The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism is closing – because anti-Semitism is no more, and no one needs to study it.
Anti-Semitism may not be as overt as in earlier times, but it still exists in less-familiar but no less virulent forms, like bacteria that have transmuted into “super bugs.” In fact, in a 2010 three-part series, we called it “the disease that won’t go away.”
Not only won’t it go away, but it is growing around the world, particularly in Muslim countries or countries with large Muslim immigrant populations.
That’s certainly worthy of study through the lenses of various disciplines – history, political science, sociology, religion, and the like – taught at a world-class university like Yale.
According to the New Haven Register, “The initiative was one of several set up under the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, which is headed by Donald Greenâ€¦, who said they are all reviewed after five years on how well they promote interdisciplinary research and instruction at Yale.”
Green, a political science professor, told the Register that unlike other interdisciplinary efforts at the university, “Little scholarly work [came out of the institute and] appeared in top-tier journals in behavioral science, comparative politics, or history. Courses created in this area did not attract large numbers of students.”
Thus the closing may be perceived as a kind of triage. But if YIISA was doing a poor job – which is by no means certain – that does not mean it is not a job worth doing. It is a job, in fact, worth doing better, with money and resources dedicated to that end. We urge university officials to reconsider their decision.
On another note – and yet the same note – we were glad to see that Ramapo College will offer a minor in human rights and genocide studies. (See page 12.) We need to learn more about these things, not less.