A Simple Test for Diversity and Inclusion

While students and professors are entitled to protest any Israeli policy they want, intimations of Jew-hatred violate campus norms of diversity and inclusion (D&I)—as the E in DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) seems to be slipping out of fashion. These violations have become so rife and have been punished so lamely that they mock pledged commitments and disgrace the administrators entrusted to enforce them. University appeasers claim that their hands are tied by free speech protections. Yet, in other contexts, as Abigail Shrier noted, DEI advocates aggressively police speech to remove any real or perceived hint of prejudice.

Is the double standard a fundamental feature or an unintended bug?

A simple test would identify an organization openly disdainful of D&I and unmistakably signaling its supremacist aims—akin to a KKK rally culminating in a lynching. How should D&I administrators address support on campus for such organizations? There are three main options:

  • Welcome, excuse, or ignore it. This is the path of least resistance but strips D&I of moral authority.
  • Criticize but defend the right to voice it freely. This is the path of appeasement, but it strips D&I of practical authority once the lawsuits from punished students begin.
  • Ban open support as inimical to core university values. This is the path of redemption, but it is the hardest to sustain.

In fact, such an organization exists: Hamas.

Its Covenant of 1988 is proudly Islamofascist. On the Islamist side, it calls for complete Muslim control over all of Israel until the day when Muslims fight Jews and kill them. It claims that Jews’ refusal to convert to Islam warrants humiliation and lives of misery. It rejects any arbitration by “infidels,” calls for uncompromising holy war, and defines its most important mission as spreading “Islamic consciousness.” On the neo-Nazi side, the Covenant accuses Jews of controlling the world media, fomenting the French and Communist Revolutions, destroying societies through secret organizations like the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, and the Lions, using World War I and the League of Nations to rule the world, and launching World War II, “through which they made huge financial gains.” Indeed, Article 22 declares that “No war takes place anywhere without the Jews being behind it.”

Hamas’s Charter of 2017 includes more moderate language, but its stance on Jews residing in Israel remains the same. While it shifts its focus to Zionists rather than all Jews and emphasizes broader Arab and Islamic alliances, it still upholds the extremist views outlined in its 1988 Covenant. Additionally, Hamas adamantly denies any long-term rights for Jews in the region, regardless of historical ties or migrations from other Arab-controlled territories.

Any lingering hopes for D&I under Hamas rule died on October 7. The attacks brought a trifecta of brazenly genocidal aims, unapologetic live-streamed savagery, and boastful pledges to repeat whenever possible. If even 10 percent of Gazans and West Bankers condone terror and genocide—when Palestinians’ own polls indicate a commanding majority—few Israeli Jews will survive, and none will live in freedom. Moreover, the would-be victors have made no secret of their desire to “globalize the intifada” and extend their Islamofascist realm.

Hamas’s antipathy for D&I extends far beyond Jews. It offers no protection to homosexuals against persecution. It rarely, if ever, punishes domestic violence against women. It adamantly refuses to let women and children use its extensive network of bomb shelters. Hamas also stokes Islamophobia, as any non-Muslim will reasonably fear the society it aims to create.

To put this into perspective, consider an American analogy. Imagine that armed gangs took control of the ex-Confederacy in the name of medieval Christian Europeans, expelled all others, declared their intent to conquer the rest of the U.S., fired missiles north and west to make its point, and flaunted a successful border raid that raped, tortured, captured, or killed over a thousand Blacks. Imagine that a considerable share of students and professors decided, to much international applause, that the attacks augured well for defeating a greater enemy, U.S. imperialism. Imagine that this emboldened a fringe to applaud the Christian European cause, set up encampments at universities, and intimidate Blacks and Jews. Would D&I administrators welcome, excuse, or ignore this? Would they criticize but defend the right to promote the medieval Christian European cause? Or would they ban open support as inimical to core university values? Whatever their response, I ask them to apply the same standards here.

Personally, I don’t favor bans. I’d rather see an open debate where support for obscurantist causes could be exposed and shamed. That includes deceptive slogans like From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”  Here, “free” has nothing to do with democratic rights or social protections, or it would acknowledge that Israel is by far the freest country in the region. If “free” means the free return of the descendants of people displaced after WW II, why pay no attention to the 12-14 million Germans driven from their homes? This was the largest single ethnic cleansing in recorded history. Poland’s Gdansk was German Danzig. Russia’s Kaliningrad was German Konigsberg. Kaliningrad is 400 miles from the rest of Russia.  Why no liberation cries to return it?

The original Arabic versions of this chant are much clearer, with “free” replaced by “Arab” or “Islamic.” Hence the only long-standing, consistent, panlingual meaning of “Palestine will be free” is “free of Jews,” as in the Nazi aims of “Judenfrei.” That is antithetical to D&I.

To repeat what I said at the beginning, students and professors are entitled to protest any Israeli policy they want. But they should not be free to vent Jew-hatred without D&I-related consequences. And any D&I authorities who don’t police these major aggressions forfeit any moral or legal right to police micro-aggressions.

Granted, D&I administrators may disagree. If so, I encourage their campus to sponsor a calm, reasoned, respectful debate on the proposition,
“Support for Hamas is antithetical to D&I.” Invite them to argue it isn’t and watch them hoist by their own petard.

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski — Flickr 


  • Kent Osband

    Kent Osband holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, worked in international finance, and is the author of "Calculus for the Curious."

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