Before studying at Columbia University I hadn’t thought much about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Coming from Europe I had no specific links to the area. Then, after finishing my undergraduate degree in Europe and enrolling at Columbia as a graduate student, what struck me most was just the opposite of what some are complaining of nowadays: that is, how fanatically pro-Israel Columbia was….
The truth is that Columbia is the last refuge of self-delusional Zealots for Zion. It is precisely when the ideological walls protecting this haven began to crumble that they started shouting about "silenced" and "stifled" voices and anti-Semitism. One doesn’t hear this nonsense on European campuses because the zealots know the battle has been lost there: the truth is out about what Israel has done to the Palestinians. But in the U.S. the hope is that by whipping up enough hysteria they can still win here. If they do, it won’t be because what they’re saying is true but because the rest of us were, yet again, "silenced" and "stifled."..
What has happened is simply that Israeli supporters, who have run out of arguments to justify the military occupation and all it entails, when confronted with an incipient debate on a Zionist campus have felt they were pushed into a corner out of which there is no exit. It remains extremely difficult to justify dispossession and injustice in the inter-connected world we live in nowadays. What is especially troubling for pro-Israeli supporters is that not only Arab or Middle Eastern students, few at Columbia and specially absent from the Law School, but also European students and increasingly American students have started to complain against Israeli violations on campus. Pro-Israeli students have been caught off-guard or have been left without arguments. And they have resorted to powerful outside groups and lobbies to come to the rescue. Calling the current atmosphere at Columbia as a "bias" against Israel and favoring the Palestinians is just a self-delusional ploy, aimed at shifting responsibility to the others, justifying the unjustifiable.
Marc Robert is the pseudonym of a European student at Columbia University.