There are many things wrong with ideologues. Here I mean those who see the world through a narrow dogma. It is as if they wear figurative blinders, like those real ones placed on draft horses, so as to prevent their gaze from wondering away from a designated path. As a consequence ideologues can sometimes be embarrassing—making gross general pronouncements based on the narrowest sets of beliefs and expecting the world to go along. Often they are just boring. However, give them a modicum of power and they can become downright dangerous.
For instance, take the recent dustup at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It started when Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor holding an endowed chair in the School of Media and Communications, gave a speech at the United Nations. The occasion was the U.N.’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Hill, who is a longstanding critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, summarized the official discrimination practiced by Israel against the Palestinians—that is he laid out examples of Zionist Israel’s racist nature and practice—and then “endorsed a free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
It was at this point that local supporters of Israel, specifically the ideologues who see things through the lens of the dogma of Zionism, went on the attack. Their claim was that Hill was “calling for the end of Israel.” Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, claimed Hill’s endorsement of a “free Palestine” amounted to the “violent genocide of Jews in Israel.” Leonard Barrack, “a major donor to the university,” accused Hill of calling for “the destruction of the State of Israel” and said “I think it [Hill’s speech] was anti-Semitic.” And then Patrick O’Connor, the chairman of Temple University’s board of trustees, called Hill’s remarks “hate speech” and “disgusting.” He went on to claim that “no one at Temple is happy with his comments.” By the way, Temple has a student enrollment of over 30,000, so how can the chairman be sure? O’Connor has instructed the university’s lawyers to explore ways to punish Hill. In the meantime CNN, obviously responding to Zionist pressure, immediately fired Lamont Hill from his position as an on-air commentator.
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