Purdue University professor Bill Mullen is a case in point of the New Antisemitism. He promotes violence, hatred, and U.S.-recognized terrorist organization Hamas.
A Brief History of Antisemitism in America
Generally speaking, antisemitism has been a minor force in the U.S., especially when compared to Europe. In fact, there has only been one case of state-sanctioned antisemitism – it came in the form of Ulysses S. Grant’s General Order No. 11 which sought to expel Jews from western Tennessee. Even though the order was rescinded by President Lincoln, it is still notable as the only piece of anti-Jewish legislation in the U.S.
The rise of cultural antisemitism came with the influx of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants between 1881 and 1920. Prior to that period, Jews comprised a tiny segment of the larger population. Whereas Jews were less than 1% of the population before 1900, they composed 3.5% by 1930.
Many of these newcomers, who came primarily to escape pogroms in Eastern Europe, advanced quickly in their societies. They became shopkeepers, department store owners, and businessmen. All of these factors contributed to a sense of them being “different.”
While, as mentioned above, there were never any government quotas targeting the movement of the Jewish population, that didn’t stop universities from implementing quotas of their own. As greater numbers of Jewish students matriculated, universities began to limit the number of Jews who were admitted in part by favoring legacies, largely the children of established white Protestants. These policies were mostly eradicated by the time of the civil rights movement, although Yale University kept them until 1970.
The Jews continued to be demonized into the 1930s, when they were blamed sometimes for communism, and other times for capitalism. They became a convenient scapegoat for the economic woes of that time.
Various prominent Americans openly promoted antisemitism in the early 20th century, including Henry Ford, who republished portions of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his newspaper, and Father Charles Coughlin, a popular radio preacher and Nazi sympathizer.
Antisemitism levels among the American public were high in the period leading up to the Holocaust against European Jews. According to a 1938 survey, 60% of Americans believed that Jews were “greedy,” “dishonest,” and “pushy.”
The New Antisemitism
Today, overt Jew-hatred is out of style. American society exhibits zero tolerance for discrimination against ethnic or religious minorities. But that doesn’t mean that prejudice no longer exists; rather, it has gone under the radar, disguised in its more acceptable form: anti-Zionism. Modern antisemites attack Israel’s existence, singling the state out as the cause of a host of problems including Middle Eastern unrest and Palestinian suffering.
Anti-Israel activity is frequently seen on college campuses. Jewish and/or pro-Israel students are often taunted or threatened for their affiliations in the very environments that claim to be “open-minded” and “accepting” of differences.
According to a February 2015 study conducted by Trinity College and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law, 54% of Jewish students surveyed on campuses across the U.S. had been victims of or witnesses to an antisemitic act.
Swastikas have been known to appear around many college campuses as well. During April 2014 alone there were at least three incidents of swastika drawings, including nine carved in one UCF student’s apartment walls. In March 2016, a swastika was found at Purdue University.
How Bill Mullen Encourages Violence and Anarchy
Professor Bill Mullen of Purdue University has come under fire for promoting questionable theories that veer towards antisemitism. His rhetoric, in the spirit of the “new antisemitism,” focuses on blaming Israel for world conflicts and crises – even ones that have a tenuous connection to the state. Moreover, Mullen’s new antisemitism holds Israel solely accountable for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The American Studies professor, who claims to be “sensitive,” freely uses derogatory and extremist language himself. He shuns discussions of peace, and dismisses talk of diplomatic solutions. Instead, Mullen Is completely focused on the promotion of extremist and violent ideas.
He is Against the Security of Israel and Palestine
These days, bashing security measures is fashionable in certain academic circles.
After all, it’s easy to raise the banner of revolution when you have nothing at stake yourself.
When Bill Mullen speaks about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it’s never about negotiation—and always about what he would term “armed resistance.” This is a man who openly supports terrorist organizations—and promotes them to his impressionable young students. Here is one example from a recent speech he gave on Black Lives Matter and BDS:
We also continue to see the Palestinian Authority act as an oppressive local force over its own population. Although it has promised to dismantle its security apparatus that collaborates with Israel, it has failed to do so as of yet. It is continuing to work with Israel in policing and repressing Palestinian resistance. Hamas is also still struggling to articulate a leadership position that people outside Gaza can support.
How is it tolerable that we have professors saying this?
The incitement in this passage should shock anyone. Mullen outright condemns the Palestinian Authority, widely viewed as the more moderate Palestinian leadership organization, for its failure “to dismantle its security apparatus that collaborates with Israel.” This is problematic because it shows an utter disregard for the legitimate security concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians. It’s very easy to brush off security when you’re far away and comfortable in Indiana – not so much when you have a family to protect in Ramle or Ramallah.
The second problematic element in this short passage is its blatant support for Hamas. To say that Hamas is “struggling to articulate a leadership position” lends legitimacy to a U.S.-recognized terrorist organization. This is an organization that rejects a two-state solution, and has sabotaged the livelihood of Gazans by diverting funds to building tunnels and sending rockets into Israel.
Article 7 of the Hamas Charter leaves no doubt of Hamas’s intentions to destroy Israel:
The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.
By supporting Hamas, Bill Mullen supports the murder of Jews by Muslim “resistors.” If only this was mere hyperbole – in fact, it is the terrifying reality. Behind Bill Mullen’s oh-so-enlightened “criticism” of Israel is the same old Jew hatred that drives Hamas’s murderous mission.
Bill Mullen’s Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories
Bill Mullen doesn’t stop at just promoting his extremist ideas. Unfortunately, he also has no problem passing off fiction as fact to serve his agenda. Here is one glaring example:
In his book, Mullen writes “Palestinians comprise an increasing percentage of the population in Israel itself, and a MAJORITY in the combined area of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”
This is patently false information. While Palestinians do constitute a majority in the occupied territories, they do not when combined with Israel, which maintains a solid Jewish majority. Mullen is saying this in an effort to draw a parallel between apartheid in South Africa. Unfortunately, there isn’t any basis to this comparison. Arab Muslims living in Israel are Israeli citizens and enjoy the full rights of citizenship, including representation in the Israeli parliament. And Palestinian Muslims living in the West Bank and Gaza live under Palestinian leadership.
Perhaps most oddly of all, Professor Mullen has been known to say most of the St. Louis police force who were involved in the Ferguson shooting were trained in Tel Aviv, Israel. This ludicrous suggestion has a strong whiff of antisemitism and conspiracy. By mixing two unrelated issues, he is able to incriminate Israel for something unrelated. This is pure manipulation, no more and no less.