By the AFP Staff
Across the country, university administrations are tearing down leftist-backed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Though the reasoning behind the sweeping changes may be flawed, all in all, the move should be considered a step in the right direction.
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DEI is intentionally left vague by leftists so that supporters can constantly shape the definition to their passing whims. In the most general terms, DEI calls for “the fair treatment and full participation of all people.” In reality, however, DEI is a racist concept that paints all white people as oppressors and all minorities as oppressed no matter their background, social status, or wealth.
DEI’s troubles started after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel, when the Israeli military began waging an indiscriminate bombing campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, killing and wounding an estimated 100,000 Palestinian men, women, and children.
In response, students and their professors took to the streets on college campuses across the United States to protest Israel’s war on Gaza. Video of large-scale demonstrations at Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale garnered national attention with pro-Israel conservatives and other activists making outlandish claims that protesters want to commit genocide against Jews and that pro-Israel students felt “unsafe” on college campuses.
Leftists largely ignored the attacks by pro-Israel groups and individuals; that is, until the elite donor class threatened to withdraw donations if university administrations didn’t take action to censor pro-Palestine protests.
Then a strange thing happened. Not just satisfied with simply muzzling protesters, the pro-Israel groups and individuals began broadly targeting leftist-backed programs like DEI, which have plagued academia for decades. And while the pro-Israel cadre’s targets were good, the reason why they called out DEI was deeply flawed.
In a Dec. 20, 2023, interview with “Jewish Insider” media outlet, former head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Abe Foxman rightly said the problem with DEI is that it is “based on a faulty premise—that racism is a function of oppressed and oppressors [and] that all white people are oppressors and all people of color [are] oppressed.”
On its face, Foxman was correct. Only a fool would argue that a poor, young white man in a rural coal-mining town in Kentucky could be born with any privilege when compared to a rich, young Indian who lives in Northern Virginia and is the son of doctors or the black child of a wealthy professional athlete.
Standing up for freedom of speech and thought should be applauded by all liberty-minded Americans, but the truth is, Foxman was only seeking to torch left-wing programs like DEI because liberals have very publicly stated that supporters of Israel have been left out of the exclusive, protected class that minorities benefit from.
Foxman argued that the various DEI initiatives and programs have “built a huge funded bureaucracy which is today difficult to change or amend.” He insisted that despite the best efforts of “Jewish communal organizations to include the Jewish community or soften its impact on anti-Semitism,” their efforts have failed.
DEI “cannot be fixed, it needs to be scrapped and replaced by a vigorous implementation of our civil rights laws that are color blind, and apply equally to all,” Foxman concluded. “DEI was developed to eliminate bias but sadly it created bias.”
Despite the fact that some of the most potent critics of Israel happen to be Jewish—most notably Dr. Norman Finkelstein, Dr. Noam Chomsky, and Rabbi Alissa Wise, to name but a few —Israel supporters like Foxman seek to equate people who oppose Israel with anti-Semitism despite the fact that Zionism is a political movement oriented around a land grab and is not a religion or a race.
Other Jewish leaders have echoed Foxman’s talking points, including David Harris, the longtime CEO of the American Jewish Committee.
“DEI has evolved into a mammoth, ideologically-driven presence on many campuses, some of which have literally hundreds of staff working exclusively in this space,” Harris noted. “Accordingly, I don’t believe that outside efforts, however well-intentioned, that nibble around the edges or simply seek to add Jews to the DEI agenda, address the heart of the problem. DEI today poses a major challenge to liberal understanding of American societal aims, so the goal of rethinking it conceptually is far more urgent than just trying to get along with it.”
Whatever their selfish reasons may be for ending DEI, ending this blight will serve to foster free speech and help bring about an end to a leftist-backed censorship regime that we have had to endure for the past quarter century.