The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

There is no Jewish privilege

A Philip Kurian has written an op-ed to Duke University claiming that Jews are "privileged" in this country. LGF has put out an informal Duke University Antisemitism Watch.

The article's contention depends on the meaning of "privilege".

"Privilege" is a contraction of "privy-lege". Where it exists, it is a state of affairs that stands as a refutation of the "public law" ideal, whereby the state is honour-bound to apply an equitable standard to all citizens as equals. As one example of privy law, the "Jim Crow" codes mandated separation between the races in the South, and in theory did not affect the Union's standard of legal equality; but in practice, the social codes there ensured that the White proportion of the states received an exalted position. In short, the Whites were privy-leged against the Blacks.

So when your boss tells you that wearing casual clothes on Friday is a "privilege", you should understand by this that the company is asserting its right to rule arbitrarily. A fairer boss would label it instead more neutrally, and factually, as an "exception".

Anyway, back to Kurian. His article courts no controversy for what it aims to prove. I, for one, could have written almost the same thing without earning a space on LGF (if I felt any solidarity with the Palestinian case against Israel, which I don't). It's not the article that's antisemitic.

It's Kurian who's antisemitic. And we can infer that from the claims that Kurian doesn't aim to prove, but assumes are proven already. Needless to say, had that Bizarro-world version of me, "Dawud al-Rossi", been writing this article, he would not have made these claims.

Among these claims: That Jews "enjoy ... overrepresentation" in university. That this "shocks" him, and that it's objectively "shocking". That their proportion in school against their proportion in the Census is not related to SAT scores and achievement, but is an example of US-sponsored "privilege" against the rest. That "Jews feel the overwhelming sense of entitlement not to be criticized or offended". That the petitions and events against the Palestine Solidarity Movement weren't done because of general disagreement with the PSM's aims, but because the "Jewish establishment" was so "powerful" and "very well-funded and well-organized".

In the midst of it is an apparently irrelevant paragraph citing Finkelstein's Holocaust Industry. What is that paragraph doing there? And why the continual focus on Jewish cash?

Kurian's article is a stain on the Duke Chronicle, and on the student body it purports to serve. Especially given that Kurian is a senior there, it does not reflect well of the teaching abilities of Kurian's professors. It is a deep shame upon Duke that it let this one through the cracks.

posted by Zimri on 17:46 | link | 0 comments

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