Identity politics are leading to the indoctrination of university students to view Jews and Israelis as “bad” and Palestinians as “victims,” a prominent American social psychologist warned on Monday.
Jonathan Haidt — professor of ethical leadership at NYU’s Stern School of Business — made this assertion during a panel discussion on PBS‘ “Charlie Rose,” with guest moderator Dan Senor — co-author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle — and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni.
The “old idea of education,” Haidt said — of encouraging students to consider various perspectives — has been replaced with a “totalizing perspective,” according to which “all social problems get reduced to [a] simple framework.” This, he said, has been detrimental to discussion on the issue of Israel.
Senor said that the BDS movement on college campuses has succeeded in moving disagreements about the Jewish state beyond “those who support one policy on Israel and those who oppose one policy on Israel.”
“Now those who are hostile to Israel, or US policy towards Israel, are joined by almost like a coalition of all these different factions who know nothing about the issue, but they all lock arms,” he said, referring to the concept of intersectionality — according to which various minority groups identify with and support one another — which is popular among anti-Israel groups.
Bruni noted that pro-Israel students are more frequently opting to keep their views to themselves, something one “shouldn’t have to do.”
The panel discussion took place during Israeli Apartheid Week, a series of anti-Israel events at universities around the world during every February and March.
Watch the conversation below (minutes 19:30 to 22:10):