Holocaust Revisionism at Williams College

A debate over recognizing a pro-Israel student group reveals ignorance and antisemitism among Williams' students

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

KC Johnson has an excellent piece at the Tablet about a recent controversy at Williams College involving the refusal of the student government to recognize a pro-Israel student group, and the College's administration's subsequent reaction. Perhaps the most striking part of Johnson's piece is the following:

The Holocaust bit speaks for itself. The "genocide against Palestinians" trope, regarding a population which has had among the highest population growth rates in the world, whose standard of living improved dramatically during the Israeli occupation but before Oslo gave them (limited) self-rule, is a great example of people believing something because they want to believe it, regardless of the facts. I've challenged many folks on social media regarding this particular trope, and have concluded that this trope is essentially is evidence-proof, and can only really be explained by a pathological hostility to Israel that not surprisingly often has a strong antisemitic component.

This sort of ignorance mixed with malice reminds me of a prior post of mine about Oberlin College, involving leftist students who dismissed the Holocaust as merely an example of "white on white crime."

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  1. “The “genocide against Palestinians” trope, regarding a population which has had among the highest population growth rates in the world, ”

    That is some seriously effective genocide

    “whose standard of living improved dramatically during the Israeli occupation but before Oslo gave them (limited) self-rule,”

    standards of living almost alway decline with regimes progressives want to emulate.

  2. Where’s the rev to denounce Bernstein for nipping at the heels (and what sort of animal nips at heels, anyway, wink, wink) of liberal-libertarian cool colleges instead of covering Biola’s Flintstone’s Film Festival (portraying dinosaurs and humans together)?

    1. Rev also ignores the blatant, and award winning!, anti semetism at schools like NYU where anti semetism such as leaving eviction fliers for Jewish students in dorms is a way of school life.

  3. Late to the party on this one, everyone’s favorite Mohameddan member of Congress Rashida Tlaib made major news when she claimed that Palestinians welcomed Jews to the Middle East after WWII, when in actuality Palestinian leader Grand Mufti Haj Amin el Husseini was actually an ally of Adolph Hitler and met with the dictator in 1941.

    1. everyone’s favorite Mohameddan

      Well everyone will at least see you’re coming from a weird place as you try make this national and partisan. Never let a crisis go to waste, eh?

      1. The politics of the OP’s issue is (inter)national and partisan.

        Mohameddan means follower of Mohamed, which is what Tlaib is; describing things accurately shouldn’t be a problem, eh?

      2. Your chosen ignorance is epic to watch sarcastro. You cant even admit grand revisionism to factual history. What a child you are.

        1. I don’t deny the facts about el Husseini, just that they speak to what Tlaib was saying.

          And using an imperalistic 1800’s European term for Muslim that no one uses anymore isn’t something you just play innocent about.

          1. How about I refer to them as followers of the pedophile terrorists?

            1. How about you do that? It would be weird. That’s his point.

          2. Please tell my why the term “Mohameddan” is imperialistic. The fact that people used it during a time that Europe had colonies doesn’t make it imperialistic per se. In fact, during the 18th Century, and just before that, the Muslim religion was the one that was colonizing and slaving left and right as much as the Europeans (if not more).

            1. If you actually answer the question, I will reply with the reason I use the term.

              1. So why did you use that term?

                1. That’s a fair answer below from Sarc, and it, ironically, is the reason why I rarely use the term Muslim, because to do so is a form of linguistic imperialism on the part of Islam.

                  Muslim means “submitter to God.” God doesn’t want you to kill people in his name (not to mention some of Islam’s other practices), so a Muslim isn’t really submitting to God. They are just a follower of Mohammed.

                  Furthermore, Islam means “to surrender” or “resign oneself” (sometimes “peace”, but that peace comes through surrendering to Islam. Again, this is not surrendering to God, but rather to Mohammed’s version of God, which is, again, a form of linguistic imperialism.

                  While somewhat archaic, it is not insulting, and accurately describes the thing in question. Moreover, it is what Christians call themselves, followers of Christ, or Buddhists, etc.

                  1. If a group wants to be called the Proud Boys, I’ll call them the Proud Boys. Doesn’t mean I endorse that they are proud or even boys.

                    1. That’s a short-sighted answer, and I suspect with a little bit of introspection you might find that you won’t support that policy across the board.

                      To-whit, is someone pro-life or anti-abortion? Is someone pro-choice or pro-infanticide? On a funnier note, if a band called themselves “The Greatest Rock Band Ever” would you call them that (even if that’s what they wan’t to be called), even if you know the best rock band ever is actually the Rolling Stones?

                    2. I call the pro-life people pro-life because that’s what they want to be called. I call pro-choice pro-choice because that’s what they want to be called.

                      If a band has such a name, I’m down. What I call them says nothing about me.

                      The one exception is I call illegals around here, and undocumented persons elsewhere. That’s less about what they want to be called and more what third-party advocates insist upon or else they’ll derail everything.

                    3. I appreciate the honesty on that. There are no bright lines, self-identification only is a problem when it either imposes on others through forced speech, or the self-identification is not in alignment with objective reality. Illegal aliens what they are, illegal aliens. Men can’t be women, you get my drift, but I might say “she” when I see some dude in convincing drag even if I know it’s a man, if I am not imposed upon.

