to push "Jewish identity" consciousness and "Jewish studies" programs on campus, in which some assimilated U.S. students of Jewish religious background took some courses for college credit.

By the late 1960's, the elderly, rich white folks who funded or controlled the "professional Jews"/Zionist/Jewish nationalist organizations and lobbying groups in the U.S.A. apparently became concerned that too many assimilated U.S. students of Jewish religious background felt more of a political affinity with the African-American Liberation movement in the USA and groups like the Black Panther Party, or anti-imperialist New Left groups like SDS, than they did for Israel, Zionist youth groups in the U.S.A. or on-campus Hillel groups.

The "Jewish identity" and "Jewish Studies" programs the Zionist movement set up in the 1970's on U.S. campuses, it was hoped, would counter the apparent drift of assimilated students of Jewish religious background to the anti-imperialist New Left of the 1970's, in a more successful way than it was countered politically by the Zionist movement in the 1960's.

And by the mid-1970's--once the assimilated U.S. students of Jewish religious background and their womenfriends felt there was no longer any risk of being drafted by the U.S. military for an imperialist war, after U.S. military intervention in Vietnam began winding down, draft calls were reduced and the draft was eventually ended--the "Jewish identity" programs push at places like Queens College did seem to have succeeded, somewhat, in increasing the numbers of students who got involved in pro-Israeli, Zionist student youth groups than had been involved in similar groups in the 1960's, during the Vietnam War Era and the heyday of the New Left and SDS.

Checking out a forum on Middle East issues at Queens College one evening in the Fall, I was surprised, for example, to see that the number of Queens College students who cheered the Israeli government's representative when he defended his government's policy of refusing to negotiate directly with the Palestine Liberation Organization and refusing to withdraw, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, from the territories it had occupied during the June 1967 Middle East War, outnumbered the Queens College students who were critical of Israeli militarism, from an anti-imperialist left point of view.

And when I spent a few minutes, after the forum, explaining why people in the U.S., regardless of religious background, had an internationalist obligation to oppose Israeli militarism and human rights violations and support the right of the Palestinian people to national self-determination on democratic grounds, to a white woman student of Jewish religious background, whom most men would likely have considered physically attractive, she seemed to become enraged at me, while calling me a "self-hater" and "a traitor." For a second, it almost looked like she was going to even test out the effectiveness of her apparently recent martial arts training on me, if I hadn't decided that there was no point in continuing the discussion with her and started to quickly walk away from her.