THOMAS/Ignorance and apathy

THOMAS/Ignorance and apathy


The joke is told about a poll taker who asks about ignorance and apathy in the country. “I don’t know, and I don’t care,” says the respondent.

The consequences of that attitude are playing out across America.

There are two questions most reporters never seem to ask when it comes to mass demonstrations like the recent ones over the Israeli-Hamas War. One is whether they are spontaneous, or are they organized and subsidized by outside entities? Second, have large financial gifts from foreign entities and left-wing organizations compromised some universities that fear losing money should they speak up in ways that might offend the donors? Failure to ask these questions contributes to public (and student) ignorance and apathy.

Valerie Richardson of The Washington Times is an exception among journalists. She writes: “The same U.S. universities that increasingly are seen as breeding grounds for antisemitism have taken billions of dollars in previously undisclosed donations from the Middle East.”

This connection between donations and influence is claimed in a lawsuit by the Lawfare Project on behalf of Carnegie Mellon University student Yael Canaan. She says she has been the target of “pervasive anti-Jewish discrimination.” Canaan linked her allegations to the half-billion dollars donated to the university by Qatar since 2021.

Richardson writes about a report by the Network Contagion Research Institute which showed that “universities reported more than $13 billion … in gifts … from foreign sources” between 2014 and 2019. Kenneth Marcus, president of the Brandeis Center, told the newspaper, “What they want is influence.” Shouldn’t that be obvious?

During her recent controversial testimony before a congressional committee, Harvard President Claudine Gay claimed the school has “strict policies” on which gifts and contracts it accepts and that donors do not influence its policies. Is she saying that antisemitism is home grown? If so, what does that say about the biases of the professors who are transmitting ignorance and what some might consider propaganda to their students?

China has infiltrated American universities by making large donations that support “ Confucius Institutes” which promote Chinese language and cultural programs. In 2019, there were a hundred such institutes. Today, there are reportedly fewer than five. Schools commonly “cited the potential loss of federal funding and external pressures as contributing to their decision to close” their institutes.

However, some critics say the institutes that remain are being used as part of a larger effort to advance the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, which include spying and the theft of intellectual property, stealing U.S. military secrets and harassment of Chinese students and others who are critical of the Beijing regime.

Three years ago, a Jewish organization conducted a first-ever survey in all 50 states to discover what adults under 40 know about the Holocaust. The survey, conducted by the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, found “sixty-three percent did not know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and over half of those thought the death toll was fewer than 2 million.” While more than 40,000 death camps and ghettos were established during World War II, “nearly half of U.S. respondents could not name a single one.” One in 10 respondents did not recall ever having heard the word “Holocaust” before.

Deliberate ignorance and false teaching about events here and in the Middle East and China, along with the refusal of American media to pay serious attention to the connection between foreign donations and university policies and teaching, plays into the hands of those who do not wish America well.

Clearly the history departments at many schools need a serious upgrade and a lot of reporters could use a crash course in history at a university that refuses donations from foreign entities that have agendas.

Email Cal Thomas at Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I've Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America" (HumanixBooks).

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