                    4. If someone insisted on being called the N-word, and I was somehow convinced of his good faith, I don’t know that I’d do it, but it’d be two competing impulses. But beyond that extreme hypothetical, it’s not forced speech to be courteous to people.

                      You’re still working to make calling people what they want something about you. It’s not forced speech; it’s courtesy.
                      I’ll call a tall guy Shorty if he wants. Does no violence to my sense of reality. And yes, calling transgenders by their old name and gender is the same thing. Regardless of what I believe, it’s no skin off my nose to not be a dick to them and call them what they want to be called.

                      Not calling Muslims Muslims does nothing to your ideals. No one thinks your endorsing the Muslim God by doing so. It’s as petty as the people who type demonrats for Democrats.

                    5. Courtesy can be forced speech, if there is authority behind it.

                      Do we have forced speech, yea, all the time. My workplace has safety regs posted…forced speech there. But don’t kid yourself, if you had negative consequences, even just social ones, but especially financial or criminal ones, for not calling a fellow “shorty” when his actual name is Steve…then it’s forces speech and it violates your freedom of speech, and conscience. How about not calling a “your honor”?

                      Hell, it even violates your freedom of thought, because how we name things and the language we use to frame ideas, reflects how we perceive reality.

                  2. “Muslim means “submitter to God.” God doesn’t want you to kill people in his name (not to mention some of Islam’s other practices), so a Muslim isn’t really submitting to God. They are just a follower of Mohammed.”

                    So, you didn’t mean anything mean by “Mohameddan” because you wanted it to be clear that you didn’t think the Muslim practice of “kill[ing] people in [God’s] name” accurately reflected “submitter to God”. This just ups the ante on your slander to: All Mohameddan/Muslims are murderers.

                    This is all pointless, anyway, because you’re reaching back hundreds of years to resolve an ambiguity that doesn’t exist. When Muslims refer to themselves as Muslims, we all understand that they are excluding other people who consider themselves submitting to the wills of different gods, like Christians, Jews, etc.

                    Also, how the fuck do you know what God does or does not want? Give me a break.

                    1. I don’t like calling a Muslim a Muslim, because they are not submitting to God (which is what the word means), even though they think they are submitting to God, because many of the precepts of their religion, specifically jihad. They are just following Mohammed, not God. Nowhere in that logic does it entail calling every Muslim a murderer, just a follower of Mohammed, the man who believed that God told him to murder in God’s name. All oaks are trees, but not all trees are oaks, eh?

                      Pointing back hundreds of years? How long ago was the last jihad suicide bomber killing a couple hundred people….oh that’s right, it was April of 2019.

                      How the fuck do I know God doesn’t want to kill people in his name…they same way a Mohammedan knows that God wants people to kill in his name…my faith. For that matter, how the fuck do you know that God didn’t tell you to not kill in his name (or any number of things), but you just chose not to listen?

                    2. @mad_kalak,

                      “…because they are not submitting to God (which is what the word means), even though they think they are submitting to God…”

                      Well they aren’t submitting to your God. But if their God requires them to practice Islam, they can’t submit to their God without practicing Islam, right?

                      “They are just following Mohammed, not God.”

                      Right, but they think Mohammed speaks the word of God, not unlike the way Christians think about Christ.

                      “How long ago was the last jihad suicide bomber…”

                      The phrase, you idiot. I’m not talking about the ancient sins of Muslims. I’m talking about your archaic usage.

                      “…how the fuck do you know that God didn’t tell you to not kill in his name (or any number of things), but you just chose not to listen?”

                      For starters, I know I couldn’t have ignored God’s command not to kill in his name, since I haven’t killed anyone at all, much less in the name of a God. Second, I don’t! That’s why I wouldn’t insist, like a fucking asshole, on calling some self-identifying Christian I happen to disagree with as a “False Christ Follower”.

                  3. Do you also refuse to use the term “Christian” because it’s a form of “linguistic imperialism”? After all, the term would refer to a follower of the christ, and the people who call themselves that are really just followers of Jesus, a probably-fictional character who – even if he existed – was definitely not the messiah. Do you – and should other people – call them Jesus Cultists instead?

            2. It’s imperialistic because it’s not what Muslims called themselves. It’s just the British naming a group of natives whatever they thought was about right, not caring about the natives preferences. As imperialists will do.

      3. If he called Steve King “everyone’s favorite white supremacist”, would you have had an issue with it?

        1. I had three issues with the comment:
          1) the odd use of Mohammedan. Which is, as expected, just petty self-righteous stroking.
          2) The accusation against Talib being an incorrect intepretation of her quote, moving from some people to the political ruler.
          3) Going off topic to try and use the OP to gain national political points.

  4. Prof Bernstein,

    Would you consider the below YouTube interviews to be a promising resource to dispel the haze of ignorance?

    The Ask Project

  5. Gosh, I can’t wait to be occupied ! Since occupation raises the standards of living of the people who inhabit the land, perhaps we should invite in the Chinese to occupy America! What a concept, this benefitting from occupation is!
    Gee, I wouldn’t want to be anti semitic or something. Especially since the Palestinians are the only Semites in Palestine. The Jews are descended from Japheth’s grandson Ashkenaz, not Shem. But I wouldn’t want to go all Nohide law. Since the commandments are only for the Jews, and do not apply to non Jews unless public opinion might damage Jew/Goy standing. ?Though shalt not kill (your brethren). We know the Palestinians are not brethren, so its open season at the GAZA wall. Don’t even need a license, just a rifle and some dum dum rounds will do nicely. Oops, don’t want to be anti semitic. I am sorry! I’m sorry! (I’m not sorry!)

