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"Brain washing" on campus

Reader comment on item: Happy Israel
in response to reader comment: OK for now, but how about the next generation in the US?

Submitted by Sigmund Derman (United States), Jun 8, 2013 at 17:46

Does anyone have actual data on the opinions of college studies vis-à-vis Israel? I do not claim to know the answer, but let me give some observations based on my association with universities (albeit as a teacher in a medical school but at a school on the main campus of a university).

When I was in college most Jewish students seemed rather apathetic about Israel. Now a large number of them seem engaged with Israel and they frequently attend Israeli oriented programs though Hillel and in other ways. Such students probably do not have a one dimensional view of Israel but the ones I have spoken to seem pro-Israel and they also seem well informed. Also, they are not isolated from other students but have many friends and contacts among students of all races and nationalities. If there has been any change, I think the Jewish students are more engaged with Israel than before. They are more willing to self-identify as Jews and such self-identification does not seem to have negative consequences (in general).

When we speak of the pro-Palestinian professors we tend to focus on a very small subset of the faculty. Naturally they are of concern to those who write and read columns such as this. Middle East Studies faculty members are probably much on the mind of Middle East scholars such as Dr. Pipes and rightly so. But few students take courses in these subjects. The faculty I interact with are mostly in the sciences, engineering, and economics and the majority of those seem neutral to strongly positive with respect to Israel. Of course, they don't indoctrinate their students but they attend scientific meeting in Israel and invite Israelis to campus. In columns such as this one we rarely hear about the Israeli professors who come to give a talk on gene cloning or cardiology but their presence may do more to shape students' views on Israel than the highly publicized loud-mouthed anti-Israeli speakers.

Finally, what are students majoring in? Though it might be a good thing if we had Dr. Pipes teaching at Harvard instructing a new generation of Middle East scholars there, the majority of students I know about are majoring in things like the sciences, engineering, computers, business, criminal justice, restaurant and hotel management, healthcare administration, environmental studies, and other more practical things. Some also still major in the humanities but when you add up the majors in English, other languages (of which Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages are but a subset), creative writing, technical writing, history (of which Middle Eastern history is but one component), and many others I think you will find that very few students are exposed to the pro-Palestinian propaganda.

I am not a sticker and sign oriented person, but if I were to put a pro-IDF sticker on my car in the campus parking lot there would be little chance that the sticker would attract vandalism. I think a pro-Hamas sticker would be riskier, especially if it had any Arabic on it (and the latter is too bad because I do not believe that Islam per se is bad, just Islamism).

But this is just my general impression. Does anyone have some well-done unbiased surveys?

Submitting....

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Reader comments (49) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
We must never stop fighting [101 words]ybSep 11, 2013 04:18209587
happy israel [19 words]isidor mendelowitzJul 2, 2013 13:04207518
Mr. Pipes ... [111 words]Nate, New YorkJun 21, 2013 12:15207176
2israel happy [101 words]sufi imdad AliJun 18, 2013 08:43207074
MAY GOD BLESS ISRAEL. [177 words]bicckyJun 16, 2013 07:46207029
some remakrs [69 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
AleksJun 14, 2013 09:47206974
A well-wisher and admirer from India [113 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Krishnamoorthy V. IyerJun 12, 2013 01:09206920
Happy Israel [21 words]Ángel OterosJun 11, 2013 19:23206915
1It Is Not Give Up, And Find Some Other Country To Torment [65 words]Tim UphamJun 9, 2013 18:07206858
Are dooms days for Israel already here? [124 words]NuritGJun 8, 2013 12:43206834
Happy Israel, The Apple of God's Eye. [99 words]AnneJun 8, 2013 08:23206827
The importance of Morale [49 words]David W. LincolnJun 7, 2013 18:03206816
The Israeli leaders of 1948 must be delighted [25 words]F BeliveauJun 7, 2013 12:07206806
3Yeah but, what about the Palestinians? [69 words]SteveJun 6, 2013 15:56206782
Slight underestimation [111 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Y Brandstetter MDJun 6, 2013 15:55206781
Gaza Breaks the Trend [136 words]Jonathan PJun 7, 2013 14:29206781
statistical info [59 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
yuvalJun 9, 2013 03:20206781
Still Muslims have a higher fertility rate than the Jews [130 words]RespectJun 13, 2013 20:08206781
At Least they "Baby-Up" for Israel [136 words]Jonathan PJun 6, 2013 15:21206780
2Happy Israel [193 words]JudithJun 6, 2013 13:58206776
Happy Israel....Reply to Judith. [88 words]AnneJun 8, 2013 08:31206776
Solon Solon [39 words]Constantinos KalotarisJun 6, 2013 11:30206770
Lesson misplaced [82 words]Arkady KorobochkoJul 25, 2013 00:06206770
1Perhaps God has something to do with the levels of happiness and content in His land [110 words]AkivaJun 6, 2013 11:20206769
Excellent Analysis [26 words]KerryJun 6, 2013 08:27206763
Happy Israel worried JEWS [221 words]peter knopflerJun 6, 2013 07:31206760
Coincidence! [44 words]R. DavidsonJun 6, 2013 06:37206758
yet another achievement [32 words]mythJun 6, 2013 04:36206755
How far Israel has come in a generation [162 words]Josiah RotenbergJun 6, 2013 03:07206754
Muslims should should learn from Israel [87 words]PrashantJun 6, 2013 02:19206753
5Refreshing Perspective [46 words]HappinessJun 5, 2013 23:47206750
In the midst of the hatred, it's great to hear lots of good news! [60 words]CarolJun 5, 2013 23:39206749
1Keep the chopped liver & give me a falafel! [37 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
LindaJun 5, 2013 23:05206748
2OK for now, but how about the next generation in the US? [360 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Wallace Edward BrandJun 5, 2013 22:25206746
"Brain washing" on campus [537 words]Sigmund DermanJun 8, 2013 17:46206746
3Saddam? [69 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Francis BrookeJun 5, 2013 21:52206744
Democracy required [103 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Francis BrookeJun 7, 2013 11:18206744
3Happy IL [34 words]Steven LJun 5, 2013 21:35206743
True, But I'm Concerned For The "Israeli Soul" [142 words]Sheldon TyberJun 5, 2013 20:14206737
2Wrong premise -- wrong conclusion [293 words]Wallace Edward BrandJun 6, 2013 09:02206737
Another dreamer [78 words]Stanley TeeJun 6, 2013 10:06206737
2YES, ISRAEL IS HAPPY, WHO WANTS TO JOIN? [78 words]JACQUES HADIDAJun 5, 2013 20:10206736
3Happy Israel [11 words]Irv BlankJun 5, 2013 20:08206735
2Happy [34 words]DonnieJun 5, 2013 20:00206734
Right wingers? [26 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
DonnieJun 5, 2013 19:57206733
1nonsense [55 words]A BJun 8, 2013 13:56206733
9Happy Birthday Israel [48 words]Michael Hanni MorcosJun 5, 2013 18:50206732
3Zionists even learnt to play piano! [21 words]JeanJun 5, 2013 17:07206724
Israelis at peak of international jazz scene too [82 words]Leonie LachmishJun 6, 2013 05:33206724

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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