A Stupid Cartoon and the University Ideology

Among the thousand currents of the university turmoil during these last several months, the tiny ripple that most securely caught my eye was a distinctly minor scandal at Harvard back in February, which caused not a single broken window or student riot or mass invasion by agents of the state. This was a scandal over a cartoon. The minor scandal had the virtue, however, of casting a retrospective light on an earlier scandal at Harvard, the original scandal, which was pretty much the founding moment of what eventually became the enormous tide of university protests and controversies.  The original scandal was a statement signed by more than thirty Harvard student groups in the first days after the October 7, 2023 massacre blaming Israel (“entirely responsible”)  instead of Hamas (unmentioned) for the atrocities — after which came the clumsy dithering of Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, to speak up in a sufficiently articulate fashion about the massacre and the student statement, which led to her notorious failure in testimony to Congress to find anything condemnatory to say about students calling for genocide of the Jews (“depends on context”), which led to everything else. And this was not just in America. In Paris, Sciences Po, aka the Institut d’études de politiques de Paris, which is more or less the Harvard of France, generated its own scandal, beginning in March. The Sciences Po students held a pro-Palestine meeting. A Jewish student got up the courage to enter the amphitheater. And the Jewish student was greeted in a manner that was sufficiently obnoxious to attract the attention of Emmanuel Macron himself, who thought it his duty to underline the “unspeakable and perfectly intolerable” behavior — which led, by late April, to a student occupation of a stairwell, the intervention of riot police, indignation over the

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