    1. Your view seems to be through a polarized lens, and gets progressively more disturbing from there.

    2. Gosh, I can’t wait to be occupied ! Since occupation raises the standards of living of the people who inhabit the land

      If your government is massively corrupt and dictatorial, yes, you could expect your standard of living to increase substantially if occupied by a free nation.

      1. Living standards in Africa collapsed after the end of colonial rule.

        1. Of course they did, and Ian Smith and many others knew it would happen. Blacks, as a group, are not capable of governing themselves. An average IQ of 70-85 means that any form of civilization is impossible. Under colonial rule, whites set standards and put in place government and societal structures that allowed blacks to succeed. Once those went away, so did the success.

          1. It was more than the colonizers leaving, it was also that the (former) colonies where a hodgepodge of tribal enemies bound together politically in an unstable way.

  6. This all ought to be very familiar to anyone with the Birth of A Nation view of American history. Blacks and whites lived in perfect harmony in the Old South, when invading Yankees illegally occupied and subjugated them. They created horrific corrupt governments where black people went around raping and terrorizing the upstanding white citizens until the good folks of the Klan came in to restore order, prevent white massacre, and put everyone in their rightful place.

    Asa Earl Carter came up with the brilliant idea of writing pro-confederate propaganda with the same pro-Old South rhetoric, except with a more currently sympathetic minority group substituting for the Klan. He picked American Indians.

    This appears similar. Scratch out the word “Negro,” write in the word “Jew” in crayon, change a few dates and a few place names, and you have classic Klu Klux Klan propaganda, exactly as the Klan presented it, pretty much verbatim.

    1. An essential feature of racism is the inability to conceive the inferior race as having agency. Exactly as black people were nothing more than a tool of Yankee imperialism in the old Old South rhetoric, Jews are nothing more than a tool of Western white imperialism in the new rhetoric. In both cases, it’s not possible for a racist to conceive of them as doing anything on their own.

      1. That doesn’t make any sense. We’re all just people. And shooting someone deprives them of their agency.

    2. I must have missed in birth if a nation where the slaves elected a terrorist government and lobbed hundreds and hundreds of rockets at America using aid money from foreign governments instead of feeding their population.

      Let’s see how stupid liberals can get defending their blatant jew hatred.

      1. I don’t think you bothered to read all the way through because he was clearly comparing Jews and slaves in too different revisionist histories without mentioning Palestinians.

        1. So what group of blacks was it that was invited into a new homeland by a colonial power, then abandoned to a much larger native population that wanted to kill them when that colonial power left – and turned the keys to their armories over to those natives? And which group of blacks developed a representative democracy with a prosperous semi-free market economy, even while defending themselves against repeated attempts to murder them all?

          If you want to analogize blacks and Israelis, you need to find 10 million blacks in the midst of 100 million KKK, who are not only more productive and richer _without_ any major resources than their murderous neighbors are with oilfields, but also raised the living level of any of their neighbors that didn’t join in the murder plots.

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  8. I’m at the point where I don’t care. Most American Jews would vote for Hitler if he ran as a Democrat. They blindly supported, and continue to support, the Democrat Party. They asked for the Omars and Tlaibs of the world.

  9. Holocaust can’t be white on white crime because us Jews are not white.

    Anyways, yes, there is a lot of revisionism about the Holocaust and Zionism. Every American needs to know the following:

    1. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people. There are Arabs who settled some regions while the territory was part of various Caliphates/Ottoman Empire.
    2. The word Palestine is a Roman name derived from Philistine and was devised to destroy the historical connection between Jews and Israel/Judea.
    3. Hebrew kingdoms ruled in Israel for over a thousand years and predated both Christianity and Islam.
    4. Zionism was a civil nationalist movement that aimed to reconnect diaspora Jews and resettle Israel in substantial enough numbers to actually make a difference. It is no mere coincidence that Zionism began at a time where global organization finally became possible. It was never a practical goal prior to the advent of modern transportation and communication, even though every Jew dreamed of it for millenia.
    5. Jews have always resided in Israel and have returned throughout history.
    6. Zionists bought land and legally settled in Israel.
    7. When Jews first started resettling Israel, there were approximately 500k Muslims in the region. Not the tens of millions “Palestinians” who often claim right of return.
    8. Like South Africa, more Muslims settled Israel as Jews improved it. Just as Bantu migrants are not native peoples exiled by Boers, Arab migrants are not native peoples exiled by Jews.
    9. The original position of Arabs was that they did not approve of any international support for creation of a Jewish state. Whether it was the League of Nations or the UN, Arabs opposed it violently.
    10. When the Arabs initially rebelled against the Ottomans and sought British support, they didn’t consider themselves Palestinian. Interesting how that identity suddenly appeared 40 years later after multiple failed wars as a united Arab front.
    11. The Arab “refugee” argument is bushleague. Imagine if you said Germans have a right to resettle Alsace Lorraine, or if the Russians have a right to resettle the FSU. Losing a war means you are not allowed back. Why do we make exceptions only when it hurts Jews?

    1. I agree with your post, except the “Jews are not white” is silly. It’s true that Mizrahi Jews are arguably not white, but Ashkenazis clearly are. If they’re not white, what are they? If one was seen fleeing a crime scene, how would witnesses describe him?

