By Bruce Kesler
ENCINITAS, California — Since last Friday, when I wrote Why I Just Disinherited My Alma Mater, the post has had “legs” about what I and others say is politicized indoctrination as official college policy.
Brooklyn College requires incoming freshmen and transfer students to read an absurdly slanted book that Arab-Americans are routinely rousted by law enforcement and discriminated against, which the author attributes to racism akin to Jim Crow discrimination against Blacks a century ago and due to American imperialism. Somehow, according to college authorities, this is supposed to create a beneficial, educational “common experience.”
Glenn Reynolds’ InstaPundit blog, which is read by about 200,000 each day, linked my post and on successive days two posts by others about my post. By contrast, my hometown San Diego Union-Tribune’s daily circulation is about 250,000. Many other blogs also picked up on my post.
Today, the New York Daily News, circulation about 570,000, reported the story after interviewing me: “Alum to cut Brooklyn College out of will over required freshman reading by ‘radical’ prof” Moustafa Bayoumi.
“Bayoumi did not return a call for comment.”
In a statement, Brooklyn College said it was “regrettable that Mr. Bruce Kesler misunderstands the intentions of the Common Reader experience and the broader context of this selection.”
The National Association of Scholars wrote, however, that Brooklyn College does not understand, or understands all too well, the Common Reading Controversy at Brooklyn College.
We agree with those who find the assignment of this polemical book as common reading troubling. While much of How Does It Feel to be a Problem? seems a straightforward telling of stories, its central purpose is clear. It aims to establish Arab and Muslim Americans as victims and indict American society for making them so. By assigning this book as the sole one to be read by incoming undergraduates, most of whom will have little of the knowledge needed to evaluate its claims, Brooklyn College opens itself to the charge that it is using what should be an important education experience for ideological goals – a charge which the evidence of our study indicates could be made against a great many other colleges and universities as well.
Many readers have written about their “common experience” in indoctrination at their colleges. It is getting harder for slanted — indeed, blatant — indoctrination to hide behind ivy-covered walls. The reactions continue and builds.
P.S.: I just received this email from a former classmate:
I also had it with Brooklyn College and their attitude regarding Israel. I’m a retired N.Y.C teacher. I retired after 33 years in the system in 2001. I joined IRPE- a retiree organization at the college. I attended one of their lectures concerning the middle east. When we walked in, we were given maps of various mid-east countries. The so called conference became a hate session regarding eretz Yisroel. 3 speakers got up and one by one they denounced Israel. No one was allowed to respond to them. People walked out cursing them. When I wrote a letter to the college, they denied all of this. I left IRPE and would not contribute one further penny to the institution. Having worked, I graduated in 1969 and am the class representative for that year.
Congratulations on taking a stand.
IRPE is Brooklyn College’s Institute for Retirees in Pursuit of Education.
Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas, California. His posts also appear on the Maggie’s Farm website
By Bruce Kesler
ENCINITAS, California–Most Americans, and many abroad, can’t help but choke up as they see our flag floating by in a patriotic parade. But, the 4th of July isn’t Flag Day, June 14. How many hung out their flag then?
Most Americans, and many abroad, are thankful for the men and women of the United States who stand and fight to keep millions from slavery to thugs. But, the 4th isn’t just about them. How many Americans at home give their all to support our troops and commitments?
Most Americans, and many abroad, appreciate the freedom and opportunities found by coming to our shores. But the 4th isn’t Immigration Day. How many appreciate the work, the fortitude, the risk needed to be independent?
Most Americans, and many abroad, say they’d fight for freedom. But, the 4th isn’t about physically fighting. How many stand up in public, regardless the consequences, and in their spoken and published names demand respect for our rights?
Most Americans, and many abroad, take the 4th as just another holiday. But, the 4th is about not taking a holiday from the responsibilities of a free people. How many rededicate themselves to being and helping others be free?
In 1776, most in America were not supporters of the Revolution that dramatically changed and improved the lot of future generations here and abroad. Even among the supporters, most were sunshine patriots and few Winter Soldiers.
To the few stalwarts we and the world owe more than can ever be adequately given, and indeed few were or are given what they deserve. But, the stalwarts don’t seek material rewards or comforts. How many are so at peace with themselves by just being there in full devotion and exposure to stand up?
Most Americans, and many abroad, know all this. But, too few live it, every day, in every way. How much more secure and peaceful and at ease would all be if more did?
We aren’t free and independent because we remember, respect or celebrate it. We are only free when we practice it at every opportunity and calling and contribute to others’ realization of it.
The first battle isn’t on some distant shore or with our neighbor. The first essential fight is with our own rationalizations of retreat from being an American, the exceptional.
If there’s a tear to be shed, it’s for ourselves when we haven’t been an American. If there’s a tear worth shedding, it’s in gratitude to ourselves that we have and have taken the opportunity to be an American.
