Mon, May

Do Not Confuse Today’s Campus Protests with the Vietnam Protests


THE VIEW FROM HERE - Some commentators liken today’s anti-Israel campus protests to the anti-Vietnam War protests.  The causes are dramatically different.   Editorials will comment on the myopia of both the Vietnam and current protests  while others suggest how to take more effective action  .  If any have explored the vast differences, I have yet to see it. 

What Caused the Outrage over Vietnam? 

Because I was born in America during WWII and the Holocaust and my family suffered greatly during the Great Depression, I remember that era very well.  All of us were deeply impacted by the events touched off by Black Thursday, which was the greatest sell off of American stocks in history precipitating the Great Depression.  My family had PTSD victims due to WW II ending in their suicide. In America, it was primarily us Jews whose extended families and friends died in the Death Camps.  These experiences created the American culture of the 1950's - early 1970's. 

After the horrors, hope for the future was unbounded, but danger loomed in the form of Soviet Russia, the Iron Curtain, and Sputnik. The news of Sputnik rivals the assassination of Kennedy in the instant shock wave it sent through all America, especially the youth.  Rather than discouraging anyone, it spurred us on to more achievement.  If the next war was to be a space age war, education was paramount.  In case we were not feeling sufficiently vulnerable, the Cuban Missile Crisis hit while I was in high school. Again, the response was to work hard, learn more, and secure the American dream. 

The American Dream 

The promise of America was that its streets were lined with gold and anyone could be become anything if they tried hard enough.  That’s why millions of immigrants had rushed to America. It was truly the land of opportunity. The reality was that despite the horrors of the past or present state of de jure and de facto segregation and restrictive covenants, society offered everyone a realistic hope of the better life. The Soviet Threat only drove home to us the need to take advantage of everything available. 

My high school class demanded that the school add another period to the day so that we could take more classes.   My class had accumulated enough credits to graduate after the 11th grade, but instead we launched a campaign for more AP courses so that we could gather even more credits towards college and add more extra curricular activities in order to increase our chances of admission to a good college. At first, the school administration said, “No,” but as we started signing up for two classes in the same period and refused to select one over the other, the school added another period.  Today, I realize that cost a lot of money, but everyone including our parents’ generation was obsessed with advancement; so, the district found the money. 

The Great Betrayal – Vietnam War and the Draft 

After the Great Depression, the Holocaust, WW II, and all the hope inspired hard work to attain the American Dream, we were being snatched away to die in some freaking rice patty for no sane reason!  Our entire society was Euro-centric.  The sole shock from the Orient was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, but Japan was now an ally and China had always been on our side.  Probably, the one thing my generation remembered about China was the Rape of Shanghai (Nanjing).  (Japanese mass murder of Chinese in 1937)   The Vietnam draft meant we, Baby Boomers, were supposed to ignore our history which created our overwhelming optimism because some unknown SOB’s in the military-industrial complex, about which President Eisenhower had warned the nation, wanted to kill off the best and brightest of us!  

The generals knew that there would be opposition from the college elite, so they gave us deferments, which resulted in a significant increase in graduate school enrolments. Nonetheless, the draft was a death lottery. Sooner or later, we all had to participate. 

The Vietnam War Protests Had Nothing to Do with the Vietnamese 

My generation had nothing against the Vietnamese. In fact, we used the honorific term, Oriental.  The term lacked even a tinge of dislike where I grew up in the East. (I was shocked to see the anti-Chinese discrimination in California.  In the mid-1960's, Professor Israel and his Chinese wife had to live on campus because Chinese could not live in Claremont, California.)  Sending us to die in horrible swamps because of the ferkata Domino Theory was an existential threat to us.  Don’t think our protests were motivated by love of Vietnamese or hate of Red Chinese.  It was 100% self-preservation in face of a real threat. 