      1. It was tongue in cheek. Neo Nazis always say we aren’t white because whiteness isn’t about melanin, but a cultural identity, one which we were frequently not a part of and often outright forbidden from joining. They then use this basis to explain why we’re so subversive and trying to destroy whiteness even though to the rubles of the world, we look white to them and suffer the same consequences of anti white discrimination.

        I do have to admit I have never felt very culturally white even though I am what many people call a crypto Jew. Unless I told you my faith, most people wouldn’t know, especially not with my German name and western European mutt heritage.

        1. Oh, not me. I’m white first, American second, and ethnic Jew third.

          1. It’s an interesting subject within Judaism. I’ve always felt a bit removed because American is culturally Christian and I know their practices more than they know mine. I also feel very American and that’s why I didn’t move to Israel, but depending on the culture war and replacement taking place right now, America might not be a safe place for Jews in 100 years. I respect the European cultural evolution and enlightenment ideals that produced our common American ancestors, but I don’t feel much of a cultural affinity for them.

            1. Oh, I totally identify as culturally American. I identify with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson Davy Crockett and I don’t with Ben-Gurion or Herlz

    2. I don’t think I could accept several of these arguments. Peoples and nations form through historical processes, and history is happening around us. I don’t think it works for outsiders to tell others they don’t exist. The extreme Palestinian position that Jews are mere white Western colonists indistinguishable from general white people is obviously untrue. But pretending there is no such thing as Palestinian national aspirations isn’t true either. And coming up with some logical argument why there shouldn’t be shows no more than that history isn’t bound by by your logic.

      Accordingly, the fact that “Palestinian” as an ethnic or national identity may be relatively recent in historical doesn’t really prove anything in terms of its being a political force or having a claim. These sorts of arguments will no more result in Palestinians simply packing up and going away than the corresponding Palestinian arguments will result in Jews doing so.

      2. Further, attempts to delegitimize the other side – to argue it doesn’t really or logically ought not to exist – are likely to backfire. The more time passes, the more evident the reality on the ground, the more the origin questions become an academic point for historians. In general, delegitimization arguments tend to make it appear to neutral observers that it’s one’s own side that’s being aggressive and greedy and indulging hyper-nationalist fantasies rather than accepting demographic reality, and hence it’s owns own side that’s the problem.

      1. The reason I say Palestinians don’t exist is because their conception of statehood is designed to expel Jews. It isn’t an actual national movement. Some people, many of whom are now Israeli citizens, lived there due to circumstance under various caliphs and empires. Before the 1970s, people there were perfectly content with being called Arab, being part of Egypt/Transjordan, and creating a unified Arab state. Now, all of a sudden, we’re supposed to treat them like something they aren’t even though they chose to flee to Arab nations, ally with Arab nations, and fight for the Arab League.

        I’m just stating the facts as they are. If Palestine ever could have been a nation (two state was never practical, but that’s another subject), it de-legitimized itself after nearly a century of fighting foreign wars on the behalf of ethnic Arabs, utilizing terrorism to achieve its goals, and being completely unwilling to compromise in any capacity.

        1. As a point of comparison, consider Zionist expansion into Israel during the late 1890s. Jews bought land and organized migration. They didn’t rebel against the Ottomans or the British (initially) and at the time were perfectly content with building their communities within an existing structure. They didn’t engage in absolutist ethno-nationalism that made no room for Arabs to continue living in the area. They didn’t conquer the land as foreign invaders. From the beginning, they were even content with giving Gaza to the Egyptians and part of the West Bank the Jordanians (then Transjordan). Syria even held parts of the north that Israel has decided to keep after later wars (Golan Heights). Why didn’t we care then? Because at the time, we thought we could live peacefully with Arabs and didn’t have many issues with them.

          All of these problems began when Arabs rejected the UN Partition, created the Arab League, and declared war with the express purpose of ELIMINATING Israel. Not taking more land, not making a unified Arab state with Jewish citizens; eliminating all Jewish presence from the area. There have always been reformers and dissenters within the Arab League (namely Transjordan at the time, thank you Abdullah I), and today Israel has strong support from Jordan, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia.

          Now, all of a sudden (and notice how nobody asks anyone else to do this, only Jews), we’re supposed to forgive a century of transgressions by Arab nations and just give up more land to people who still haven’t changed their ways or their fundamental objective. Why are we supposed to do this? Because after dealing with it for a century, it’s “wrong” to bulldoze their terrorist shitholes. It’s “wrong” to kill their combatants who bomb our women and children on buses and stab and rape them in the streets. It’s “wrong” to realize that the only practical way to ensure long-term defense is to kick them all out, dismantle any semblance of a state, and enforce their borders with increasingly hostile northern neighbors ala Syria, Turkey, Iran, China, Russia, and portions of Western Europe. It’s “wrong” to acknowledge the link between Islam and anti-Jewish terrorism even though international Muslims target Jewish communities in every country they preside in.

          I realize that Palestinian statehood might seem to exist in an academic context, devoid of any historical references other than current behavior, but the “Palestinians” dug their own grave and now they’re lying in it.