The stirring words and actions of past times are inspirational. The words and actions of today are the reality of whether we actually are inspired.
Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas. This column first appeared on the Maggie’s Farm website
By Bruce Kesler
ENCINITAS, California–Andrew Hoffman is a congregant at my synagogue, Temple Solel. Andrew Hoffman is a finalist in Major League Baseball and People magazine’s 2010 “All-Stars Among Us” national campaign, in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game. The campaign is to recognize individuals who are serving their communities in extraordinary ways.
Andrew Hoffman works at Jewish Family Service’s Hand Up Youth Food Pantry in San Diego, which distributes food to families in need. Two Sundays each month Hoffman leads teens in distributing food and hygiene items to hundreds of needy military families in San Diego.
Andrew Hoffman is an everyday hero, helping to create a family-friendly environment for our courageous military heroes and their families. As one military mom said, “This distribution is a blessing. Last week I had to choose between diapers and groceries. Now I don’t have to.”
Andrew Hoffman deserves your support.
Please go to this link, click on the San Diego Padres, and vote for Andrew Hoffman. The site says you can return and vote as many times as you want between now and June 20.
So, please vote and often.
A total of 30 “All-Stars,” one representing each MLB team, will attend and be honored at the All-Star Week and at the pre-game ceremony on July 13 in Anaheim, CA. One of the “All-Star Among Us” winners will also be featured in People magazine during the week of the All-Star game.
By the way, today (June 8th) is Andrew Hoffman’s birthday, now 25. Let’s give him a BIG deserved birthday honor.
Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas, California. This posting also appeared on the Maggie’s Farm website
By Bruce Kesler
ENCINITAS, California–Better appreciation of the facts about the Gaza flotilla (a flatuated term for that motley group of ships) are emerging, after the jumping to jaundiced judgment to jeer Israel. The key one: Turkey hid behind its radical IHH front to instigate violence and got what it wanted.
Why? The obvious answer is to delegitimize Israel.
True, but there are fathoms below that to delve for some bigger truths.
I’ve been stressing diving for one “big truth.” (here and here) The Obama administration was deep into pressuring Israel, likely contributing to the outcomes favorable to Israel’s enemies. Washington and Jerusalem should have known better.
The Obama administration, as the US State Department spokesman admitted, “through multiple channels many times” before the interdiction urged Israel to “restrain” itself. Israel acted with restraint, to the point of ineptitude. Similarly, the Obama administration at Turkey’s demand urged Israel to immediately release all aboard the Gaza blockade running ships, even though about forty were not identified or their links to Turkey and instructions were not discovered, and Israel promptly complied, allowing Turkey to cover up a key part of its nefarious role.
Credible journalists should be investigating these and probably more instances of the Obama administration’s culpabilities in harming Israel and strengthening US and Israeli foes. For those journalists who have forgotten how, here’s the basics of their craft when competently practiced: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Some may find this exercise in truth finding not worthwhile because “everyone already knows the Obama administration is comprised of useful tools of US foes”, as one bluntly put it. But, not everyone knows, just those not of the Left paying attention. Most liberals are still in denial. This key truth needs to be prominently driven home for all to face and know. Such a high-profile event as this is the perfect vehicle to verifying what “everyone already knows,” or should know.
There’s a second “big truth” to be brought to the surface.
Since 2002, when Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan came to power in Turkey, he has been inching and jumping to move Turkey away from its past of Western orientation that Kemal Attaturk set it on after WWI, instead toward an Eastern (i.e., Islamist) view. Erdogan has played his cards well, and the stale Kemalists not. September 12 Turkey is to hold a referendum, supported avidly by Erdogan and his party, though by none else, that would cripple separation of powers by placing the judiciary under tighter control by his executive.
In the usual way of rulers who seek more power, Erdogan purposely picked the perfect “us-them” to rouse the 99%+ of Turks who are Muslim, “them” being Israel.
Erdogon and Turkey’s fingerprints on the Gaza instigation needs to be brought to the surface for all to see, including for those Turks who will be repulsed by Erdogan’s dirty deals with radicals for his own self-aggrandizement. The future of Turkey and of its impact on the West is at stake.
There’s a third “big truth” that needs to be brought to the light of day. That is the utter dangerous inanity of the Obama et. al. world view. They have repeatedly demonstrated that their view is useless and counter-productive to Western interests. Former allies and foes are not fools. They see the weakness, incompetence and ineptness of the Obama administration. They are, thus, encouraged to be bolder in pursuing policies and actions inimical to the US and to regional or world peace. Consistent with the Obama world view that is indifferent to or hostile toward the West is the casting out of Israel as an ally and measures that weaken its survival.
Surfacing the first “big truth” above is key to taking the blinders off for all to starkly see the others, and get more energized in sending those who have shucked American strength and integrity, and the survival of allies, to the bottom.
Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas. This article appeared previously on the Maggie’s Farm website.