The Vietnam Protestors Knew All the Facts 

We knew all the facts; we were not operating on false memes.  The “lower classes” (.e.g the Blacks and Mexicans) could find opportunity in the military and many others adhered to unthinking loyalty to whatever BS the government spewed forth.  The college educated, who had the most to lose, knew exactly what was wrong.  We knew because the facts were part of our DNA.  Had it been another war of Nazi aggression, we would have rushed to enlist. Rather, we were used as pawns by political idiots.  We had a professor, who had been one of the advisors in the lead up to Vietnam, and the advice by him and most of the military was: “Either do it whole hog and wipe out Hanoi or stay out.  Do NOT use gradualism   The politicos chose gradualism (similar to Biden’s approach in Ukraine and his interference with getting rid of Hamas).  Gradualism results in far more deaths on both sides. While the US military has learned this lesson, politicos like President Biden have not. 

Today’s Campus Protestors are Ignoramuses. 

Not only will American college students not risk a hair of their head in the War on Hamas, but the war is totally irrelevant to almost all the protestors.  Rather, their rage is based upon the horrible indoctrination of Woke DEI ideology which uses an almost endless supply of false memes and the memes’ constant repetition by the mainstream media.  They believe that there once was a sovereign country known as Palestine and Jews came from Europe and stole it from the Palestinians.  This level of ignorance is truly astounding, since most are Christians and know that Jesus was Jewish and was born in Bethlehem.  In reality, Jews are one of the surviving indigenous people of this area. Gazans are not.  Campus protestors claim that Gaza was occupied by Israel on October 6, 2023, and thus, the October 7th pogrom was fight for freedom.  Israel left Gaza in 2005 and no Jews have been allowed in Gaza since then.  Gaza was 100% free and had freely elected Hamas. Protestors claim that Israel with a 20% Arab minority with full civil rights is an apartheid state, ignoring the fact that the Gaza was so apartheid that any Jew found in Gaza would be murdered.   By Gazan logic, it’s OK to murder Jews.  Yep, that is their prevailing belief.  There is zero factual basis for the campus anti-Israel protests. 

Facts Change to Fit the Ideology 

As we see with Trumpism, facts change to fit the ideology.  The Woke DEI ideology, which grew from Nancy Pelosi’s Identity Politics, posits that the world is divided into two groups: The Oppressors (Whites and Jews) and the Oppressed (all minorities). The sole cause of any problem is White and Jewish racism.  Thus, the solution, as promoted by Nancy Pelosi, is for the minorities to replace the Whites as soon as the minorities are the majority of the voters.  Writing in the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg makes clear the replacement which Pelosi and other Wokers support. Under Wokeism, which has been imposed on virtually every US campus by the Feds, one is not judged by individual character, but by the group to which one belongs.  Thus, for Wokers it is axiomatic that Jews are evil and Hamas is good.  Many protestors have been filmed saying that The Oct 7th rapists, murderers, and hostage takers were freedom fighters against the Israeli occupation of Gaza.  Others deny that Oct7th happened.  

Biden is the Chief Promoter of Falsehoods  

Biden’s incessant demands that Israel must protect the civilians ignores two facts: 

(1) Independent military experts find that no nation has ever done more to protect the civilians.  White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the Israeli military has prevented civilian casualties in Gaza to an extent beyond what US might do  One definition of anti-Semitism is to apply a different standard to Israel than is applied to other countries. Biden does that daily.  

(2) Biden has prevented Israel from moving Gazans into a safe haven in the Sinai , which is one inch away from Gaza.  If Biden gave two cents for Gazan civilians rather than protecting Hamas in order to kowtow to his anti-Semitic Woker base, the Gazans would have been safely in the Sinai weeks ago and Hamas would be history. 

Vietnam Protestors Were Right; Anti-Israel Protectors Are Wrong 

In the 1960's, the Vietnam protestors had a huge stake in their protest because we knew the facts and our lives were on the line. Today’s campus anti-Israel protestors have no stake in the issue and are ignorant about virtually every fact. In the 1960's, protestors were anti-war, while today’s campus crusaders support Hamas, a regime which is the most barbaric in modern times and is dedicated to a war of extermination of Jews. Too many of our campus elite have been made into true believers of a racist ideology which is patterned after German Nazism . Similar to how the Germans had to excise Nazism, the US needs to excise Wokeism.

(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a Realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor.  The opinions expressed are Richard Abrams and not necessarily those of CityWatchLA.com. You may email him at [email protected].)  Photo:  Library of Congress/Warren K. Leffler - Reuters