          I don’t know many people who would compare the territorial issues of Korea and various African nations to Israel, but non-Jews/non-Arabs really need to keep their noses out of our issues. The UN (for god only knows what reason) drew up these retarded partitions that caused all these problems in the first place instead of letting the actual people who live there decide among themselves. It comes across as two faced for non-Jew westerners and UN apologists telling Israel what to do and how to behave when they created the problem in the first place.

    3. Is there anything wrong with hoping for a kinder, gentler Zionism, as critical component to better relations between the west and the Middle East?

      1. And I’m not defending the students.

      2. Of course it’s not wrong in the slightest, but after almost 100 years of this shit, Israelis are tired. We’re fighting ghosts at this point. I don’t blame them for just taking what they want at this point. Might made right and kept us exiled for 2,000 years, so what’s different now? The ends shouldn’t justify the means, but these are no ordinary ends.

        In the same vein that America should never surrender substantial sums of land or money to Native tribes and descendants of slaves, Israel should reclaim its historical borders and fully administer Jerusalem for the benefit of the world.

        1. As Dr Phil would say, there ain’t none of us getting out of this thing alive.

    4. Good sumnary.
      I would add a further overlooked historical fact:
      When the Brits controlled Mandate Palestine, they strove mightily, under Arab pressure, to keep the local population at no more than one third Jewish, thus excluding tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants. This continued during the Holocaust.

  10. Calling the holocaust “white on white crime”, as if “white vs. (some other color i.e. race)” is some deeper and more insidious evil shows profound ignorance of the mechanism at work. All power hungry dictators use hatred of other groups to gain and maintain power by focusing the peoples’ attentions on some external threat so they don’t start wondering about the quality of their own life under the dictator, which, not being free, is far worse than it could be.

    Whether it be race, religion, or next city-state over, it’s all the same.

  11. Curious why Bernstein isn’t following his own advice that he offered regarding the Charlottetown neo-Nazis: ignore them.

    1. Do you have a link? I Googled “site:reason.com bernstein charlottesville ignore” – is one of those articles what you’re thinking of?

      1. It was something he tweeted in the wake of Charlottesville, so you’d have to dig thru his twitter feed. But his advice to those who worried about neo-Nazi violence was that we should just ignore them as numerically insignificant. Which is, y’know, an odd exception to the sensible position of “never again” with regards to Nazis and the Holocaust. Never again … unless they don’t crack some magical number where Nazism is worth being concerned about.

        1. Assuming he said it, have you any reason to believe that violence by actual, literal National Socialists is a real problem in the U. S.? Is there a statistically significant number of people killed or injured by bona fide national socialists?

          On the other hand, if students – not random students, but those who are supposedly the elected representatives of the student body at a “top liberal-libertarian school” – start banning pro-Israel groups while sketchy Palestinian groups have free reign on campus, and if there are examples of similar stuff on other campuses too, then – as artie assures us – we’re looking at our betters and our future rulers, so maybe its of greater significance than some disaffected wannabe National Socialist in a trailer somewhere.

          1. Your comment demands actual numbers in the first case yet is more abstract in the second (e.g., where are the numbers and where is the hard evidence of the implication?). That seems to be rigging the standard for outrage. I find it pretty easy to appalled by and not ignore either. I’m not going to check the person’s place on the spectrum before I decide whether to be outraged by ugly statements or actions. Neo-Nazi thugs or liberal Holocaust distorters—they both merit condemnation. I’m not going to defend or otherwise ameliorate their statements or beliefs.

            Which is the problem with Bernstein and why he isn’t persuasive when he writes about anti-Semitism. He’ll find all kinds of ways to diminish or deny it when it’s on the right, but muster plenty of outrage if it’s on the center or the left. Since he’s obviously selective in which groups he’ll criticize, it’s fair to ask whether his interest is in exposing anti-Semitism or using it to demonize his political foes. I have the same issues with liberals or those on the left who refuse to criticize anti-Semitism in their midst. If you’re checking party affiliation first, you’re not persuasive.

            1. “I’m not going to check the person’s place on the spectrum before I decide whether to be outraged by ugly statements or actions. Neo-Nazi thugs or liberal Holocaust distorters—they both merit condemnation.”

              The condemnation of the Neo-Nazis seems fairly unanimous – I know there’s a political competition of saying that “your denunciation of Neo-Nazis is more than two days old and you said ‘terrible’ instead of ‘totally horrifying,'” but apart from that who is actually making excuses for the Neo-Nazis as opposed to making excuses for the more modern, hip, anti-Jewish agitators?

              1. In fact, there was the student in the article who soft-pedaled the crimes of *actual* National Socialists, but Bernstein certainly mentioned him.

                1. I can see some comments by Bernstein along these lines:

                  “On the right, the internet has given anti-Semites a way of much more easily coordinating than they had in the days of handprinted newsletters and secretive meetings in Days Inn conference rooms….

                  “…Donald Trump can retweet anti-Semitic imagery, not apologize for doing so, and not have any political consequences….”

                  To be sure, he also discusses anti-Semitism on the left.


              2. Reacting to neo-Nazi thugs where a woman was killed by one by saying “ignore them” is mild condemnation at best. Honestly, if someone who asserts himself as an expert in anti-Semitism reacts in the face of genuine neo-Nazi marching and violence with “ignore them,” why on earth should I think campus politics merits attention? That’s the issue. He’s set the bar himself where right-wing anti-Semitic violence is a shrug. If I shouldn’t give a damn about that, then liberal or left-wing campus politics isn’t going to make me nod in furious agreement with him.

