How it can achieve this if it doesn't exist is a mystery to me.
It's not so much that "cancel culture" doesn't exist. It doesn't exist as defined by conservatives, which is institutions and government agencies "cancelling" right-wingers simply because they disagree with the political sentiments expressed. It DOES exist when it comes to anything conservatives don't like.
I dunno, man. It seems like you'd agree that if some law student were going around praising Hitler and shouting "sieg heil!" at queer students and students of color, that person ought to be blackballed and no firm should sign them, right? Or at least not until there was credible evidence they'd recognized the error of their ways and made some kind of restitution. So you're acknowledging yourself that the real question is just where we draw the line.
Speaking for myself, I think a statement that says, of the Hamas attack, "The apartheid regime is the only one to blame," is _pretty fucking egregious_, and making students who signed it _at minimum_ say, "Oh shit, I made a huge judgment error, I signed onto that under pressure from people to go along with groupthink, I didn't really read it, and now that I've read it closely, I realize it's wrong," is fine. Good, even.
This is not to say I think Israel's policies towards Palestinians over the past fifty years have been hunky dory. Netanyahu is a monster, and Likud broadly has done _enormous_ harm to the cause of peace and Jewish safety in Israel. I have family members who are Jewish citizens. I know Israeli Jews who have put themselves in harm's way (potentially under threat from the IDF, and from both settler extremists and Palestinian extremists), to document the crimes against humanity committed by the Likud regime and try to drag things back onto a path where a just peace is possible. Do I think Israel's policies bear _some_ responsibility for driving the success of recruiting by violent extremist groups? Of course.
But saying Israel is _solely_ responsible for Hamas' murders is insane -- and actually patronizing towards Palestinians. It ignores that they are full human beings who have motivations and make choices. You see this same kind of denial of the agency of oppressed peoples in a _lot_ of lefty thought -- the "white savior" complex is never far below the surface. There was a similar error in John Mearshimer's Westsplaining about the Ukraine crisis, in which he acted as though the US had somehow manipulated Ukraine into wanting NATO membership, rather than Ukrainians wanting it _because that's what they want_. ( https://newrepublic.com/article/165603/carlson-russia-ukraine-imperialism-nato )
I still think this Wil Wilkinson piece is the definitive take on "cancel culture".
Brilliant and exactly right. There can be open dialogue about this but treating these students like criminals is a disgrace. My favorite class in college was taught by a far left history professor and the arguments were intense but so important for developing a sense of the right to disagree and listen to other viewpoints (conservative, supporting the Vietnam War, nothing hateful).