Columnists, Mike Rosen, National, Uncategorized

Rosen: Radicalized college students clueless from the river to the sea

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

It’s been said that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.”  In other words, greater knowledge is better.  A perfect example is a survey of students undertaken by Ron Hassner, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Prof. Hassner designed a poll for a diverse sampling of 250 college students across the U.S. ascertaining their support for the chant, “from the river to the sea,” echoed by those who sympathize with Palestinians and condemn Israel. Initially, 86% said they supported the chant, (33% enthusiastically, 53% to a lesser extent).  The students were then asked to give the names of this river and sea. Only 47% correctly answered: the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea.  Besides “duh,” the many ignorant guesses from these future leaders of America included: the Nile, Euphrates, Caribbean, the Dead Sea (actually a lake), and the Atlantic Ocean.

One well-intentioned student said he “definitely” supported the chant because he believed that “Palestinians and Israelis should live in two separate countries, side by side.”  After being shown on a map that a separate Palestinian state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea would leave no room for Israel, the student reversed his support for the chant from “definitely” to “probably not.”  Of 80 students who were shown this map, 75% similarly changed their viewpoint.  Presumably, the 25% who saw the map and didn’t change their opinion want to have the state of Israel eliminated, or Jews as well.

It is encouraging that most of these students were open-minded enough to reconsider the issue when presented with a better understanding.  Of all the students polled, fully two-thirds dropped their support of the “from the river to the sea” chant after learning some basic facts. On the other hand, it’s extremely disturbing to see how easily and effectively these college students could be misled or brainwashed by biased educators, the liberal mass media and, especially, the open sewer of falsehood and hate on social media.

Hamas uses the Palestinians as pawns in its greater goal of exterminating all Jews worldwide. Some Palestinians would like to be rid of Hamas and its perpetual war on the Jews and would be willing to coexist with Israel in a two-state solution, although many Palestinians, perhaps most, are committed to Hamas’s cause.  It’s no wonder, when generations of Palestinian children have been indoctrinated from early childhood by their parents and in school to hate Jews.

But it’s not just anti-Semitism at play in the demonization of Israel by leftist American college students and faculty who prefer socialism (and Marxism) to capitalism, and who enthusiastically embrace the left’s contrived narrative of “oppressors vs. the oppressed” in all facets of life, from foreign policy to race to economics to culture. This narrative is basically a rework of Karl Marx’s vision of class warfare between capitalist exploiters versus oppressed workers of the “proletariat.” Today’s progressive Marxists have replaced the oppressed proletariat in this class war with an ever-expanding “intersectional rainbow of marginalized” victims who are oppressed by our conventional society, thus entitling the oppressed to subsidies, special treatment or even reparations.  They lump this together in an ideological stew with “social justice“ and “identity politics” that judges people by their membership in a group rather than by their individual qualities or faults.  This final product rejects individual responsibility, penalizes success, rejects meritocracy, rewards mediocrity, and expands dependency on ever-growing progressive government.

There’s always an activist remnant of idealistic left-wing college students seeking a political “cause.”  But passion at the expense of reason and knowledge leads to irrational extremism. They’ve crowned Palestinians in Gaza as the oppressed and branded Israelis as the oppressors.  Israel, a loyal American ally, is a rare democracy in the Middle East and embraces two million Arab citizens, some of whom serve in the Israeli Parliament. Hamas is the oppressor; it no longer allows free elections and intentionally exposes Gaza civilians to Israeli counterattacks by stationing its  leaders and armories in dense population zones and next to hospitals so that it can leverage their casualties as an international propaganda tool against Israel.

The hypocritical selectivity of Israel-hating college students in selecting “oppressors” is blatant. The world’s most undemocratic, totalitarian dictatorships and oppressors of their own people are the communist regimes of China, North Korea, and Cuba.  Where’s their outrage at them?  There is none, in keeping with the long-standing code of Marxist ideologues that “there are no enemies on the left.”

Also, above criticism from this crowd is Iran —the principal financier of Middle East terrorism —and other agents of Islamist havoc like Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban.  Instead, these student protestors and their faculty influencers would rather denigrate the United States and our history in an incomparably far different age.  As if, for example, slavery was something unique to America when it was omnipresent in this world from the dawn of history.  Ultimately, Britain and the U.S. led the world in abolishing it.  Revisionist critics on the radical left, obsessed with our past faults, unfairly and sanctimoniously view our history through a modern lens in comparison to an age and culture that were far different and incomparable. Compounding their distortion, they deceitfully downplay the overwhelming magnitude of America’s virtues and achievements.

Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for


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