                1. I’m curious about what the Tweet says, but I couldn’t find it in a Google search.

                  1. Neither can I. Perhaps he wisely deleted it because it was a reprehensible take as both someone who writes about anti-Semitism and, frankly, a human being.

                    1. One context in which a remark like that would make sense is advising “antifascist activists” not to stage a simultaneous counter-protest with the risks of violence (yes, on both sides), but to avoid giving them the oxygen of publicity which fuels the fire of attention-whoring, not to mention avoiding injury and death.

                      I don’t know if that’s what he said, but what with Bernstein’s both-sides condemnation of “lefty” and “righty” anti-Semites, including Pres. Trump, I would be interested and surprised if he swerved off one day and said he didn’t care about “right wing” violence.

                    2. What Mr. Hook seems to be alluding to was at the time of Charlottesville, in which neo-Nazis managed to assemble about 300 people for a widely publicized, “national” rally, the media should have paid as much attention as it would to any “national” rally of 300 or so losers, rather than treating it, as it did, as if there were hundreds of thousands of Nazis descending on Charlottesville, threatening to upend the American political system as we know it. Note that I didn’t say that the media should have ignored the subsequent violence that took place, but I did blame the media for putting this relative handful of Nazis in the spotlight to begin with. Given that the media has barely covered the Williams situation, and Williams students are in a rather different position re cultural and political influence than Richard Spencer followers, I don’t see that the analogy holds.

                    3. Yes, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the media ignored Nazis marching loud and proud? Wouldn’t it have been better if Americans were more unaware of how these worms were feeling emboldened? I repeat: If you can’t be outraged by damned Nazis marching in the streets, if that doesn’t reach your standard, then I see no reason why I should be even slightly bothered by knaves distorting history in campus politics. Suggesting we ignore Nazis in our midst—in essence, tolerating them—because they don’t meet some magic number before concern kicks in necessarily voids your persuasive ability on the subject.

                    4. Yes, wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the media ignored Nazis marching loud and proud?

                      Since what these people wanted was media attention, it would have been wonderful if the media didn’t give it to them, yes.

                      Suggesting we ignore Nazis in our midst—in essence, tolerating them

                      Until they break the law, you don’t have any choice but to tolerate them. You can of course hold whatever personal feelings you wish about them, and say what you want about them, but they have as much right to march and speak as you do.

          2. “as artie assures us”

            That tense is incorrect. Artie was banned by the Volokh Conspiracy.

            1. So…who are you?

              1. Who are you?

                Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland. Of the Congregation Of Exalted Reason.

                The “L” is for libertarian.

                Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland is a relative. From the South. Banned by the Volokh Conspiracy for being too authentically conservative.

                1. Oh, you mean a sock.

                  Well, focus on the positive, at least you have one persona left with which to post here.

  12. Telling you read ReaderY and assume he must be a liberal.

  13. Both the title and subtitle of this post are exaggerated.

    I guess you could say that one student’s ignorance constitutes “revisionism at Williams,” but it’s quite a stretch. If you are going to criticize every institution that has someone so ill-informed on the grounds that they harbor someone who knows no better you have a long list to deal with.

    I also think it’s unfair to omit from the OP the fact that Williams’ president overrode the council’s rejection of the application, which, admittedly, is mentioned only in the nineteenth paragraph of the linked article.

    Maybe that wouldn’t have fit with the anti-Williams message here.

    1. “one student’s ignorance ”

      The majority of students on the “council” agreed with him.

      Its good that the Williams president is not yet a Jew hater. Its a pretty low standard though.

      1. They agreed with him on denying the application. There is no evidence that they shared his ignorance about the Holocaust, which is what the title here is about.

        1. Lay down with dogs etc.

          They ratified it by agreeing with the bigots course of action.

          1. That’s idiotic, Bob.

            Because they did something he wanted doesn’t mean they agree with everything he said.

            Are all Republicans bigots and liars?

            1. “I don’t really support the Klan; I march with them because I look awesome in white”

              1. Yes, what should have happen is anybody on any voting body resigns anytime someone else on the body says something outrageous. That way, only people who say outrageous things will exercise control. What an idea.

              2. “I don’t really support the Klan; I march with them because I look awesome in white”

                The vote was not on the issue of the Holocaust.

                If you agree with the Man of many Names on some issue, does that make you a racist, homophobic, white supremacist murderous imbecile?

    2. It looks like the student government is honeycomed with BDS, SJW and anti-academic-freedom sentiment, and they admit there were anti-Semitic views at one of their meetings, views which they chose not to share with the public.

      Fortunately, the administration, for whatever reason (and their alerting the alumni is kind of a hint), doesn’t want to be associated with the ultra-crazy form of SJW foolishness, so they arranged to recognize this group anyway. The fact that they had to rule those who were supposedly the students’ elected representatives indicates that, as artie would say, it’s the youth, the bigoted students, who represent the future, and the old administrator who represent the old order which is passing away.

      1. I meant to say “overrule,” not “rule” the student govt.

      2. “it’s the youth, the bigoted students, who represent the future, and the old administrator who represent the old order which is passing away.”

        Yes, that is the danger.

        The next president will have to satisfy these savages before he or she gets the job.

      3. They technically did not overrule the student government. The administration found an “alternative means” to do the same thing.
        From the attached article, the students filed a civil rights (presumably “title VI”) complaint. Since the decision was not actually voided for bigotry and there have been no consequences for the student government acting as adults in a position of school authority, it will be interesting if the Dep. of Ed. uses this opportunity to set an example.

        1. Yes, technically correct is the best kind of correct, as they say.

          But the administration convened the alternate-route-to-recognition committee *because* it wanted to overrule the student govt – technically maybe they’re parallel methods, not an appeal process, but I think non-lawyers get the idea.

        2. What do you expect the department to do?

          1. What does the department of Ed. do for title IX violations?
            Generally the process is the same. They negotiate remedial action, and if that doesn’t work they ask DoJ to litigate (for damages and/or remedial action).

            1. What does this have to do with Title IX?

  14. To be fair, the Nazis did intend the ghettos to be rather short lived….

    1. That was my reaction as well.

  15. If we want to talk about a real Holocaust lets discuss the millions of unborn babies that Liberals have killed since Roe v. Wade.

  16. Kudos on having the guts to point out the obvious anti-Semitism at Williams College. The problem is not that it is evidence-proof (after all, so are the flat-earthers, but no one cares), but rather that too few people are willing to stand up and castigate the fools.

  17. […] The Volokh Conspiracy: Holocaust Revisionism at Williams College – A debate over recognizing a pro-Israel student gro… […]

  18. By the way, the headline on the Tablet piece,

    Separate and Unequal for Jewish Groups on Campus,

    is inaccurate also. The group was not denied approval (by the student council, not the College) for being Jewish but for its stance on the Israel-Palestine issue.

    IOW, the Tablet and Bernstein are distorting and exaggerating a fairly stupid decision, and a single quote, for their own ends. Whether this is better or worse than what the council did I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

    1. Imagine these parallel situations:

      The student government is willing to recognize black student groups, so long as they don’t support affirmative action or criticize police. Groups supportive of the police, or opposed to affirmative action, are OK.

      The student government is willing to recognize Palestinian student groups, so long as they recognize Jerusalem as fully Israeli. Any group is free to support Jerusalem as a fully Israeli city.

      Of course, assume that the administration of the college bypasses the student govt to recognize the organizations in question, (at least after negative publicity!).

      For a headline writer, separate but equal would seem like a good term to describe the situation.

      1. My objection is mostly to the use of the phrase “Jewish groups.”

        There is no indication that other Jewish groups have had a problem getting approved. Indeed, in your example other black and Palestinian groups get approved.

        I think the student council decision was both wrong and stupid, but it was based on the political views of the group (singular, not “groups”), not the fact that the members were Jewish.

        Oh, while I’m at it, ignorance about the Holocaust is not “revisionism,” it seems to me. Revisionism suggests some sort of nonsense masquerading as historical research. When I read “Holocaust revisionism at Williams” my impression is that trhere is faculty there doing that sort of thing. There’s not. This was just a dumb comment.

        In other words, both Tablet and Bernstein take a foolish incident and overblow it into something it wasn’t.

        1. Since there’s a bit of a problem with students trying to run universities, Holocaust denialism among students is almost as newsworthy as it would be among faculty.

          “There is no indication that other Jewish groups have had a problem getting approved. Indeed, in your example other black and Palestinian groups get approved.”

          I was saying that could be summed up as the student govt acting on a separate but equal basis.

          There are indications that the administration invoked the alternate route to recognition in response to bad publicity, though I don’t pretend to definitive knowledge on this. But if the Jewish angle wasn’t such a delicate issue for alumni (Jewish and Gentile), would the administration have acted so quickly? In other words, Americans have rightly been conditioned to be suspicious at even the first signs of anti-Jewish behavior. If this was a case of denying recognition to the Campus Conservative Club, would they have worried so much about the alumni freaking out?

          1. a bit of a problem with students trying to run universities, Holocaust denialism among students is almost as newsworthy as it would be among faculty.

            No. It’s not.

            And students aren’t setting the content of classes.

            And it wasn’t “students.” It was one student.

            And that one student’s opinion was not what was being voted on.

            The article did not cite any support fro the council’s decision from faculty. The only faculty member quoted said, ““all student groups on campus should be very concerned about this, ….. You can disagree with the content of what people are saying, while supporting their right to say it.”

            Like I said, wildly overblown.

            if the Jewish angle wasn’t such a delicate issue for alumni (Jewish and Gentile), would the administration have acted so quickly?

            IOW, you take quick action as proof of anti-Semitism? That makes no sense, Eddy.

            Think about it. If the Administration had supported the student decision you would have regarded that as evidence of anti-Semitism.

            If they had acted after a delay you would have wondered why a simple matter couldn’t have been handled quickly, and argued that anti-Semitism caused the delay.

            IOW, whatever the Administration did here would be interpreted as proof of anti-Semitic attitudes.

            I didn’t go to Williams, but if this had happened at the school I went to, and you wanted me to object as an alumnus, neither Bernstein’s approach nor the linked article would be the way to do it.

            If this was a case of denying recognition to the Campus Conservative Club, would they have worried so much about the alumni freaking out?

            I have no idea. Neither do you. And why do you claim that the Administration’s action was in response to alumni freaking out? There is nothing in the article to support this.

            1. “you take quick action as proof of anti-Semitism?”

              No, I don’t, I said the opposite – “Americans have rightly been conditioned to be suspicious at even the first signs of anti-Jewish behavior.”

            2. “why do you claim that the Administration’s action was in response to alumni freaking out? There is nothing in the article to support this.”

              From the Tablet article:

              “The college did forward her WIFI remarks to at least one Williams group email list—alumni volunteers—presumably to address criticism the council’s move had received. As of Friday afternoon, moreover, no campuswide email has been sent regarding the decision to formally recognize WIFI.”

              1. Note the word “presumably” in the quote.

                Regardless, that there was criticism from alumni does not mean they were “freaking out.” It means they (some) were critical.

                1. I said the *administration* was *worried* that the alumni *might* freak out. I really do wish you’d summarize my remarks with more regard for accuracy.

                  It’s possible that the alumni simply were at the clubhouse, saw the news item, said, “by Jove, that’s not cricket, what what?” and sent calm emails to the alumni listserv or what have you.

  19. Eddy,

    What you wrote:

    would they have worried so much about the alumni freaking out?

    I interpreted that as meaning they were concerned that the alumni were freaking out, not that they might. I guess I misunderstood your point, for which I apologize. Still, as you yourself say, there are only “indications” that it was a response to alumni pressure, immediate or expected, and we can’t know.

    Of course it’s also just possible that Mandel, the President, did what she did simply because it was the right thing to do. Her statement reads, in part:

    The transcript of the debate and vote indicate that the decision was made on political grounds.

    In doing so, Council departed from its own process for reviewing student groups, which at no point identifies a proposed group’s politics as a criterion for review. The decision also seems to be in tension with CC bylaws, especially Article V, Section 3: “Prohibition Against Discrimination in Student Organizations….

    Differences over such views are legitimate grounds for debate, but not for exercising the power to approve or reject a student group.

    1. I did cover my bases by saying: “There are indications that the administration invoked the alternate route to recognition in response to bad publicity, *though I don’t pretend to definitive knowledge on this*.”

      I have an hypothesis that this was a case of a school administration responding to bad publicity. But like I said, I can’t prove it. If it turns out the administration was always fixin’ to do what it ultimately did, regardless of public-relations fallout, then I’m certainly sorry for casting insinuations their way.

      1. I have an hypothesis that this was a case of a school administration responding to bad publicity. But like I said, I can’t prove it. If it turns out the administration was always fixin’ to do what it ultimately did, regardless of public-relations fallout, then I’m certainly sorry for casting insinuations their way.

        Of course, we’ll never know the answer to that. So the issue is whether you are going to assume that Mandel would only overrule the council because of alumni pressure, rather than because she thought it was the right thing to do.

        And if you are assuming the former, then it’s really not worth having a discussion, because you automatically ascribe bad faith to those you think you don’t like.

        But ask yourself this: What could Mandel, specifically, have done to make you think her statement was sincere and she really thought the council decision was just wrong?

        If you can’t answer that, then everything you say is based on the assumption of bad faith.

        1. What evidence would I look for to test my hypothesis in a sure-fire way? When you get right down to it, the sort of evidence I probably don’t have access to about who she talked to and what she said at the time of the controversy. That’s more the province of the student newspaper, if they’re into that sort of thing.

          For hints of Williams’ attitude toward academic freedom, I can look at their yellow-light rating from FIRE, and President Mandel’s willingness to keep the due-process diluting sexual-harassment standards from the Obama era even after colleges no longer have to have those standards – so she’s not exactly a valiant crusader against the SJWs.

          On the other hand is the fact that setting up a separate-but-equal situation for Jewish organizations (as I discussed above with my analogies) is such an outrageous action that even a typical college administrator, accustomed to indulge SJW antics, might be spontaneously inclined to draw the line and finally say “no,” without any need for outside prompting.

          1. …also her academic speciality is Jewish history, so she may be particularly aware of what happened in the German Universities under Weimar as the students began attacking Jews, even before the plague of persecution had begun in the non-campus world.

          2. “New Williams’ president talks challenges in age of Trump…

            “And with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos softening the guidelines for procedures regarding campus sexual assault cases, Mandel notes that they are guidelines. Under the Obama administration, guidelines were tightened to protect victims. DeVos loosened those guidelines, but Mandel said the guidelines are not binding and that most schools are leaving Obama-era policies in place.

            “‘Most schools have opted to stick with the more rigorous policies to do the most we can to follow through on Title IX cases,” she said. “And that won’t change unless the law does.'”


  20. Bernard 7-11,

    I said from the beginning I could be wrong, and here is some evidence that the President could be sincere since she’s at least making the right enemies.

    “Those of us who opposed the recognition of WIFI by CC were disappointed”

    “For one, nowhere in the bylaws does it say that decisions should not be made on political grounds, out of concern for student safety or simply because CC takes moral issue with something.” blah blah blah “democratically elected representative of the student body” blah blah

    “Although it is the first time a club has been denied in years, it is also the first time someone has attempted to start a nationalist club. Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizes around issues related to Israel-Palestine; however, they are not interested in defending the interests of some hypothetical Palestinian state. Instead, SJP takes a human rights-based approach to the conflict; it is deeply troubling that WIFI could not commit to doing the same.” blah blah

    “President Mandel’s words were being used as ammunition to harass students” blah blah

    “a club more concerned with nationalistic sentiment than opposing Israel’s active genocide.” etc.


    1. Eddy,

      Thanks for the responses.

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